Monday, July 22, 2013

Vegan. Oil free. Unfried. Falafel Burgers. Fabulous.

Good morning folks! Here's the final recipe from our Fourth of July party. I'm pretty impressed with myself that I've gotten them all up here on HGK and it's still July. Not! But seriously guys, this one is totally worth trying if you are a fan of falafel.

Not familiar with falafel? Here's the description from Wikipedia:

Falafel (/fəˈlɑːfəl/Arabicفلافل‎, [fæˈlæːfɪl] is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Falafel is a traditional Arab food, usually served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa; "falafel" also frequently refers to a wrapped sandwich that is prepared in this way. The falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of a meze.

Generally accepted to have first been made in Egypt, falafel has become a dish eaten throughout the Middle East. The Copts of Egypt claim to have first made the dish as a replacement for meat during Lent. The fritters are now found around the world as a replacement for meat and as a form of street food.

Although I had tried eating falafel as a kid, I didn't really acquire a taste for it until after college, when I moved to Los Angeles and my diet began expanding to larger amounts of ethnic and somewhat more spicy foods. Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Thai . . . these cuisines suddenly became far more accessible to me and my love affair with them began.

But no one on a Plant-strong or Nutritarian diet wants to eat a fried ball. So, I have made many attempts at a baked falafel and even falafel burgers, but had not hit on the “one” recipe that packed a full-of-flavor punch like a fried falafel ball does—until this.

These Unfried Falafel Burgers are great on their own topped with a little Tahini Sauce (see recipe below) atop a green salad, served alongside a chopped salad (like Taboulleh), or fixed up as a burger on a bun with lettuce, tomato, pickle slices and tahini sauce.

If you are going for more of that traditional falafel fix, you could always crumble these burgers up and serve them in a whole wheat pita with all of the fixins.

Healthy Girl's Fabulous Un-fried Falafel Burgers
Makes 8 medium sized burgers

print me!

2-3 large garlic cloves
Packed ½ cup fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley (just chop off the bottom part of the stems)
Packed ½ cup fresh cilantro (no need to remove the tender stems)
½ cup scallions, rough chopped
2 14.5 ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained-reserving at least 2 Tbsp of the liquid
1 cup rolled oats
2 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 ½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt (or not)
¼ tsp pepper
¼-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Place garlic, parsley, cilantro and scallions in the bowl of a food processor and process until mixture is finely chopped.

Add all other ingredients and process, scraping down sides as necessary, until all ingredients are blended, but do not over process into a paste. You want the mixture to have a bit of its texture left, but be able to stick together easily. If mixture is too dry, add the reserved liquid from the chickpeas, one tablespoon at a time. pulsing to incorporate the liquid.

Transfer the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Form into patties and reserve on a plate. Place a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes until pan is hot. Place patties in pan and let cook for 5 minutes. Flip patties and let them cook for another five minutes. Remove from pan. Patties should be nicely browned and crisp on each side but not burned.

Notes: Veggie burgers can be served immediately or refrigerated for up to a week. Simply reheat them in a pan, a toaster or a microwave before serving.

If you would like a more traditional shape for your falafel, simply roll out mix into 1 1/2" balls and dry fry the balls in the hot pan, rotating the balls every few minutes as they cook to get the crispy exterior around the entire outside of the balls.

Tahini Sauce

¼ cup tahini
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 Tbsp water
Dash of salt (optional)

Place all ingredients into a bowl and stir.

Serve with Fabulous Un-fried Falafel Burgers.

Are you a big fan of falafel? Have you found a replacement for fried falafel that works?
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