I love falafel, but for years I had never eaten it outside of a restaurant (preferably Safier on Fourth Street). I knew falafel wasn't a particularly difficult thing to make at home, but I didn't want to fry anything in an amount of oil that is measured in inches. Not for health reasons, really, but for safety reasons. As much as I like to cook, I'm a huge klutz in the kitchen. For instance, I once burned my foot making a grilled cheese sandwich. I won't go into the specifics, but you can imagine what could happen if I were dealing with a whole pan of hot oil. Anyway, these baked falafel are not just safe (and easy!), they are delicious.
3 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 14-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well
juice of 1 wedge of lemon
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tablespoon flour
Preheat oven to 400. Combine garlic and cilantro in a food processor and blend until they are finely chopped. Add garbanzo beans and pulse until beans are no longer chunky, but in uniform large grains. Remove mixture to a bowl. Add cumin, salt, and lemon juice; stir. Stir in the egg until well incorporated. Add flour and stir. Form mixture into balls of desired size (I make about 12 tablespoon-size balls), and flatten each gently on a parchment-lined baking pan. Spray each patty with a cooking oil spray. Bake for 13 minutes (patties should be brown on the bottom), then flip each patty and bake for another 13 minutes until the other side is nice and brown. Serve stuffed into pita halves with lettuce, tomato, bell pepper, feta cheese, and a dollop of tzatziki.
Serves 3-4, and recipe is easily doubled.
Recipe and text by Kathleen, photos by Tamsen