As a family of Vegetarians it is important to us to eat well, and with lots of variety. I like to cook meals that all the Family can enjoy. With a two year old, and a eight month old this isn’t always possible, but one of the meals we all love to eat together is Falafel.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with Falafel, they are made from a mixture of chickpeas, herbs and spices, which is then formed to a smooth-ish paste, shaped and fried (or baked) to eat.
Falafel tastes so good, and not only that it is in fact really nutritious. Chickpeas are a great source of protein for everyone, they are an excellent source of protein, low in fat and high in fibre too. My seven month old eats them as finger food, my toddler likes to dip the Falafel in Tzatziki, alternating bites of pitta bread of Falafel. Whilst Daddy sandwich the Falafel inside the pitta, stuffed with salad and pickles, topping with Tzatziki and sometimes Houmous.
Falafel are a traditional Arab food, and often found wrapped in pitta bread, as a ‘pocket’ stuffed with salad and dips. In fact it is not just the Middle East that regularly serve up Falafel as street food. We have been known to buy falafel in Amsterdam, at festivals and it regularly pops up on restaurant menus. I have so many fond memories of being at Glastonbury or other Festivals with Friends, tucking into Falafels. In fact, I am yet to find a person who does not like them! Here in the Crowtherclan household we love Falafel and eat it at least once a week!
Falafel is a little bit time consuming but worth the effort, and using these fresh herbs will make your kitchen smell divine too! This is a great recipe to impress your Family or dinner party guests! The great thing about Falafel is that it’s great for a starter, a main meal, a lunch box finger food or a snack. My children are fine with the flavour, but it is fine to omit the Harissa if you are worried about small children liking them, it doesn’t affect the loveliness of the falafel!
This recipe serves six adults, it can be halved or doubled easily! The falafel can be served straight away, eaten cold or frozen for another day. Its great for lunchboxes, picnics or just a delicious supper.
Serve with Pitta, Tzatziki, cous-cous and green salad for a healthy and filling meal, suitable for all the family.
2 x 400g tins of Chickpeas
3 tbsp of Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 Onion (chopped)
2 tsp of Chopped Fresh Coriander
2 tsp of Ground Cumin
5 tbsp of Plain Flour
2 tsp of Harissa paste
3 Garlic Cloves (chopped or grated)
Salt and Pepper
400 ml Sunflower Oil
400g Natural Yoghurt
1tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Garlic Cloves (crushed)
2 tbsp. Fresh Mint
Ice scream Scoop/Large Spoon
1. Place the chickpeas, parsley, onion, harissa, coriander, cumin, seasoning and flour into a food processor and blend until the mixture forms a smooth paste
2.Using an ice cream scoop (or dessert spoon) scoop out the mixture and form a small patty, using more plain flour to shape each one, and avoid them sticking to the work surface. Flatten each patty slightly, to make it easier to cook!
3.Pour the sunflower oil into a frying pan or wok and heat to a medium heat. Place the falafel into the pan and cook on each side for about two minutes, or until golden brown.
4.Using a spatula gently remove the cooked falafel from the oil, and repeat until all the falafel is cooked. Drain all excess oil with kitchen paper.
For the Tzatziki
1. De-seed and grate the cucumber (to do this, chop the cucumber in half lengthways, and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon)
2. Wrap the grated cucumber in a clean tea towel and squeeze out the excess moisture over the sink or a bowl
3. Place the cucumber into a bowl, add the yoghurt, lemon juice and garlic and mix well
4. Season to taste
5. Serve immediately or keep in the fridge
Hope you enjoy the Falafel as much as we do!