Monday, February 9, 2015

Meal Plan: Feb 8th- Feb 12th- Baked Falafel

The second recipe I chose to make from Appetite for Reduction was Baked Falafel. For those of you that don't know, falafel is pretty much  one of Israel's national foods. A great fast food, but healthier than your average McDonald's, you can pretty much find it on every other street here; in some places, there are multiple falafel stands on one street. And the smell.. nothing like it!

Falafel is made out of ground chickpeas and herbs and spices, shaped into balls and then fried. It's traditionally served in a pita with Israeli salad, humus and tahini and various other toppings. Fried eggplant? Yes, please. Now, haven't had a falafel in a pita with the trimmings in years simply because it's so... greasy. Now that I eat a WFPBNO diet, it is certainly not something I would ever pick up. So when I saw that there was a recipe for Baked falafel in the book, I immediately incorporated it into the meal plan.

Yesterday's visit to the supermarket was a fast one. I picked up a few peppers, cucumbers, canned corn, carrots, potatoes, pita bread, red onions and parsley. The food alone cost me a mere 51 shekels but I needed to pick up toilet paper (25) and some mouth wash (33 for a huge bottle) which brought my total to around 110 shekels. Everything else, I already had on hand at home.

A while ago, I had bought a huge bag of dried chickpeas. I cooked up what left I had of the bag and froze them in increments of 1.5 cups in small ziploc bags. Go me! I decided to double the recipe to have enough for the entire week. Even so, I ended up with only 18 falafels (that the original makes) but that's most likely due to the size of mine; I'm pretty sure they were larger than intended. These were delicious if a bit crumbly and with some cucumber, red onion and tahini, hit the spot in a really big way. My only issue was the dryness of the mixture. I initially thought that because I used home cooked instead of canned chickpeas that moisture was lacking from that. I added water to help it along (considering that I omitted the oil from the recipe) but I should have added more because it was still a bit crumbly. What I realized afterwards is that most likely the issue was with my food processor. It just hit me that my small, cheap processor doesn't process my beans into a smooth enough mixture which makes sense because all of my previous bean related recipes have had the exact.same.issue. I didn't think to use the VitaMix but next time I will use either the blender or crank out my KitchenAid food processor that has been sitting unused and unloved in its box.

That said, this recipe is a real winner and if I ever get around to repeating recipes, this will be on that list.

Baked Falafel
barely adapted from Appetite for Reduction

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or 1.5 cups cooked
2-3 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
2 tsp hot sauce
3-4 tbsp chickpea flour
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Place the chickpeas and garlic into the bowl of your food processor and pulse. Add the onion, parsley and hot sauce and process until relatively smooth. (Mine never got smooth-- darn processor!) Transfer the mixture into a bowl and add the chickpea flour (add the smaller amount first) and spices. The mixture should be mushy but firm enough to form into balls. If it's not firm enough, add the remaining tablespoon of chickpea flour. Form the mixture into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten. Bake for about 18 minutes until the falafel has some color. Flip and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until the other side has some color.

Biteavon! (Hebrew for bon appetit!)

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