Middle Eastern idea factory vol.2

I don’t think this blog yet represents clearly enough my love for Middle Eastern food – hummus, baba ghannouge, falafels, tabbouleh, tzatsiki, DATES, TAHINI…not even going to start with all the vibrant spice mixtures ranging from Ras El Hanout to Za’atar and everything in between. Today I realized that I don’t even have a falafel recipe here, which is major shortcoming in my opinion. Everyone should have at least one good recipe for making delicious falafels easily and rather quickly at home whenever the cravings hit. However, as basic falafel recipes are pretty easy to find on the Internet, I thought I would write down a slightly different recipe which is also my personal favourite falafel recipe; Smoky baked falafels.

These falafels use smoked paprika powder in addition to the more traditional falafel spice, cumin, giving them a nice smoky touch as well as a pretty red colour. I also like to add some fresh herbs and sundries tomatoes into the mixture to give extra texture and flavour. Not only are these falafels healthier than the average you get in a restaurant because they are not fried in oil but baked in the oven instead, but also super juicy and tasty thanks to the herbs and spices. I prefer to serve my falafels with a simple Mediterranean inspired salad usually consisting of quinoa, baby spinach, sprouts, steamed broccoli, raw carrot, cucumber and cherry tomatoes + Kalamata olives – everything tossed with lemon and tahini – but you may enjoy them with whatever you like of course.

Smoky baked falafels

What you will need:

Makes 10 falafels/ serves 2

1 400g can of pre-cooked chickpeas (240g drained weight)

1 small red onion

1tbsp lemon juice

2 sundried tomatoes (4 large halves, soft, no-oil)

1 small handful of fresh coriander

1 small handful of fresh basil

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp smoked paprika (sweet not spicy)

1/2tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder

1 flax egg (1tbsp ground flaxseed + 3tbsp water)

How to do it?

  • Pre-heat your oven to 175c.
  • Mix the flaxseeds and water to make your “flax egg”. Put the mixture in the fridge to set while you make the other preparations.
  • Rinse your chickpeas well with water, then put them into your food processor (you can also use a hand blender like I do).
  • Chop your red onion and add it along with all other ingredients into the food processor.
  • Check your flax egg. When it has a thick egg-like consistency, add it to the other ingredients and process everything together until chunky.
  • Divide your dough into 10 equal parts and gently roll them into balls.
  • Bake for around 25 minutes until the falafels start to brown a bit, flipping them in the middle.
  • Serve with your choice of salad, fresh coriander, tahini and lemon or lemon-tahini dressing.

xx a

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