Things have been quiet around here, haven’t they?
We fell into winter’s lull; cold short (mostly) sunny days merged into weeks and just like that a whole month passed.
After my last post, I spent the rest of February keeping cosy and planning my travel itinerary for the year – I’m glad to report that it’s all sorted now.
On the food front, we’ve been making mostly comfort foods, warm and cosy, and not always pretty to photograph. I haven’t shot a food photo in almost a month. Last week, while unearthing baked lentil falafel from the freezer to make a wrap, it dawned on me that I had these photos from another time and that I’d never shared the recipe.
For my burrito-style wrap, I crumble falafel over a heap of rice, stewed black beans, roasted onion and pepper and drizzle thick tahini sauce over it. These falafels keep well, mine are from the summer, I threw my leftovers in the back of the freezer and completely forgot about them. You only need a handful of ingredients; my ingredient list is long because I tend to go heavy on the spices.
They are simple to make, you certainly don’t have to wait for summer to make them. I usually make a large batch, freeze leftovers and reheat them as needed (except I forgot them this time!). First, you’ll need some lentils, which you probably have languishing somewhere in your pantry. Then grab some herbs, add your garlic, tahini, flaxseed and some olive oil. Add your spices and give it all a whirl in a food processor. To help bind everything together, throw in a few tablespoons of flour and baking soda, then voilà! It’s ready to be shaped and baked.
I sometimes add a dollop of tomato paste, which gives the falafels a nice umami boost. While I love traditional falafels, I like the idea of switching things up and trying new adaptations. One day I’ll tell you a story about how I unknowingly ended up with a plate of falafel on a bed of hummus for lunch. (That was it. That was the meal!). Using lentils instead of chickpeas, the falafel takes on the subtly sweet, earthly and nutty flavour of the lentils.
The herbs and spices round things up nicely bringing balance and vibrancy. They’re hearty in salads, satisfying stuffed in a pita with veggies and tahini sauce, and pretty much very versatile in what you can do with them. Serve them on their own as an appetiser or toss when in tomato sauce with spaghetti like you would meatballs.
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup dry red lentils, soaked overnight in water, strained, rinsed and well drained
- 1 bunch parsley (discard thick stems)
- 1 bunch cilantro (discard thick stems)
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 small red onion
- 1/2 - 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1- 4 tablespoons chickpea flour (or almond meal or oat flour), for binding
- Olive oil spray
- Mix ground flaxseed and water in a small cup, set aside and let mixture thicken for at least 5 minutes
- Pulse lentils in a food processor until coarsely ground
- Add parsley, cilantro, garlic, onion and pepper flakes, and pulse a few more times to mix
- Add flaxseed mixture, tomato paste, tahini, olive oil, salt, cumin, coriander, ginger and turmeric, and process until mixture is almost smooth and forms a thick paste, be careful not to over process it
- Taste mixture and adjust the seasoning as desired
- Add baking powder, and chickpea flour one tablespoon at a time until the mixture holds together, it should still be fairly moist
- Refrigerate mixture for 30 – 60 minutes
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
- Using a spoon or ice-cream scoop, scoop about 2 tablespoons of mixture and place on prepared baking sheet, repeat with the rest of the mixture
- Spray falafels with a light coat of olive oil and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown
- Serve on flat bread with your favourite toppings or crumble over salad or coleslaw with tahini dressing