Vegan Falafel

Vegan Falafel
Vegan Falafel

I know Easter is tomorrow, but it just isn’t a food holiday for me. This year we won’t even be at home. We are taking my 3 year old skiing for the first time! I’m super excited. So instead, Falafel.

Falafel is one of the most perfect foods when done correctly; salty, herbaceous, crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, delightful alone and outstanding with a few sauces. The important part of these falafels is that the chickpeas are not cooked, but simply soaked overnight. It takes a little more planning, but is work the effort. The texture is lighter and the flavor more fresh. Serve with your choice of toppings, or just snack on them as is.

Ingredients

  • 2 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper (optional)
  • 6 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour or chickpea flour if gluten-free
  • Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
  • Toppings of choice.

Instructions

  1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain.
  2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
  3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and half of the flour, and pulse. Continue to add flour and pulse until the dough  easily forms a ball when shaped with your hands, and is no longer sticky.
  4. Once dough is the right consistency, cover it and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight. You can cook it right away, but the texture is better if you allow it to sit.
  5. When ready to use remove the dough from the refrigerator and form the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut.
  6. Heat 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a wide deep pot and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour and try again.  Then fry falafel balls in batches being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry until all sides are golden brown turning as needed.
  7. Drain on paper towels.
  8. I like my falafel best with baba ganouj and tahini sauce for dipping. Many like a sandwich in pita bread. Always serve with pickled or fermented something for that sour note.

Note:

For tahini sauce simply stir together tahini, water, lemon juice, salt and minced fresh garlic in proportions you like. I start with 2 TBL tahini, 2 TBL water, squeeze of lemon, one small clove of garlic, and a dash of salt. Minced fresh herbs go nicely here if you have extra parsley or cilantro.

Vegan Falafel

Vegan Falafel
Vegan Falafel

Falafels are one of my favorite foods, when done correctly. They can easily be dry or tasteless, but when perfectly crunchy on the outside, light on the inside, and bursting with flavor they are delicious! The trick to perfect falafel is to used soaked, but not cooked, chickpeas. The texture is far superior to those falafels using cooked chickpeas. I also love the addition of lots of fresh herbs in this recipe. These flalafel are also surprisingly easy and quick as long as you remember to soak the chickpeas the night before and you use a food processor to bring everything together.

I suggest making a double batch if you plan to share.

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4-6 tablespoons flour or chickpea flour if gluten free
  • Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
  • Chopped tomato for garnish
  • Diced onion for garnish
  • Tahini sauce
  • Pita bread or salad

Instructions

  1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
  2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
  3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
  4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts.
  5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  6. Using either salad or pita, top with flalafel and any garnishes of your choice.