I was a teenage mall-rat. Now that’s out of the way, I can admit that the first time I had falafel was at the mall. Not only that, but I mispronounced it when I ordered. The woman behind the counter was cool; she just asked me if I wanted hot sauce or not.
I immediately wanted to make falafel at home, but I’ve always hated to fry things. In addition to the extra fat and calories, the process is time consuming and results in a messy, greasy kitchen. Getting good flavor and texture when I baked the falafel required a couple of adjustments, though. First, I had to sauté the onions and garlic, as the raw taste remained after baking. Then, I added tahini for moisture. Finally, one day on a whim, I substituted toasted wheat germ for the breadcrumbs and flour I had been using to coat the falafel.
This recipe doubles easily and freezes well. I like to have these with pita bread, lettuce, tomato, and lemon-tahini sauce.
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 15 oz. can chickpeas
- 1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1 cup wheat germ, divided use
- juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons tahini (I prefer raw, not roasted)
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon cumin
- pinch of salt
- water as needed
Sauté onion and garlic over medium heat until translucent – about 5 minutes. Drain chickpeas and reserve ¼ cup liquid (see note).
Place onion, garlic and chickpea liquid in blender or food processor and puree. Add chickpeas, parsley, tahini, cumin and coriander and blend until smooth. Put chickpea mixture in a small bowl and stir in ½ cup wheat germ. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm mixture (see note).
Form chickpea mixture into 16 balls. Roll balls in remaining wheat germ, and flatten slightly to form patties. Spray a baking sheet with cooking-oil spray. Place falafel patties on baking sheet and spray the tops lightly with more cooking oil spray. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, turning over after 10 minutes.
Whisk together lemon juice, tahini, spices and salt. The mixture will get outrageously thick. Add water to thin to desired consistency (I use about 3 tablespoons.)
Note: if you are using a food processor, you can omit the chickpea liquid and skip the refrigeration step.