Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Homemade Falafels

My birthday was yesterday and I treated myself with the cooking book : "How to eat everything vegetarian" by Mark Bittman who also writes the Minimalist column in the New York Times. I had flipped through the pages of the book at my friend's C. and decided that I was worth it! Not that we are turning vegetarians (that was my husband's scare when he saw the book!!) but I was looking for more inspiration for easy-to-make healthy options for our daily meals. In a way, we eat animal proteins on the week-end when we I have more time to cook.... and during the week, I just "whip" something up with or without proteins. As I told my husband (who tends to have a very short memory when it comes to what he just had for dinner the night before), you'll still get fish/meat at least 3 times a week!! And an egg-based dish like a Quiche, a soufflé or oeuf cocotte (recipe to come) at least once a week. So far so good....
One of the first recipes I made from the book was falafels. I love them but have been pretty disappointed by the ones I have had in restaurants or made with falafels mix.
For the first time, I bought dry chickpeas, soaked them for 24h (and YES, they DO triple in volume!!)... and made falafels the next day. Except for the little planning it requires, the rest is very easy as long as you have a proper blinder (which I don't - next on my birthday list?). I baked them instead of frying them in oil. Purists might not like it but for the sake of my our waistline and our living room, I found the oven baking much better. And even if they did not taste like meatballs whatsoever, my children ate them in no time! So please, next time you see dry chickpeas, don't pass them! Especially if you are tired of eating meat! Nothing wrong with cooking vegetarian meals now and then! Au contraire! Bon Appetit!
(adapted from Mark Bittman's recipe)
- 1 3/4 cup dried chickpeas 
- 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed 
- 1 small onion, quartered 
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander 
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin 
- Scant teaspoon cayenne, or to taste 
- 1 cup chopped parsley (you could add more)
- 1 teaspoon salt 
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • Put beans in a large bowl and cover with water by 3 or 4 inches; they will triple in volume. Soak for 24 hours, adding water if needed to keep beans submerged. 
  • Drain beans well (reserve soaking water) and transfer to a food processor. Add remaining ingredients except oil; pulse until minced but not pureed, scraping sides of bowl down; add soaking water if necessary to allow machine to do its work, but no more than 1 or 2 tablespoons. Keep pulsing until mixture comes together. Taste, adding salt, pepper, cayenne or lemon juice to taste. 
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
  • Make small balls and spread them in a baking dish
  • Cook in the oven for about 40mns or until brown.
  • Serve with Tahini sauce 
My Personal comments:
  • You could fry them in neutral cooking oil at 350F for a few minutes.
  • I added more parsley because I like it.
  • Of course, it's better to make your own Tahini Sauce


  1. Can't wait to try this recipe - the idea of baking convinced me, since I hate the task of frying anything, heath issues aside. I love Mark Bitman, but haven't seen the book you mentioned. Must go look for it!