Food processor turns falafel into easy weeknight dish
Falafel is one of those easy weeknight meals I rarely think to make, but when I do, I feel like a dolt for not doing it more often.
That’s because falafel — pan-fried patties made from chickpeas, onions and a mess of delicious seasonings — are healthy, speedy and versatile. They can be served any number of ways — as-is with a yogurt or sour cream dipping sauce; stuffed into a pita pocket with onions and tomatoes; even wedged into a grinder and topped with tahini.
They also adapt well to whatever flavors you prefer. Though I like the classic combination of cilantro and cumin, you could ditch those for Italian or Indian seasonings. Cooking method can vary, too. Tradition calls for deep-frying, but I never do that. I prefer to fry them in just a bit of oil in a skillet. You also could lose the frying entirely and bake them in the oven.
This recipe mixes things up just a bit, adding lightly chopped cashews for a creamy flavor and delicate crunch. It also adds a bit of smoked paprika for depth and just a dash of hot sauce.
Spicy Cashew Falafel
Note: Prefer to do these in the oven? Arrange the patties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. And if you’re not into spicy, feel free to leave out the hot sauce.
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
4 large plum tomatoes, finely chopped
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 medium red onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh parsley
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup cashews
1 to 2 tablespoons hot sauce, to taste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Zest of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, tahini and lemon juice until smooth. Mix in the scallions and tomatoes, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
To make the falafel, in a food processor combine the onion, garlic, cilantro and parsley. Pulse until the onion and herbs are finely chopped, but not pulverized. Add the chickpeas, cashews, hot sauce, 1 teaspoon of salt, the cumin, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and lemon zest. Pulse about 7 to 8 times, or until the chickpeas and cashews are finely chopped, but not ground.
Divide the mixture into 12 walnut-sized balls, then use your hands to form each into a tightly packed 2-inch patty.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium, heat the oil. Add the patties, working in batches if needed, and fry for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until browned and crisp. If working in batches, keep the finished falafel warm in a 200 degree oven. Serve the falafel with the yogurt-tahini sauce.
Per serving: 400 calories; 25 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 55 percent calories from fat); 34 g carbohydrates; 7 g sugar; 5 mg cholesterol; 1,080 mg sodium; 17 g protein; 8 g fiber.