Thursday, March 27, 2014

Baked Falafel!

Here is a great option for your Friday dinners during Lent.  I love falafel and was very excited when I saw a recipe on Mark Bittman's blog for baked falafel.  Oooh, baked falafel.  Well, I played around with the recipe a little bit and I am very happy with the results.  I caramelized the onion and garlic instead of adding them in raw.  I ate a couple falafel at lunch today with romaine lettuce, sliced cucumber, a dollop (or two) of greek yogurt, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Yep, this one is a keeper for sure.  I know my family is going to love it.  Tomorrow for dinner I will serve these up with the addition of some fresh pita bread and hummus.  Can't wait!  The one additional change I would make is to make the patties thicker and not pat them down.  They spread a little as they bake.  No matter the size or shape, these are absolutely delicious!  Baked Falafel is sure to be another family favorite that I will serve up all through the year, not just Fridays during Lent.
Baked Falafel
adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe

3 ½ cups dried chickpeas (or 30 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed under cold water)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced

1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
4 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the oven to 375°F.   In a medium sauté pan heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat.  Add the sliced onion, chopped garlic, and a ½ to 1 teaspoon salt.  Cover pan and let caramelize for a few minutes.  When onions start to brown (about 5 minutes) stir all onions and garlic and remove from heat to cool slightly.

Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water by 3 or 4 inches—the beans will triple in volume as they soak. Soak for 12 to 24 hours, checking once or twice to see if you need to add more water to keep the beans submerged. OR use canned chickpeas…I used two 15 ounce bags of Fig Co. Food Organic Chickpeas.

Work in two batches if you have a small food processor.  Drain the chickpeas and transfer them to a food processor with the caramelized onion and garlic, cumin, chopped cilantro, ½ teaspoon of pepper, baking soda, and lemon juice. Pulse until everything is minced but not pureed, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides if necessary; add water tablespoon by tablespoon if necessary to allow the machine to do its work, but keep the mixture as dry as possible. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper, as needed. 
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll the chickpea mixture into 16-18 balls; about 2 inches in size, then reshape (flatten very slightly) into thick patties. Put the falafel on the prepared pan and brush the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Bake until golden all over, 10 to 15 minutes on each side.  Don’t worry if they are delicate and fall apart a little when you flip them over.  Just use your hands and pat the pieces back onto the patties.  They don’t need to look perfectly shaped or uniform.  They will taste great regardless of shape!
Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days or frozen for a few months.  Falafel stored in refrigerator may be reheated in microwave or in the oven (wrapped in foil) for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Frozen falafel should be reheated in the oven (wrapped in foil) for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.