Falafels are one of my favourite meals and it helps that I enjoy making them too! I first made them only a year ago when I found a basic recipe which i gradually changed to make the falafels gluten free and to the perfect consistency to give a falafel with a soft crumbly inside and a crispy outside.
Normally, I would lightly brown the falafels in a pan with a little oil to get the crispy outside and then continue to cook them in the oven, however this recipe omits this step and bunging them straight into the oven still gives them that crunchy outside and makes them a super healthy and satisfying meal!
So here’s how I made my baked spicy falafels…
- 1 can of chickpeas, washed and drained, or dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled for at least an hour
- 1/2 red onion diced small
- 2 garlic cloves chopped small
- 1 or 2 birds eye chilli (or any other chili will do) chopped
- a little nut or coconut oil (also a little for greasing)
- big handful of fresh coriander chopped
- 1 tsp of cumin
- ~2tbsp polenta
To start, fry the onion, garlic and chili in a little oil in a pan until soft and set aside. In a medium sized bowl add the chickpeas, you may need to blot them in some kitchen roll to dry them if they are quite wet. If you have any other beans you fancy putting in the falafels, chuck them in the bowl along with the chickpeas. Blend the chickpeas until there are no whole chickpeas left, a hand blender works great for this and makes less washing up!
To the chickpeas add the onion mix, pepper (and salt if you prefer), the chopped coriander (fresh is best but if you haven’t got any use dried), cumin, and mix well!
Finally the polenta needs to be added to the mixture, gradually adding enough so that the mixture becomes more crumbly, but is still able to stick together. This tends to be about 2 tbsp, but I never measure it so it always changes! I used coarse polenta in this particular recipe and it gave the falafels a bit more of a tasty crunch when cooked!
Now for the easy peasy bit, forming the falafels!
You may like your falafels smaller or bigger but normally I make them about walnut sized. Take some mixture, roll it between your hands into a ball and put on a lightly greased tray. Mixture made with 1 can of chickpeas should make around 7-8 falafels.
Bake in the oven at 180 C for 30 minutes and the outside will be nice and crunchy!
Falafels are yummy served with a yoghurt and mint dip (just add dried mint to a low fat natural or greek plain yoghurt) and a simple fresh salsa of diced red onion, tomato, red pepper and a squeeze of lime or lemon.
They also taste super delicious with ketchup!!