I love Greek food, and I have tried many times to make falafel just to end up with a mushy mess that falls apart while cooking. But not today. The trick is to start with dried chickpeas. I always assumed that these would be hard to find, but I got mine at Walmart for about a dollar. Definitely had to stock up! All you have to do is soak these overnight in a bowl of water, and when you’re getting ready to make dinner, just drain and dry them well. Oh man, these turned out absolutely amazing! Plus they’re vegetarian, full of protein, and totally healthy. Adding this to my Greek repertoire!
-1/3 c mayonnaise
-1 clove garlic, grated
-1 Tbsp lemon juice
-1 small cucumber
-salt and pepper
Peel, seed, and grate the cucumber. Then combine all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. You can definitely substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise if you don’t need it to be dairy free–either works great!
-1 lb dry chickpeas, soaked overnight
-1/2 yellow onion, chopped
-1/3 c parsley
-4 cloves of garlic
-2 to 3 Tbsp olive oil
-1 Tbsp flour (gluten free if needed)
-1 Tbsp ground flax*
-2 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt
-2 tsp cumin
-1 tsp coriander
-1 tsp red pepper flakes
-black and cayenne pepper to taste
-red onion, tomatoes, lettuce, tzatziki and pita (or gluten free tortillas) to serve
Combine all ingredients except for the chickpeas in a food processor and blend until you have a smooth paste. Next add the chickpeas and blend until you have a mixture that’s almost smooth, but still has a bit of texture. You don’t want it to be completely smooth or it won’t hold together well while cooking. You also don’t want it to be too dry. It needs to hold together in a ball but still be pretty moist to the touch. Feel free to add a little extra olive oil or even a touch of water if you need it. Pour this mix into a bowl and refrigerate for an hour. Section the falafel mix into patties, 2 to 3 Tbsp in size.
Next you can either shallow fry these in about 1/4 inch of oil or bake them. I tried both ways, and honestly the baked ones were just as good as the fried. Preheat your oven to 450º and place your falafel patties on a greased baking sheet. Slightly oil the tops of the falafel as well–I used coconut spray for this which made it really easy. Bake them for 10-12 minutes, give them a flip and a slight press down, and bake for another 5-7 minutes.
Serve in a pita, tortilla, or on a salad with chopped red onion, tomato, lettuce, and tzatziki.
*If you don’t have ground flax, then feel free to substitute it with flour, but the flax adds a nice hit of fiber, protein, and omega-3s which is awesome!