Friday, January 31, 2014

Baked Red Lentil and Chickpea Falafels and Creativity

I admire those who create; Feydor Dostoyevsky created classics that are still relevant in their subject matter; activists come up with strategies that make the message clear, yet not off-putting; awesome students recruit smart people to get to write one's school papers - kidding! This would NEVER happen!

I could go on, but I won't. 
What YA doing here Fyodor? 
While riding on the T (metro/subway) after my class today, I was craving a falafel to the point of desperation. I did not want to bother with getting the fried ones (which are great!), since I am already planning on eating other fatty foods this weekend.

Here we are: being creative and coming up with red lentil and chickpea falafels. The idea behind using cooked red lentils was to add moisture to this dish. It worked very well. 

Post Scriptum - I just realized I am turning into a true Bostonian. I used the letter T (Bostonian way) instead of the word subway (New Yorker way) to describe the metro. I have been using the word subway ever since I moved to Boston in 2012. I got a lot of stares, and now I can put it all behind me. 

Cheers New York! Hello Boston! 

Baked Red Lentil and Chickpea Falafels
Baked Red Lentil and Chickpea Falafels (Makes 12 Falafels)

1 cup cooked red lentils (I cooked them in vegetable broth)
1 (15-oz can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small onion, roughly chopped
3-4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (regular paprika may be substituted)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper to taste - about 1/4 teaspoon (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt or less, depending on preference
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2-3 tablespoons chickpea flour (regular flour may be substituted, but it won't be gluten free)
1/2 cup sesame seeds

Topped with tahini and chopped tomatoes. Perfect snack! 
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Make the lentils first by cooking them in vegetable broth until creamy. I added about 1.5 cups of vegetable broth to 1 cup of dry red lentils, brought it to a boil, lowered the heat to low, and cooked them for about 15 minutes.

Now, let's process some chickpeas and such. In a food processor or a high speed blender, add the roughly chopped onion and garlic cloves, and pulse until relatively broken down, but not mushy. Add the chickpeas, and continue pulsing until smooth, and almost hummus like consistency, but not quite. If your pulsing is not going so well, add a splash of water (about 1/2 tablespoon or less), to move things along.

Done? Ok, moving along. In a large bowl, add the processed chickpea mixture, add the cooked red lentils along with parsley, turmeric, paprika, cumin, pepper, salt, baking powder, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix well and taste for seasonings, if you are into that kind of thing. Add the chickpea flour, gradually, and continue mixing until the falafel consistency is that of a "meatball." Not too dry, and not too wet.

Before mixing...
Place the sesame seeds on a plate, and start shaping the dough into small falafels. Once shaped, roll in sesame seeds - no need to cover the entire surface unless you want to. Place on an oiled baking pan, flatten with your fingers, but not all the way, and bake on each side for about 20 minutes.

A few things:

  • Whilst turning the falafel over, if it breaks on you, it may not be ready to face the other side. See what I did there? 
  • Do take the time to bake these puppies, 15 minutes on each side is not enough time in my opinion. 
  • Do not use a glass baking dish for these. Although glass baking dishes are great, they cause the food to steam rather than crisp up - this is my experience. 
  • Do not crowd the baking dish, give the falafel some space. We all need space! The falafels will steam if crowded. 

Too many Don'ts? Nah, you can handle it. Do enjoy these suckers and let me know how they turned out.

I like hearing from you.

Peace out!


Serve with pita, tahini, and sliced pickles or anything you fancy. Eat! 

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