These baked green falafel, studded with fresh herbs and pistachios, are just perfect on their own. But for maximum fun, serve with this selection of three dipping sauces - green mint chutney, harissa tomato sauce, and tahini yogurt.
This post was originally shared in August 2014. Images and text have been updated.
I'm so indecisive when it comes to ordering food. Either nothing on the menu looks good (which turns me into a pouty teenager) or I want everything. I seriously wish having a hollow leg was a real thing so I could order all the things and have a place to put it.
When I was trying to come up with a sauce to go with my baked green falafel, I was struck with a similar case of indecision. But lucky for me, at home I can make whatever condiments I like and no one will charge me extra for it. The week before, I created a spicy harissa tomato sauce that I was still dreaming of, but I also had some yogurt and tahini to use up. And ever since I made this cilantro and mint chutney last year, I basically throw it in anything that might remotely pair well with it.
So, with no one to judge other than my husband (who knows better) and my dogs (who could care less), I gave in and made all three. No regrets! Certainly, you could save time and make just one, but what's the fun in that? Remember making "suicides" at the soda fountain by mixing all the drinks together? It's basically the falafel version of that.
How to Make Baked Falafel
With baked falafel, I found two tricks to getting a crispy texture without deep frying. Falafel is typically made by blending soaked, uncooked chickpeas with the other ingredients then deep frying, creating a perfectly crispy outside and tender, but textured inside. It's incredible, and I highly suggest trying your hand at them one day, but it is a lot of work. Every baked recipe I've tried calls for canned chickpeas, which creates a totally edible and delicious falafel, but a softer texture than I would prefer - like baked hummus. This time, I cooked the dry chickpeas al dente, which along with the pistachios, added great texture.
These baked green falafel are also much easier to make. The chickpea batter comes together in the food processor, so you only dirty that, a pot for cooking the chickpeas, and a baking sheet.
How to Serve
To eat these, I made a big platter with the baked green falafel, toasted pita and lettuce, and the three dipping sauces. You could also make these into a pita wrap with feta, cucumbers, tomatoes and red onion. You could also enjoy these bowl style by making a falafel salad with a big bed of greens and veggies with falafel and dipping sauces, or a grain bowl of rice and veggies topped with falafel and dipping sauces.
Baked Green Falafel
Makes about 16
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup pistachios
1/2 cup mint
1/2 cup parsley
3 cups al dente cooked chickpeas (just boil until tender with bite, about 40-ish minutes for soaked chickpeas)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chickpea flour (or any other flour is fine too)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a food processor, blend garlic, shallot, pistachios, herbs and chickpeas until finely minced. Add olive oil, flour, spices and salt and blend until combined.
Spray a baking sheet lightly with olive oil. Form golf ball sized balls with the falafel mix and place evenly on the baking sheet. Spray falafel evenly with olive oil. Bake 40-45 minutes, flipping halfway until lightly browned with a crispy exterior.
Harissa Tomato Sauce
Makes 1 cup
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons harissa
1 cup tomato puree
Heat olive oil in a small pot on medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add harissa and saute an additional 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Add tomato puree, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove to bowl and refrigerate to room temperature before serving.
Tahini Yogurt Sauce
Makes 3/4 cup
1/2 cup plain organic yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
Juice from 1/4 lemon (a little more than a tablespoons)
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt.
Mint and Cilantro Chutney
Makes 2/3 cup
Adapted from My New Roots.
1 1/2 packed cups cilantro
1/2 packed cup mint
1 shallot, minced
1 dried red chili or 1/4 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup coconut cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until they form a pesto-like sauce. Season to taste with salt.
More Falafel-like Recipes: