Following on from ‘Spiced Vegetable Croquettes’, I continue my quest to come up with healthy, adventurous foods my boys can feed themselves. They are 11 months old now and really aren’t interested in being fed by Mom, yet I’m trying to continue all the goodness they used to get from their homemade purees. Beans are the perfect source of protein, especially because as a household we are trying to cut down on meat consumption. I am also keen on introducing them to herbs and spices, and what better to do it than this Middle-Eastern classic – Falafel.
I may be upsetting many an Israeli falafel lover here with my recipe because traditionally they should be made with dried chickpeas. They should also be fried in oil to give that crispy on the inside, fluffy in the middle texture. I apologize in advance because I’ve gone rogue… You can’t necessarily find dried chickpeas in your local grocery store, and they also have to be soaked overnight before you can use them. So if you’re prepared and organized, go with dried, but if you have three children and a time management problem, buy canned.
In regard to cooking, I tried frying them but because they are smaller than traditional falafel they soaked up a lot of oil and were too greasy. I tasted both the fried and the oven baked and I genuinely favor the baked, hence that’s what I’m posting below. I’m happier offering baked goods over fried to the babies anyway (sorry Israel).
- 2 (15oz) cans of chickpeas
- 1/2 an onion
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 4 tbs flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
- 1 tbs olive oil (optional)
- Plain Greek yogurt & cucumber to serve
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Finely chop the onion, garlic, parsley and cilantro.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place into a food processor with the chopped veg, flour, baking powder, herbs and spices. Add a little salt if you wish.
- Pulse the ingredients in the food processor. You're aiming to break the chickpeas up, without turning them into a paste.
- Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls of around 1-1.5 inches in diameter.
- To give just a little crisp to the outside and stop them drying out, roll the falafel in a tbs of olive oil on a plate. Alternatively you could lightly spray with oil or just leave them bare - they will still be delicious!
- Place the falafel onto a lined tray and bake for 40mins, turning at half time.
- Serve on top of Greek yogurt with a side of cucumber.
- Instead of plain yogurt and sliced cucumber, you could go all out and make Tzatziki, yum. What can I say... I'm a busy woman and it just didn't happen this time! Enjoy snacking on your baby's food 😉
Of course what matters most of all is the twin tasting panel… they went down a treat!
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