Baked Falafel

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Falafel is my favorite street food. I love the combination of textures, the starring role of vegetables, and the tart Middle Eastern flavors. Since “no deep frying” is one of the cardinal rules of the reflux diet, I’ve been sorely missing this treat. I also hate being made aware that my “healthy” falafels have been deep fried all along 🙂

The vegetarian blog Eats Well With Others shared a baked falafel recipe that I knew I would love. I tweaked it for heartburn suffers by removing the lemon; reducing the almonds, tahini, and oil to lower the fat content; and adding more spices to make up for the lack of garlic. I also substituted zucchini for raw onion to keep the patties moist.

After spending 30 minutes in the oven, these falafel patties are a crispy delight. At first I followed the inspiration recipe’s suggestion of serving them as a lettuce wrap, using Swiss chard leaves instead of pita. But it was even better the next day, when I chopped and sauteed the leftover chard with olive oil and served it topped with falafel and the tahini sauce. I’ll add a photo when I make it again!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 7 sprigs cilantro
  • 7 sprigs parsley
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp oat or whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup zucchini chunks
  • 10 grinds sea salt
  • 6 large Swiss chard leaves
  • 2 carrots, grated
FOR THE SAUCE:
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp tahini
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 5 grinds sea salt
  • 2 tbsp water, divided

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Pulse cilantro and parsley (both leaves and stems) in a food processor. Add almonds and pulse until chopped into small pieces.
  3. Add chickpeas, oil, cumin, coriander, onion powder, flour, baking soda, zucchini, and salt to taste, and blend until a slightly chunky puree is formed.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use your hands to form 9 falafel patties from the mixture. Space out evenly on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Then flip the falafels and bake for 15 more minutes.
  6. Grate the carrot and the wash the chard leaves. Remove the thick ends of the stems, and save them for another meal.
  7. To make the sauce, combine vinegar, tahini, honey, oregano, salt, and 1 tbsp water in a bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds, and then stir until smooth, adding up to 1 tbsp more water until desired consistency is reached. (The sauce will be separated when you begin to stir; take heart, it will come together!) IMG_4480
  8. Place 1 or 2 falafels, a handful of carrot, and a drizzle of sauce on each chard leaf. Wrap and enjoy!
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