Yum! Who doesn’t like a crispy, savory, spicy falafel for lunch in the middle of a full bustling day? At my school many people frequent local Mediterranean spots to indulge in these treats and they are a staple amongst the catering companies that work school related events (you know to appease the vegan/vegetarian crowd with something lol). But now we don’t have to wait for caterers or shell out $4-$6 dollars for a falafel plate etc. when we get the urge for a fix of these lovelies! And what I like best of all about this comfort food is that they are traditionally vegan and packed with nutrition!
So just a side note, the North African style falafel can be more fluffy, in comparison to the Middle Eastern kind of “gritty” texture. So for those used to eating at Mediterranean spots, I just wanted to give you a head up lol!
1 cup dried, frozen or canned fava (broad) beans (use what you have availavle)
¾ cup dried chickpeas (or frozen, so you don’t have to soak them)
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley
½ cup coriander
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Pinch chilli powder (or more if you like it spicy)
3 tbsp water
Oil for frying (which is traditional), ideally with coconut oil which has a higher smoke point, use enough to fill your pan to 2 inches deep ORyou may bake the falafels
Soak the beans in water overnight OR thaw out frozen beans
Blend all the ingredients except the oil together in a food processor, making a gritty-looking light green paste.
-Frying method: Heat your oil to 350F and then Spoon rounded teaspoons of the mixture into the oil & fry for 2 minutes on each side.
-Baking method: Heat oven to 350F, place teaspoon sized dollops of falafel mix on a lightly oiled baking sheet/dish and then let bake for 15-25mins until golden brown. At this point you can flip the falafels over and bake for an extra 5mins if they are not brown enough (just don’t exceed 25mins or they will dry out).
Next drain falafes on kitchen paper & serve with tahini sauce, vegetable sides & salad.
Tahini sauce Recipe
½ cup tahini
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup vegan yogurt or chopped zucchini (optional)
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp water
Blend all ingredients together with a food processor or high speed blender to a smooth paste. Thin with water to desired consistency (the mixture should be smooth and creamy enough to spread, but I have seen both thin and thick versions).
OMG! We got some heavy-hitter health ingredients in this recipe but our stars today that I gotta speak on are the chickpeas and tahini (sesame butter)!!!! Did you know that 1 cup of chickpeas contains 12.5g of fiber! That’s is 50% of the recommended daily value which is 25g! Also the fiber in chickpeas is insoluble (meaning this fiber is not digested until it reaches your colon) so it sweeps through your digestive tract cleaning out toxins and moving waste to be released (so it keeps you regular). This fiber once in your colon is broken down by bacteria into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and these SCFAs feed the cells that make up your colon (colonocytes) so that they can function properly, and this decreases our chances for developing digestive disorders, immune system, and mental problems and colon cancer (yes a healthy colon can help with all of that). Chickpeas also contain wide array of antioxidants including vitamins A, and E, healthy fats like omega-3 and polyunsaturated fats, and ALA (alpha-lipoic-acid). All of this in combination with the fiber content in chickpeas make it helpful in regulating blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, it can help with weight-loss (it keeps you full between meals) etc. Tahini, which is just sesame seed paste, is an amazing food! It contains high amounts of minerals needed by the body daily like zinc, copper, calcium, and manganese. Sesame seeds also contain high amounts of fiber, and antioxidants in the form of plant phytosterols, which in combination make sesame seed consumption helpful in preventing cardiovascular disorders, rheumatoid arthritis flares, migraines, PMS and osteoporosis (to name a few)!
So, yes! This meal is all the way on point when it comes to healthfulness and taste! I mean who says that being vegan and health conscious means you have to give up our beloved Afrikan dishes? Who says that we have to eat “rabbit food”? In Afivi’s world that is what we call ridiculous-ness!!! Let’s Eat, and be well for real!!!
Dr. Afivi Adiro is a Naturopathic physician specializing in diet, nutrition and botanical medicine. With diet being especially foundational to Dr. Adiro, she believes if the diet is not in order and supportive to the body then most other therapies that are tried will not work towards healing.