I’ve been sitting on this post before making it live for almost a month now, but it’s time that I actually bite the bullet and do what I’ve set out to do- create a web presence to make me feel more productive while I’m in between jobs. What I want to do with this blog is rant and rave about what healthy living means to me, happenings and goings on in my daily life, and my deepest love- food. I’ll get straight to the point today and dive right into a favorite of many: falafel with tahini sauce. To those who don’t like falafel: keep trying it until you love it, because it’s magical. Writing down my recipes is going to prove to be a bit of a challenge. I never measure anything. Even when baking I’ll add more as I go along and I’m big on taste testing. It’ll be a learning adventure for everyone! The measurements here are approximate, but maybe I’ll be able to help you become more “instinctual” with cooking. Apologies for my photography, it’s a subject I’m not exactly up to par in yet. We all have to start somewhere!
What you’ll need:
For the falafel:
- 1 bag of dried garbanzo beans/chick peas (or you can use 2 cans)
- 2-3 tbsp of flour (I used whole wheat- to make gluten free use garbanzo flour)
- 1-2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp cumin
- about 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1-2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 medium red onion, diced (I used yellow, it was fine, red is just more authentic.)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- chili powder (optional, to taste. I usedabout a half teaspoon.)
- 1/4 of a medium jalapeno, diced (optional. if you like the heat but want to turn it down, remove the seeds and ribs. Always use gloves or a plastic bag on your hands when handling jalapenos!)
For the tahini sauce:
- 1/4 cup tahini paste
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 fresh lemon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
To make the falafel: If you’re using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight in cold water. Make sure to submerge them in enough water to give them room to double in size and pop them in the fridge. You can allow them to sprout, just be sure to change the water twice a day to prevent bacterial growth. They should be sprouted by the second or third day. After you’ve allowed them to soak, boil them for about 90 minutes or until they’re tender all the way through. Once they’re soft, drain and rinse the beans, then allow them to cool.
Now you canned folks can join the party:
Add all ingredients to a food processor, or if you’re like me and don’t have one: a big bowl. If you’re lucky enough to have a food processor, pulse the ingredients and scrape down the sides to chop up all the chickpeas. If you’re using the old-fashioned bowl method, just take a potato masher and have at it until all the ingredients are mashed together to form a consistency that will hold itself together in patty form. Once all of your ingredients are of a chunky-paste consistency, it’s on to the patty formation. I find making flat patties about two inches across gives the best results for pan frying or crisping in the oven, but do whatever your falafel-loving heart desires. This recipe makes around 2 dozen patties, so to store them- place patties in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze before frying, then transfer them into airtight containers. When you’re ready to eat them, just put the frozen patties directly on the skillet- no thaw time required.
To pan-fry, get your non-stick skillet nice and hot over medium-medium high heat, then drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil. Let it heat up, then gently (and lovingly) add your patties and fry them until they’re a nice, deep golden brown- about 6 minutes. Flip them over and give the other side the same amount of love.
To make your tahini sauce, add equal parts of tahini paste and water. Add your sea salt and the juice of one lemon and whisk it all together until it’s a yogurt texture. The color will lighten up once you incorporate the water into the tahini paste. Taste test and if you need more salt, add a little.
Once your falafels are golden and your tahini is ready, you can put them on top of some steamed kale tossed with your tahini sauce like I did; you can put them on a slider bun with avocado, tahini sauce, tomato, and lettuce; you can put them in a pita; or you can just eat them as they are. Be creative and enjoy them!
**After making this recipe once, I wanted to try something a little different. I switched out the flour and replaced it with milled chia seeds for some extra omega 3’s, and I changed the olive oil for coconut oil. There results are delicious, and I would definitely recommend giving it a try if you’re feeling you need some healthy justification for eating falafels 🙂