Cilantro Mint Falafel

Boy do I love me some Mediterranean cuisine! Today I set out to create some delicious falafel to be eaten with a greek salad. I have attempted falafel in the past, but it was before I had a better understanding of the role of certain ingredients in recipes — so it was kind of a mess. This time I set out to use an egg and home-ground oat flour as means for binding. I do think a flax egg would work just as well in order to make this recipe vegan! Typically, falafel is made with copious amounts of parsley… but, full disclosure — I am not really a fan of parsley. For this recipe I set out to use two of my favorite herbs; cilantro and mint. I wasn’t entirely sure how the two of them would mix together, but I just had a gut feeling it would work out (also I kept holding them together and smelling them at the same time). I used canned chickpeas, and I think one of the reasons this recipe was successful is because I let them drain and dry a bit in a colander before use (approximately 15 minutes).

This recipe is pretty low on the scale of labor intensity, and also low on required ingredients. I would also consider this recipe to be very inexpensive. Garbanzo beans and oats are very budget friendly items, and I didn’t use all of the purchased cilantro or mint, so both of those are getting double use this week. The rest of the things were all items from my pantry and spice cabinet.

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All of the ingredients whip up together in a food processor very quickly. I read a tip on the Minimalist Baker about chilling your falafel mixture before cooking and I think that made a big difference in the outcome. Once chilled, I scooped the mix into balls and shaped into little hockey pucks. I baked the falafel for approximately 22 minutes and when they were finished they A) smelled great and B) looked exactly as I hoped they would! The fiancé and I ate the falafel with a light greek salad. The salad and the falafel were both topped with an amazing homemade vegan “tzatziki” style sauce. (recipe in separate blog post). The falafel was better than I could’ve even hoped for. The texture was perfect, it held together well but was not chewy and the flavor… dang. All of the flavors mixed so perfectly together into the most crisp and refreshing greek salad I have ever made (and eaten, for that matter). This recipe is perfect if you’re feeling experimental but don’t want to spend a fortune on extravagant ingredients. Give it a try, and post a picture to instagram if you do (tag me! @theavocadobabyyy).

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Cilantro Mint Falafel (GF, V*)

Ingredients (Serves 2):

2 stems of mint
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1 can garbanzo beans
1/3 cup quick oats turned into oat flour (or ~1/4 cup oat flour)
1 egg (use flax egg for vegan option)*
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Drain can of garbanzo beans and let set in colander for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, pulse 1/3 cup of quick oats into an oat flour. Pour oat flour into bowl and set aside.
  3. Place garbanzo beans into food processor and pulse until chick peas are chopped.
  4. Add cilantro, mint, egg, olive oil, and spices and pulse to mix well, but do not puree.
  5. Add oat flour and pulse to mix in oat flour.
  6. Scoop mix into a bowl and chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes. (Check out the Vegan Tzatziki recipe while waiting!)
  7. Once chilled, scoop the mix into 6 balls and flatten each ball into a hockey puck shape.
  8. On a baking sheet with parchment paper, bake for 20-25 minutes; flip over at 15 minute mark.
  9. Serve with a Greek salad, in a pita, or however desired (3 per serving).

Simple Greek Salad (serving suggestion, not a formal recipe — I did not measure quantities):

Mix chopped tomato, chopped red onion, and chopped cucumber in a bowl with lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, sea salt, and pepper. Serve on a bed of spinach or other greens.

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