I LOVE falafels. There’s a little stand near the house I grew up called “Falafel Drive-In” – and they make the best falafels I’ve ever had! But – I tend to not eat them often, because they’re not very healthy: falafel’s are DEEP FRIED chickpea patties with a calorie-packed sauce, served in a white pita (so no whole grains). Not much nutritional value there! So I was SUPER excited when I found this recipe from HungryGirl for a healthy, baked falafel! And guess what – it tasted great! The recipe (with my modifications) are below – hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Ingredients – Falafel Pockets
- Whole-wheat or high-fiber pitas
- One 15-oz. can chickpeas, well drained
- 1 onion, very finely chopped (I used red onion because I like the color/flavor better)
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 tbsp. chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 tbsp. ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp. paprika, or more to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- Two 2-second sprays olive oil nonstick spray
- Baby spinach
- Diced tomatoes
Ingredients – Sauce
Note: The hungrygirl site has a good recipe for the sauce (made with yogurt). I found that you can create a great sauce from pre-made hummus – super simple, low calorie and tasted great! I only have 2 ingredients for the sauce: 1) Pre-made hummus – I LOVE Trader Joe’s hummus dip and 2) water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place all ingredients for falafel (except for the pitas, baking powder, and nonstick spray) in a food processor, and give them a good chop. Transfer into a bowl, add the baking powder and stir together. Using a potato masher, mash any big chunks that remain – Mixture should remain slightly chunky, not smooth.
- Spray a baking sheet thoroughly with a 2-second spray of olive oil nonstick spray.
- One at a time, take spoonfuls of mixture in your hands and form 15 balls, each about the size of a ping pong ball, and gently place them on the baking sheet. Spray the top of each ball with olive oil nonstick spray, for a total of about a 2-second spray.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 2 parts hummus to 1 part water, and stir until blended (add more water to taste depending on how watery you like your sauce). Season to taste with salt / black pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Remove baking sheet from the oven, and carefully turn each ball over, gently reshaping if the bottoms have flattened. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes, until golden brown and slightly crispy. Allow to cool and set for at least 5 minutes.
- Cut the whole pitas into halves, toast or warm all pita halves slightly, fill with spinach, 3 falafel balls, diced tomato, and top with spinach and sauce. Enjoy!
- Serving size: 1 pita half with 3 falafel balls and 1-3 tbsp dip
- Calories: 200
- Fat: 2.25g
- Fiber: 8.5g
- Protein: 10g