This weekend, I felt like trying out a new recipe and I picked the Oh She Glows cookbook, which my dear roommate Verena graciously gifted me last Christmas. I had an enthusiastic taste-testing volunteer who happens to also be one of my favourite vegans, so I was feeling extra motivated to make something slightly more elaborate than my usual fare.
I settled on this recipe for baked chickpea fritters (or “oil-free falafel bites” per Oh She Glows), and I share it with one message. Dearest fellow people of pallor: we need to stop ruining food that never did us any harm.
Falafel was, I believe, intended to be deep-fried into a warm morsel of crispy deliciousness—let’s leave it out of our quest to achieve WASP-y moral purity through “clean eating” and voluntary gustatory self-deprivation. What I made is not falafel, wouldn’t even be recognized by falafel as a distant cousin. It was bordering on flavourless. Maayan said it best, “I watched you put so many tasty things into the food processor… where did all the flavour go??”
The one saving grace to this meal was the lemon-tahini dressing. Do not cut corners and skimp on the dressing!!!! I swear it is worth it. It’s the best thing I’ve made in a long time. I will make this dish again (because I think it has potential), likely frying the patties and adding some cayenne pepper and more salt to them; the recipe below includes the ingredient modifications (but not the frying part.)
Chickpea fritters: (makes 20)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup red onion
1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1 large can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or the equivalent if pressure cooking
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup + 6 tbsp bread crumbs (I used panko bread crumbs, which made the fritters extra crunchy and interesting)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, chop garlic, then add onion, cilantro and mint; process until minced. Finally add the chickpeas; process until mixture forms a coarse dough.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the flaxseed, 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, cumin and salt.
Shape the mixture into small patties (using ~1 tbsp for each) pressing firmly so they hold their shape. If the mixture is too wet, you may want to add more bread crumbs.
Roll the fritters in the remaining bread crumbs (6 tbsp). Press down on each side so that the bread crumbs stick. You can leave some of the patties un-rolled in breadcrumbs, which will give quite a different texture, and decide which you like better!
Place fritters onto baking sheet lined w/ parchment paper. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through the baking time.
While the fritters are baking, you can make a really simple tomato-cucumber garnish (ingredients: diced tomatoes and cucumber, red onions, mint, lime juice and salt). Protip: if it tastes bland, you probably haven’t added enough salt!
1 large clove garlic
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1.5 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp sea salt
In a food processor, pulse the garlic to mince it. Add remaining ingredients & process until smooth. The dressing may thicken when chilled; you can thin it out with a bit of water or olive oil.