Saturday, February 5, 2011


My favorite falafel recipe comes from Mollie Katzen's The New Moosewood Cookbook, a bible of handwritten recipes for vegetarians and natural-food lovers alike.  This recipe calls for pan-frying the falafel in a small amount of oil; eliminating the calories from the traditional deep-frying method but maintaing that same street-food crispness we all crave. I paired the falafel with whole-wheat pita, a nonfat greek yogurt rita sauce, and diced tomatoes and cucumbers for a complete healthful dinner. Scroll down to Love Your Legumes to learn about the health benefits of chickpeas, falafel's main ingredient.

Preperation time: about 30 minutes, including cooking
Yield: about 24 2-inch felafel. Allow 4 to 6 per serving.

4 cups cooked chickpeas (two 15-oz. cans)
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup finely minced onion, or 6 scallions, minced
1/4 cup (packed) minced parsley
1/4 cup water
1 Tbs. lemon juice
a few dashes of cayenne
1/3 cup flour (use whole wheat if you can)
oil for frying (falafel balls can also be baked in the oven if you want to eliminate oil completely, spray cooking spray on each side)

1. Rinse the chickpeas, and drain them well.
2. Combine all ingredients except flour in a food processor or a medium-sized bowl and process -or mash- until you have a uniform bater.
3. Add flour, and stir until thoroughly combined. You can cook the Felafel right away, or store the batter in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for several days.
4. Heat a heavy skillet and add about 3 Tbs. oil. When it is hot enough to sizzle a bread crumb on contact, drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the pan, flattening each slightly, like a small, thick pancake. Saute for about 10 minutes on each side, until golden and crisp. Add small amounts of extra oil to the pan as needed throughout the cooking.
5. Place the cooked Felafel on a plate lined with paper towels, and, if necessary, keep warm in a 300 degree F oven until serving time.

Rita Sauce
Per serving, combine 1/2 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt, 1/4 cup grated cucumber, and a dash of salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander. Other sauces to try with the falafel include tahini, sweet chili sauce, and mango chutney.

Love Your Legumes
Canned beans are the cheapest form of protein you can get: at 28 cents a serving (under $1 a can), you can eliminate the cholesterol associated with animal-based proteins and gain a generous source of fiber, folate, iron, and potassium. Other health benefits include digestive track support, antioxidants, decreased cardiovascular risks, and blood sugar regulation. Also, chickpeas' ability to make you quickly reach food satiety-how full it makes one feel/effectiveness in eliminating sense of hunger and appetite- can help control calorie intake and weight management. Go garbanzos!


Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)." WH Foods. Web. 5 Feb. 2011. <>.
"Healthy Foods Under $1." American Heart Association. 2 July 2010. Web. 5 Feb. 2011.

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