Easy Falafel Recipe

Unless I am mistaken, the average person in the US has not really heard the term "falafel" used in typical dinner conversation. I first heard of falafel in high school when my friends dragged me to Veggie Fest, a fair that celebrated non-meat-eaters and was heavily influenced by Indian and Middle Eastern cultures. It was a really awesome event, mostly because I got to have henna done on my arms, but I was hesitant to try a lot of the foods. Within the next few years, I started to become more open to trying new vegetable based foods and meals. I don't eat a lot of meat now, but I still eat it at least once a day, but let's get to the point:  falafel. I know what you're thinking, how do I even attempt making this at home? Surprisingly, it's incredibly easy. Probably one of the easiest meals I've ever made AND your kids can eat it, too, and will probably like it! 

Let's up your knowledge score by one because that's what this internet tool is all about, right? If you want, you can skip the history of falafel and get to the recipe. Go for it; be a skipper! Skip it all in life, except the food part. You need that. Anyway, falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from a base of chickpeas and/or fava beans. It's an Arabic dish, commonly served in a pita or wrapped in flatbread. It can be eaten in a salad, covered with a sauce, or both. Today, we will be eating it in a pita with a sauce. Of course, you can change up this recipe however you want, you have my permission. The best thing about falafel is that it is pretty versatile and can have anything mixed into it. Here is how I make my fried veggie mash balls.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 roughly chopped onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic or 2-3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour 
  • canola oil
  • pita bread
  • greek yogurt plain or vanilla
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

RECIPE:

  • In a food processor, blender, or NutriBullet (I use my Bullet for everything), blend together the onion and garlic until just finely minced. Remove from processor and set aside.
  • Add the chickpeas, spinach, kale, parsley, cilantro, chili powder, salt, and cumin to the processor and blend until they are roughly mixed together but not pureed. You may need to add a little water if you are not using a food processor to get things moving.
  • Add the onion mixture to the greens. Add in the baking powder, then add the flour in sections as you pulse. Add enough flour to make the mixture into a dough, you may need a little more than 1/2 of a cup.
  • Refrigerate the falafel mix for an hour (I have used it right after pureeing, and it tastes fine).
  • Heat a skillet (I use cast iron) over medium heat and pour in the canola oil. Scoop a small ball of falafel mix and place it in the skillet. Cook like you would a pancake. Brown each side for about 3 minutes, until it is cooked through. 
  • Transfer the fried falafel to a plate. 
  • Spread the yogurt either plain or mixed with the lemon juice over your falafel patties, wrap 'em in a pita, eat!

Okay, so can you now understand why falafel is so versatile? You can add in any type of greens you want, no herbs and spices, whatever. It's really up to you; some people don't even add greens. If you're reading this recipe and saying gross, I can promise you, my carnivorous father enjoys it. I personally think it tastes like mashed potatoes, and it's way way better for me. I enjoy putting vanilla yogurt over the top without the lemon juice; it enhances the flavor of the falafel, even though it sounds super weird! So give it a try, what do you have to lose?

xoxo Kayla

SIDE NOTE: I made the falafel pictured above two days after I made the first puree. It still tastes like it did the first day. Not sure how long it would last before it went bad, but there aren't any raw meats in the mix to give you a disease, so you're pretty golden! And here is an old photo of me at Veggie Fest because LOL.