I first tasted falafel at a NYC institution during my college days, likely after a few too many happy hour specials. I remember being transfixed by the crunchy warm orbs bursting with flavor and feeling curious about the pungent and mysterious creamy white sauce that coated the balls - and no that wasn't the discounted liquid ferments talking. Years later, and few happy hours less, I learned the deep, dark, delicious secret of most falafel balls - their immersion into a deep fryer. For a virtuous spin on traditionally fried falafel, I baked the balls and loaded them with flavorful herbs and aromatic spices. That mystery white sauce? It got swapped too for a creamy mint-laced tahini. With a more discerning approach to happy hours and street "meat", these baked falafel are the perfect remedy for curing a gnawing hunger or a painful hangover.
This recipe makes a hearty amount of balls that can be repurposed for a few meals. The falafel make a great addition to a salad or a veggie bowl topped with mint tahini. Or, consider swapping pita bread for some hearty lettuce leaves. Sandwich the balls in collard greens or another durable green for a nutrient-rich gluten-free sandwich.
Turmeric Herb Falafel with Mint Tahini
Makes 20 falafel
- 2 tbsps each of cilantro, parsley, and mint leaves
- 3 scallions, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas, canned or boxed is fine - rinsed and dried
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, spelt flour, or quinoa flour
- 1 tsp aluminum-free baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsps lemon juice
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsps mint, roughly chopped
- Thinly sliced cucumber
- Thinly sliced radish
- Durable lettuce leaves for wrapping in a sandwich or chopped greens for a salad
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. If you only have one pan, make two batches.
- In a food processor, pulse the cilantro, parsley, mint, and scallions. Add garlic and chickpeas, and briefly pulse again. Add spices, sesame seeds, flour, baking soda, salt and pepper, lemon juice, and lemon zest and blend for about 30 seconds or until mixture is well combined but not smooth.
- Using your hands, roll about 2 tbsps of chickpea mixture into 20 small balls. Line falafel on sheet pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping half way through. The balls should be browned and crispy.
- While the falafel bakes, whisk together all of the ingredients for the tahini. Taste and adjust per palate preference. For a thinner sauce, add more water; for a more acidic sauce, add more lemon juice.
- Top a mixed green salad with the falafel or place onto durable greens garnished with cucumber, radish, microgreens, and a hearty drizzle of tahini.
Falafel will keep for 5 days in an airtight container. To reheat, place in a toaster oven or conventional oven for 5 minutes.