Baked Chickpea And Almond Falafel
I couldn’t have a vegan blog without featuring a falafel recipe could I? This has a twist though: the not so conventional addition of almonds to the mix which offers complexity in terms of taste, texture and nutrition. I mean, who doesn’t love a toasted nut? This is a baked falafel recipe, and the cooking method means that you won’t achieve that mega-crunchy exterior that comes with the deep-fried variety, but rather a more modest crunchy exterior and a soft and moist interior. Believe me though, the mixture is so nice that you’ll want to eat it uncooked! I’ve used a really high temperature to blast the falafel for a short period of time to create that crispy outer and ensure the mixture sticks together but doesn’t dry out. Although rolling the falafel in to balls can be really quite laborious, the use of a food processor means that everything else can be prepped quite quickly, and there is minimal washing up. If you are really short of time, form the mixture in to larger patties or burgers.
As you can see from the picture, I served the falafel alongside tahini dressing and loads of salad leaves. Falafel works well with other mezze-style dishes too: try lemon-maple dressed quinoa; raw vegetable ‘slaw; tomato, tahini and chilli dip; sun-dried tomato homous and so on. The falafel could also work wonderfully as part of a salad buffet; as a party nibble, mid-afternoon snack, or in its rightful place alongside some homous, bundled up inside a wrap or pitta bread.
- 200g almonds
- 100g sesame seeds
- 500g cooked chickpeas (or 2x400g cans- drained weight of a can is about 240g)
- 2 red onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- 30g fresh parsley
- 10g fresh mint
- 1/4 cup (or 60ml) water
- 1/2 cup (or 120ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Toast the almonds and the sesame seeds in a 170 degrees C oven for about 8 minutes, until nicely toasted. Turn the heat to 220 degrees C in preparation for cooking the falafel.
- Combine everything in a food processor and pulse until combined. I personally don't like a completely smooth consistency- I like to leave a bit of a rough texture- but it needs to be combined enough for the mixture to stick together, and the herbs and onion to be chopped up enough.
- Form the mixture in to patties (about 1.5 inch diameter) and place on a greased baking sheet, or a non-stick silicon baking sheet.
- Bake at 220 degrees C (make sure you pre-heat; the oven must be really hot before they go in!) for 12 minutes, until the falafel have firmed up a bit. Be careful not to over-bake as they will dry out.
- You can play around with the herbs and spices in this mix- try using fresh coriander instead of parsley and mint, or add some fresh or dried chilli for a spicier version.