The common or garden variety falafel – chickpea or fava bean patties, deep fried – isn’t exactly the healthiest of vegetarian fast food options; nor is it particularly convenient for the home cook craving a stuffed pitta snack. The great David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl over at Green Kitchen Stories have perfected the ideal – and healthy – falafel: baked rather than fried, filled with green herbs and fresh kale, and delicious served in a cabbage leaf parcel with our very own Green Pea and Mint Hummus.
They’re super fun to make – kids would love to help out with the getting-your-hands-stuck-in messiness of rounding the patties into balls – and they’re quick and use basic store cupboard goodies. You don’t have to add the kale, but it works really well (and increases that important green vegetable intake): if you have half a pack sitting in the fridge, throw it in!
for the Falafel:
25g/8 sprigs fresh mint
25g/8 sprigs fresh parsley
100g kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
150g pistachio nuts
1 can chickpeas
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ground cumin (a bit less if not adding kale)
1 tbsp flour (ideally gluten-free, e.g. buckwheat flour)
1 tsp baking powder
for the Tomato & Chilli Dressing:
3 tomatoes, chopped into small dice
1 tsp chili flakes (or more if you prefer)
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
a pointed cabbage, thick stem removed from the leaves
pitta breads, toasted just before serving
natural or greek yoghurt
pinch of za’atar
hummus (why not try our Green Pea and Mint version!)
Preheat your oven to 190°C and get out your equipment: you’ll need a food processors (or less ideally, but workable, a hand blender) for this.
Begin by blitzing the herbs, they should release some of their own water content and blend down easily. Then add the pistachio nuts, and blend again until well combined. Now add the rinsed chickpeas, the kale and the rest of the ingredients and blend again. If it’s getting too thick, add a little more olive oil and/or 1 tbsp of water. You will likely need to scrape down the sides of your processor and help it out with a stir every now and then. Make sure you have got a consistent mix of this ingredients but keep it rough and rustic: it’s nice to have some chunks of nuts and chickpea in there!
Wet your hands a little and work the paste into small balls, about the size of table tennis balls (or a little smaller) .and lay out on a baking sheet (either lined with baking parchment or oiled). Bake them for 15 minutes (at 190°C), turning every 5 minutes to get an even golden colour (be careful, they brown most on the bottom side against the baking tray!).
While the little beauties are in the oven, mix the dressing ingredients together and either serve straight away or keep for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Serve the falafels on cabbage leaves or pittas (or both!) with the tomato dressing, our green pea and mint hummus, a drizzle of yoghurt and a pinch of za’atar – delicious, healthy, fast food!