One of the first Middle Eastern foods that I ever tried was a Falafel wrap (along with Tabbouleh and Hummus)! I was instantly hooked; I just couldn’t get enough of them. But when we moved from Ohio to Massachusetts, we moved into the suburbs where there weren’t many good Middle Eastern restaurants, so I would indulge whenever I went into the city.
Later, when I was struggling to find portable vegetarian lunch options for my kids and husband, the Falafel wrap was one of the first things that came to mind. Not only are falafels good sources of vegetarian protein, but they have plenty of fiber too! But the fact that falafel balls are usually deep-fried was a deterrent for me. If you are going to eat fried things once in a while, then it’s okay. But if you want to have these on a regular basis, then the calories and fat will catch up real fast!
I wanted to try a healthier alternative. I tried pan frying them which uses less oil, but still too much in my opinion. So I tried baking them. I am not going to lie and say there is absolutely no difference between the deep-fried and baked ones; the deep-fried ones are fluffier from inside and the baked ones will be slightly dense. That is to be expected. But there is no difference in flavor! Once you have the hummus, Tabbouleh, and hot sauce going on top of the falafel patties, you can’t even tell the difference. So do go ahead and at least give these a try…you will not miss the fat 🙂
Chick peas – 2 cups dried
Cilantro – ½ bunch
Parsley – 1/2 bunch
Onion – 1 small
Garlic – 4 or 5 cloves
Salt – 2 t
Red chilies – 1 t
Roasted ground cumin – 1 t
Coriander powder (optional) — 1 t
Baking soda — 1/2 t
Oat flour/Regular flour — 1/3 cup
Lemon juice — 1 t
Extra virgin olive oil – 1 1/2 T (for greasing tray and lightly applying on falafels before baking)
· Soak the dried chickpeas overnight. Next morning drain them really well. If in a hurry, then you can use the canned chickpeas (about 2 – 15.5 oz. cans which have been rinsed and drained very well, but then reduce the salt by half as canned chick peas already have salt).
· Rough chop the onion, garlic cloves, cilantro and parsley.
· Preheat the oven to 400 F.
· Grease a baking tray. Make approximately 2” balls with the mixture (it will be slightly moist) and slightly flatten into a patty and put on the greased tray. I make them into patties rather than the traditional balls because it takes less time to cook them from the inside when they are flat. If you bake them as round balls, they tend to become a bit dry. I figured they have to be smooshed once in the pita, might as well flatten them while baking 🙂
· Put the tray into the oven for 10 min. Then take out the tray, using a spatula flip the falafels.
· Put the tray back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes till other side is golden brown.
· To serve them, cut the pita bread into half and slightly warm it. Open the pockets, put a layer of Hummus(check out my recipe) in it. Add about 1-1 ½ falafel, puts lots of Tabbouleh Salad in there or if you don’t have that plenty of chopped lettuce and tomatoes and some hot sauce at the end. Some people prefer adding tahini sauce or Tzatziki sauce. It’s totally up to you.
Total Servings: 21
Per Serving: Calories 80 cal, Fat 1.8 g, Carbs 12.7 g, fiber 3.4 g, Protein 3.8 g