It’s literally been a week since I had my last home-cooked dinner. Somehow, over the past seven days, I’ve done tapas-style small plates twice, veggie burgers twice, Belgian once and the same Mediterranean place two nights in a row. (In my defense, it’s literally a block away and really good.) Everything was very good and it’s always fun to catch up with friends, but my goodness do I miss some good old home cooking.
This baked falafel was the last dinner I made before my week of restaurants. I had never heard of falafel before coming to New York City. I was an innocent, naive freshman, but the moment someone introduced me Mamoun’s in the Village for a late-night snack, I was hooked. When I realized that the Chickpea (a popular falafel chain in the city) down the block from my dorm accepted NYU’s campus cash, it was on. While my roommate chose chicken or beef shawarma pitas, I only had eyes for the little fried balls of chickpea, spicy and dense and full of flavor.
But given my
failed attempt at new focus on healthy eating, my desire to wolf down deep-fried anything has waned slightly. So I decided to bake the falafel, broiling them at the end for some crispiness. Haters (ahem.) said that I’d lose the quintessential element that makes falafel so good, but I’d like to think that it’s the chickpeas and spices that make them swoon-worthy, not their short stay in a vat of oil.
Guess what? I was right. These just might be the best falafel I’ve ever had, which is saying something because I eat a lot of falafel. The incredibly easy process of smashing chickpeas together with spices takes about 10 minutes, and the spices can be switched up in a million different ways to suit your flavor preferences. Seriously, if you’re in a time crunch, just make the chickpea mixture and scoop it onto some pita chips for a very chunky hummus (similar to and as delicious as this chickpea and olive salad).
Given how easy and delicious these were, I’ll definitely be making these more regularly. Maybe even tonight, to remind myself how spectacular a meal cooked at home can be.
Adapted from Baking Bites
Makes 16 golf ball-sized falafel
– 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
– 1 onion, chopped
– 4 garlic cloves, smashed
– 2 tbsp cumin
– 1 tbsp coriander powder
– 1 teaspoon cayenne
– 1 handful fresh cilantro
– salt and pepper, to taste (be generous)
1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth and well-combined. Alternately, you could combine the ingredients in a large bowl and mash with either a fork or your hands.
2) Spray a lined baking tray with cooking spray. Shape the chickpea mixture into golf-ball sized balls and place on the baking sheet.
3) Bake for 15 minutes, flipping the falafel to the other side halfway through. Then turn the broiler on high and bake the falafel for 2-3 minutes on each side, until crispy and browned. Serve with pita, hummus (homemade or otherwise) and your favorite fixings.