As with many popular Middle Eastern recipes, the origins of falafel is convoluted and argued between nations. Each country wishes to be known as the creator of the beloved street dish. Served throughout the Middle East, these small, deep-fried chickpea balls can be eaten as meze, also known as appetizers or snacks, or as a full-fledged meal. This version is healthier than the norm however, as the mixture is baked rather than deep-fried. After removing them from the oven, pillow the flavorful morsels in a pita and drizzle the contents with tzatziki sauce for an exceptionally hearty, and healthy, vegetarian meal. Omit the sauce if desiring a vegan dish, and surround the balls with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, drizzling lemon on top to add both flavor and moisture.
- 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 head garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- Olive oil, for coating the pan
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil.
- Blend the chickpeas in a food processor until almost smooth. Add the onion and garlic and blend until coarse, but still small pieces of the vegetables remain. Pour the mixture in to a medium bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl. Mix until completely combined. Pinch off 1-inch pieces and roll them in to balls. Wet your hands with water if the mixture sticks to your palms.
- Set the balls on the prepared baking sheet, 1/2-inch in between each. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway in between cooking, or until browned evenly on the outside.
- Remove and serve with tzatziki and salad within a pita half.
Calories (per serving): 118