Do you go through food phases? We do! Sometimes they last a few weeks, sometimes for many months, and sometimes they change with the season. We’re going through one at the moment – the “let’s eat tapas-style food… in the living room… on the floor… while watching this and this“ phase. It’s kind of a great phase to be in because the only stipulation is that the food can be eaten out of a bowl and a table isn’t required.
I saw a falafel recipe in Bon Appetit‘s October issue. Served with a pomegranate-studded slaw and guacamole, I thought would make a perfect weekend meal. I was right! So right, that we made them two weekends in a row – the first, served all together in a bowl; the second, served in soft homemade pita bread. Both variations were superb!
The original recipe called for deep frying the falafel balls, but we prefer to keep things on the lighter / healthier side. Also, the thought of heating up a big pot of oil just doesn’t sit well with us (unless it’s to make donuts with Grandma – then we’re in!). I modified the ingredient list a bit and baked them instead, and they turned out great. To bind the mixture, I used a combination of ground flaxseed and oat flour, and they held together remarkably well (if you don’t have either of these, just use regular flour)! A touch of fresh herbs and lemon juice really brighten the entire meal.
If you have a food processor, these falafels are a breeze to make as everything gets pulsed in the same bowl. I let the mixture chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes before forming the balls, but it’s probably not necessary.
I used a measuring cup (1/4 or 1/3 of a cup works) to portion out the mixture and form them into round balls. At this stage, if you find the mixture has too much liquid in it, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, to soak up the liquid. When you form the balls, they will feel quite delicate, but they hold together very well once baked.
Jonty whipped up the pomegranate coleslaw and guacamole and in no time, the tapas-feast was ready!
The result was a light and flavourful meal that completely satisfied our craving. The baked red pepper falafel balls keep in the fridge for up to a week and should freeze well, too.
I can see these guys making their way into our regular rotation for the next while 🙂
- Serves: 12 falafel
- Serving size: 1 falafel ball
- Calories: 81
- Fat: 1.7 g
- Saturated fat: 0.1 g
- Unsaturated fat: 0 g
- Trans fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 13.4 g
- Sugar: 2.4 g
- Sodium: 185.9 mg
- Fiber: 3.1 g
- Protein: 4.2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 g
- 1 cup / 250 g / 8 oz dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
- ½ medium yellow onion
- 1 small red pepper
- 1 - 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup loosely-packed parsley
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1 tbsp oat flour (or oats ground up)
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp dried red chili flakes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ lemon, zest + juice
- ¼ medium head savoy cabbage, shredded
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- ¼ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp grainy mustard
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
- Pre-heat the oven to 400°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- In the food processor, pulse the rinsed and drained chickpeas until they resemble ground nuts. You still want to be able to see chunks of chickpeas. Transfer them to a large bowl.
- Place the onion, red pepper, garlic and parsley into the food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. Add the ground flaxseed, oat flour, lemon juice + zest and all spices, and pulse to combine. Transfer into the chickpea bowl and mix well. Refrigerate the mixture for up to an hour, or form balls to bake right away.
- Using a ¼ or ⅓ cup measuring scoop, form the mixture into a ball and place on a parchment-lined tray. If the mixture feels too wet, add more oat flour, one tablespoon at a time, to soak up some of the liquid. As long as the mixture holds together slightly, this will be enough to keep the shape as the falafels bake.
- Bake the falafel balls at 400°F for about 25 minutes, flipping half-way through the baking time, until golden brown.
- To make the coleslaw, finely shred the cabbage and carrot, and thinly slice the onion. Mix the mustard, olive oil and vinegar into a dressing, drizzle over the coleslaw and thoroughly. Taste and add more vinegar, salt and/or pepper to taste. Add the pomegranate seeds and mix. If you can, allow the salad to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving, to allow the flavours to develop.
- Serve the falafel and slaw in a bowl (or in a pita!) with a good dollop of guacamole.