With the holidays upon us, Chris and I have been trying our best to eat healthy while we can, before the whirlwind of holiday dinners starts. One of the things we’ve been trying to do is to have at least one dinner a week that is meat-free. I also try to do at least one meal a week that is seafood or fish, something a little lighter. Falafel is perfect for a vegetarian meal because it is filling, savory, and just plain delicious! SOOOO so yummy. I’d always been a bit intimidated by falafel, I don’t know why, but I’m glad to announce that it is SUPER easy to make! All you need is a food processor and a few easy to find ingredients and you’ll have yourself an incredible vegetarian meal as well.
According to the folks at Chowhound, you should never use canned chickpeas in your falafel, because the canned kind are too wet and will make your falafel soggy. Well, I’m not the type to plan ahead, and there’s no way I’m planning so far in advance that I remember to put dried chickpeas to soak in water the night before, so canned chickpeas it was! And it turned out fine! Just a tad creamier than the falafel you get at your local pita joint, but still flavorful and delicious. I’m really glad that you can use canned chickpeas, as it makes this recipe incredibly fast and easy to make.
I also whipped together a quick tzaziki sauce out of a few things in my fridge. I didn’t get a picture of it, but it brought everything together and gave the falafel a nice tanginess. I also made this really easy couscous salad which is one of my go-to salads when I want something fast and fresh (Who doesn’t love couscous? Just add hot water and it’s ready in five!).
Serves 2-3, but can be easily doubled.
1 can chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
vegetable oil for deep-frying
Rinse and drain chickpeas thoroughly in a colander. Then pat dry with paper towels. You can also stick them in the toaster oven for a few minutes to dry them out further, if you want.
In a food processor equipped with a metal blade, put all the ingredients (except oil). Whiz a few times until blended, BUT NOT PUREED. You want it to be grainy and chopped rather than creamy.
Heat 3 inches of oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat, until temperature registers 375 degrees on a deep-frying thermometer. Or, if you’re like me and you like to fly by the seat of your pants, just wait until the oil is hot and shimmering, and drop in a tiny piece of the batter. When the little piece sizzles enthusiastically, the oil should be hot enough.
Drop balls of batter by tablespoonfuls into the hot oil (carefully!), and deep fry until browned on all sides, about 3-4 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
Serve with salad, pita and tzaziki sauce.
Double recipe if increasing amount of falafel (see above).
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp chopped mint or parsley
2 tbsp minced or grated cucumber
salt to taste
Mix all ingredients together.