It’s been a lot harder keeping up with this blog this term. For one thing, I have two free weekends; one was early in the term (Easter) and I went home then. My next will be this coming weekend, which I will spend attending events for the installation of our new college president, when I am not working on my homework. Because of this, I haven’t made any new food in a looooong time.
One night during spring break, I made falafel for dinner. This wasn’t the first time I made falafel, and it certainly won’t be the last. I have a long relationship with falafel, although I don’t actually know when I first had it…
For those who have never had falafel, here’s a brief description: mashed up chickpeas mixed with spices, formed into balls or patties which are then baked or fried. It’s spicy and hot and full of protein—definitely a great option for vegetarians like myself. Plus you get to stuff it in pitas with tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber) sauce, and hummus if you want, so basically it’s one of my favorite things ever.
Now it’s time for me to admit a sad fact: this falafel recipe is not amazing. The falafel balls got super dry and, while they still had a nice taste, would have been hard to eat without the cucumber sauce. Maybe falafel is just better when it’s fried (isn’t everything?). Maybe the recipe just makes dry falafel. Who knows. A lot of the reviews (which I didn’t read beforehand) say that the recipe is dry and offer ideas on how to fix this, so if any of you guys plan to make this recipe, I’d recommend taking a look at the reviews.
Besides the fact that I am swiftly running out of food to write about, I have another reason to write about falafel—tomorrow is Falafel Friday. My cafeteria is notorious for producing absolutely repulsive food…and it’s even worse if you’re vegetarian (the cafeteria director doesn’t understand that steamed cabbage is not a vegetarian entrée), so my friends and I were very hesitant last year when we went for our first Falafel Friday.
I am happy to say that my school’s falafel is literally the best I have ever had. I know. Crazy. To think, a cafeteria that somehow manages to mess up baked potatoes makes supremely delicious falafel from scratch. Now my friends and I actually count down the days to Falafel Friday…it’s every two weeks (if that) so the wait is usually kind of long.
But anyways. Falafel=delicious. I will keep experimenting and someday find a recipe that compares with the cafeteria falafel.
…I can’t believe I just said that…
1 15 oz can chickpeas
¼ cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp salt
¼ cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup parsley leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425°. Throw all ingredients except 1 T olive oil in a food processor. Process until mixture is coarse and grainy.
- Form into 16 balls. Brush with remaining olive oil and bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for another 20 minutes. (One reviewer suggests adding both tablespoons of olive oil to the falafel, spraying the pan with oil, and then only baking the balls for 10 minutes on each side.)
But really, I don’t think falafel is complete without tzatziki sauce…
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp dried dill weed
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Combine ingredients. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving. This is always super hard for me because I could probably eat ALL of the sauce, with a spoon, in one go. It’s practically a dish in its own right–not just a sauce.
There you have it! Falafel and tzatziki, in one convenient location. I don’t have a variety of pictures (and none with the sauce!) since I was kind of disappointed in my dry falafel. But I figure this is a learning process, and if I ever find a better recipe, I’ll share that one too. If any of you guys try this recipe, please let me know how it turns out and whether you made changes! I’d love to hear from you 🙂