Inspired by our Universal Yums! May Snack box’s Israel theme, we decided to make some Israel-themed dinners. Falafel are traditionally, deep-fried balls made from spiced, ground chickpeas. They are often served in a pita with a yogurt or tahini-based sauce. Falafel is not new to our family. I’ve made it in the past, more often than not, unsuccessfully. Too many times I’ve had the balls disintegrate when trying to fry them. I wasn’t in the mood for frying so this time I decided to try baking them. When the kids heard we were having falafel for dinner I of course got the response, “I don’t like falafel!” My son made a comment while they were baking that, “Something doesn’t smell good!” Well, they had the choice to eat them or not, but that’s what was for dinner. I was pleasantly surprised (I think they were as well!) that they both ate (and possibly liked?!!) the falafel. Baking the falafel made them nice and crunchy. Normally, falafel has parsley. I however, failed to pick some up during my weekly grocery shopping and wasn’t running out for a few sprigs of parsley! I should also note that the red onion turned the falafel a dark purple/blackish color in spots. It did not affect the flavor of the falafel, but you can use a regular onion if you prefer. I also wasn’t fully thinking when creating the menu and shopping list and didn’t pick up ingredients for a sauce to serve with these. However, if I was going to make a sauce, I would probably use this recipe for Magpie’s Cucumber Sauce from allrecipes.com courtesy of The Magpie. I made a tomato cucumber salad that I served with the falafel and stuck some of the veggies inside the pita.
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com courtesy of Bette
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
2 (15 ounce) cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup panko crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
Lettuce, tomatoes, red onion slices (optional)
Cucumber or Tzatziki Sauce (optional)
1. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute approximately 5 minutes, until the onions are soft.
2. Place chickpeas through salt into a food processor and pulse until mixture is coarse. Some chunks are okay. Add the chickpea mixture to a large bowl. Add the sautéed onions, flour, panko, and eggs and stir until combined. Let mixture sit for 15 minutes. While mixture is sitting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. After fifteen minutes, shape the chickpea mixture into small patties (I was able to make 17) and place on prepared cookie sheet. Spray the tops of the patties with the cooking spray. Bake in the heated oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, flip the patties and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more.
4. Cut pitas in half. Place two falafel inside each pita half. Serve with sauce, if you choose to make and/or lettuce, tomatoes and sliced red onion.