I. love. falafel. But I’ve always had such a hard time making falafel that I actually wanted to eat. I could never get them to turn out right – crispy on the outside but not dry inside. I have made R suffer through many iterations of dry falafel. Until now! I think I may have finally figured out falafel. (say that ten times fast!)
I’ll share my insight – a bit of tahini. I paired these with a lemony avocado sauce I whipped up and some leftover hummus and cauliflower tabouli for a quick-ish weeknight dinner.
What you’ll need for falafels (makes about 13-15 depending on size)
- 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas (use canned or boil dry chickpeas for a few minutes and let them soak about an hour)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 2 TBS flour (to make this gluten free, substitute rice or arrowroot flower)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (gives just a touch of heat – YUM)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/8 large red onion (I’m not a huge onion fan – if you are, by all means add more!)
- 1TBS (approx) coconut oil (if you don’t have coconut, olive oil or any other oil to fry will be sufficient)
What you’ll need for avocado sauce:
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 lemon – go ahead and squeeze all the juice out of it. (I used a small-ish lemon, so if yours is giant, just taste test as you go)
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 3/4 cup water
What you’ll need for the wrap:
- Whole wheat wrap (or gluten-free wrap of your choice)
- Hummus (leftover from the previous recipe or store-bought)
- 1 cup spinach
It’s up to you if you want to multitask or wait till the end to start the avocado sauce. I tried and got distracted and ultimately ended up making the sauce after the falafels were done. If you can multitask, rock on. But I’d suggest not making the sauce first because those pesky avocados like to brown. Again, your call!
Toss garlic, parsley, cilantro, and onions into Ninja or food processor of your choice. (As you can see, I did not follow my own rule here. It left me having to re-process some parts of the falafel to make sure the onion was fully chopped). Add the rest of the ingredients (except the oil) and mix until everything is combined and slightly moist. It shouldn’t be sticky, but you should be able to mold the falafel without it falling apart. It should all bind together – if it doesn’t, feel free to add a touch of oil or a touch more tahini.
Heat a small pan or skillet to medium and put half your oil in the pan. I preferred to use coconut oil in this case because coconut oil is solid at room temperature and is good to cook with at high heat. This leads me to using less of it to fry the falafels – which is inherently (at least in my mind) more healthy. I got mine at TJ’s a while ago and it’s still going strong. I dug it out with a spoon and added to the pan to melt it down. You could also give the jar a quick microwave to soften it up for easier handling.
Mold your falafels into small balls. I like them to be a little smaller than the palms of my hands. And for being a small person, I have weird giant hands. Maybe your falafels will take up your whole palm. I also don’t make them totally round – maybe a little more like a burger shape – since we don’t a have deep fryer here and I want to make sure they’re nice and crispy on the outside.
Add your falafels to the pan in small batches. This way they won’t crowd and if you’re easily distracted as I am you won’t lose them to over-cooking. (and who wouldn’t be with this face waiting for crumbs?!)
Cook for about 2-5 minutes per side – you want them nice and browned but not burnt. Add the rest of the oil as needed. I added some of the leftover oil twice throughout the whole process. Just watch your pan, if it looks like there needs to be more oil for your falafels to fry – add more. Place falafels on paper towels when they’re out of the pan to remove any access oil.
While your falafels are cooking (or after they’re done) start on your avocado sauce. Put the avocado, cumin, lemon and half your water into the Ninja (or processor) whip it up until it gets nice and smooth. Add the rest of your water as you go – you want it to be creamy and thick, not too thin. It took me a few variations until I got to the full 3/4 cup of water – same with the lemon.
Spread a generous amount of hummus on a whole wheat wrap (or spinach for you non-gluten kids out there). Add your falafels and a handful of spinach. Put a dollop of avocado sauce on top and roll up.
I served with extra sauce and hummus on the side for dipping (I’m a big fan of condiments) and of course the leftover tabouli.
These are my finally falafels. Finally ones I’ll actually want to make (and eat!) again. Hopefully you will too.