Falafel. Falafel. Falafel… I said this so many times in my head today it doesn’t even seem like a real word anymore! Weird when that happens! It’s really a funny word isn’t it.. faaalaaafeeellll.
So, what IS a falafel?
According to wikipedia.. the source of all reliable answers … a falafel is a Middle Eastern dish of spiced mashed chickpeas or other pulses formed into balls and deep-fried.
Aaaah.. that’s why we all love falafel so much, tasty little chickpeas, mashed, then deep-fried.
I can’t even tell you how many times in my ol’ bar-star days my friends and I would stumble into the middle eastern restaurant nearby, always open late, and order up huge falafel pitas. Thankfully those days are over, and my falafel cravings are no longer booze induced!!
There’s just something about them, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, garlicky, warm, and filling!
When I decided I wanted to make falafel, I knew I had to alter them a bit to make them fit the healthy bill.
First of all, no frying.. boooo, I know. But really, it’s not much of a newsflash, nothing deep-fried is healthy. So, baking it would be!
Then, I tried to think how I could sneak something super healthy into the falafel to amp up the nutrition even more…. I perused through my fridge, and there it was, the bag of kale I had just about ready to kick the can. Perfect!
I hate wasting, so if you have any spinach, kale, or other greens that need to be used up quickly… just throw them into this falafel recipe!
The combination of chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon, and spices really create a flavor overload!
Although kale tends to have a pretty strong taste, the other flavors are strong enough to hold up so these little falafel have only a slight taste of kale to them, which I think is nice!
Nutritionally speaking, this recipe is awesome!
We’ve got fiber and protein from the chickpeas, more protein and healthy fats from the tahini, antioxidants from the lemon and garlic, and tons of vitamins from the kale.
Oh, and making the falafel… a total breeze!
Pretty much whiz everything up in your food processor, a little ‘scoop, scoop’ and ‘pat, pat’ … bake, and you’ve got yourself some crispy, yet squishy, patties-of-yum!
The hardest part is waiting the 30 minutes for these little guys to cook up!
It’s really up to you how you decide to eat these. On their own they are delicious, they would also taste great with a healthy sauce like hummus, tatziki, tapenade, or even salsa!
Enjoy them on a salad, in a wrap or pita, stick em’ in a sandwich, or dip them in soup (ok… that one’s a little weird, but I bet you with the right soup it would taste good!).
I deemed 3 of these to make a “serving”… but you could totally get away with 4 or even 5. The calories are quite low for being as filling and nutrient dense as these are. 3 falafel brings in less than 190 calories and only 8g of fat, with a whopping 10g of protein, and 6g of fiber!
Pretty good stats if I do say so myself!
- 2 cups stem removed, torn, and rinsed kale
- 1- 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 3 medium to large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1½ tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 heaping tablespoon gluten free oat flour
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil to grease the baking pan
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Add chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper to a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Add in the chopped kale and pulse until all is well combined. This may take a while, I had to use a spoon to help scrape the mixture from the sides of the processor.
- Once well incorporated, transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the oat flour.
- Grease a large baking pan with the coconut oil.
- Form the mixture into small patties, and place on the pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then flip carefully (bottoms should be a nice golden brown)
- Bake for an additional 10 minutes on the opposite side.
- Allow falafel to cool slightly.
- Serve immediately with whatever sauce or dip you prefer! Or enjoy on a salad, or in a wrap!
*recipe adapted from the beautiful Minimalist Baker blog!
Fave Five Friday: Chickpea Goodness
Seeing as chickpeas are the main component of this delicious little falafel recipe, I thought I’d search the blogosphere and see what other chickpea featuring recipes there are out there! Wow, did I find some amazing stuff…. snacks, meals, and get this.. desserts, yep, chickpeas even make their way into sweet treats and you’d never guess it! Check out this awesome list!
1. Cilantro Lime Hummus from A Sweet Simple Life
2. Easy Chana Masala from Kurry Leaves
3. Chicken Chickpea Stew from The Shiksa in the Kitchen
4. Healthy Cookie Dough from Mix It Up
5. Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies from Ambitious Kitchen
… and just for fun here are some ‘chickpea deliciousness’ recipes on Nutritionist in the Kitch:
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!
Nutritionist in the Kitch