I had a last-minute visitor stop by the other night so I needed to whip up an easy, delicious and most importantly ‘Vegan Rhapsody’ worthy dinner 😉. Soup is typically my go-to meal on a weeknight when time is limited but I decided to switch things up and go with deep-fried balls…..the falafel variety of course, lol. My penchant for falafel is largely in part because it is the ONE meal I can count on finding when we’re out and about – be it a shopping mall food court, fast food shop, country fair or food truck festival. Also, who can deny the appeal of chickpeas? Their hearty flavour, creamy texture and versatility (cooked, roasted, whole or mashed) makes them an ingredient of choice in my books. And so my ‘love affair’ with culinary balls (lol) continued in our Vegan Rhapsody kitchen…
Like most of you I’ve probably made falafel about a dozen or so different ways. For my base, I’ve tried using cooked chickpeas, dried (but soaked) chickpeas, the canned variety and chickpea flour (and variations therein). When it comes to garlic I’ve used fresh minced garlic, garlic powder and sometimes even no garlic at all. To achieve a crunchy texture I’ve also experimented with using an outside coating with breadcrumbs (even Panko) and dry parsley. As for method I’ve tried frying in a skillet (with everything from grapeseed to avocado oil) and baking only for a no oil approach. I admit there have been times when my attempt at making these golden, crispy balls of garbanzo goodness outright failed….in an epic way. In fact, there’s even been a handful of occasions when my prepared falafel mixture completely disintegrated (not only fell apart) in the skillet resulting in what I have come to call ‘fava mush’😞 . In all, I would have to say the road to finding that just-right recipe for falafel has been one of taking the roadless travelled 😎.
Since I’ve had the most success making falafel with chickpea flour I decided to craft this recipe using garbanzo flour as my base. The addition of hemp seeds adds a powerhouse of nutrition (after all it is deemed one of nature’s Super Foods) while the mix of cumin, cardamom and dry parsley adds a herbal character with subtle notes of warm spice and citrus. This recipe calls for finely chopped carrot (and onion of course) – I found this balances the warm spice nicely. I decided to try something entirely new by turning the idea of a coating on its head 🙃. I assembled what I call a “Panko Crumble” mixture ( panko, cumin, dry parsley and Himalayan pink salt) but instead of coating the falafel balls in this mixture prior to frying I actually folded the crumble into the falafel mixture (gently). This really helped the balls to hold their shape and avoid the dreaded ‘fava mush’ outcome. It also added a lovely crunch to the falafel.
Since Janik happened to make two fresh baguettes the other day I decided to switch things up and create a sub-style sandwich instead of wrapping the balls in pita bread. Now that this was a sub-style sandwich I needed (of course) the perfect creamy garlic sauce – enter tahini. Tahini, if you haven’t tried it, is a sesame seed butter with a mild, nutty flavour. On its own it’s pretty ordinary (and slightly bitter) but when paired with garlic, lemon and herbs its elevated to a dreamy garlic sauce. Move over Meatball sub and B.L.T sub, there’s a new guy in town.
This Falafel Sub with Tahini Spread is sure to become a family favourite for weeknight dinners. If you’re looking for other tasty ball recipes try our Italian Wedding Soup with TVP Meatballs or our Crispy Rösti Balls.
- 1/Prepare one batch of Panko Crumble (see Recipe Notes)
- 2/Make one batch of Tahini Spread (see Recipe Notes below)
- 3/Prepare one batch of Rustic Baguette or use store-bought baguette
- 1/2 medium onion, halved (35g)
- 4 small garlic cloves, peeled (10g)
- Handful fresh cilantro (10g)
- Handful fresh parsley (5g)
- 1/2 carrot, coarsely chopped (65g)
- 2 cups (200g) + 1/8 cup(13g) chickpea flour
- 1 Tbsp hemp seeds (5g)
- 1.5 tsp ground cumin (<5g)
- 1/4 tsp (heaping) cardamom (<5g)
- 1/4 tsp dry parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (5g)
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (5g)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- Olive oil (for pan frying)
- Sliced baguette (sub-style)
- Tahini sauce (recipe below)
- Sub toppings (e.g. fresh parsley, red onions & cucumbers)
- 1/Add onion, garlic, fresh cilantro and fresh parsley to your Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 7 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
- 2/Add half a carrot to the TM bowl. Chop 7 sec/Speed 7. One again scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to collect the minced onion-garlic-herb-carrot mixture at the base of the bowl.
- 3/Add 2 cups chickpea flour, hemp seeds, ground cumin, cardamon, dry parsley, baking soda and salt to the TM bowl.Blend 15 sec/Speed 4.
- 4/Add warm water to the TM bowl. Blend 10 sec/Speed 4. Transfer falafel mixture from the Thermomix mixing bowl to large mixing bowl.
- 5/Add reserved (1/8 cup) chickpea flour and batch of Panko Crumble to the mixing bowl. Stir gently to combine.
- 6/Form mixture into balls. Chill in the refrigerator for 10-15 mins to help the mixture set.
- 7/Pan fry prepared falafel balls in a pre-heated skillet on medium-high heat until golden and crispy (Note: I strongly recommend using olive oil for best results) Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to soak up excess oil.
- 8/Assemble sub-style sandwich using fried falafel balls as your base. Spread tahini sauce on each baguette. Top falafel balls with desired toppings, such as cucumbers, red onion and fresh parsley.
- 1 garlic clove, peeled (5g)
- Handful fresh parsley (5g)
- 3 Tbsp sesame tahini (55g)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice (15g)
- 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil or similar (15g)
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt (<5g)
- 2 Tbsp lukewarm water (not hot) (25g)
- 1/Add garlic and fresh parsley to your Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatuala, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
Note: Insert the butterfly whisk attachment to the Thermomix mixing blade before starting this recipe.
- 2/Add sesame tahini, lemon juice, grapeseed oil and salt to the TM bowl. Whisk 20 sec/Speed 3.
- 3/Add lukewarm water to the TM bowl. Whisk 20 sec/Speed 3. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Whisk 20 sec/Speed 3. Taste and adjust if required (for example, if you prefer a less creamy sauce add another Tbsp water and/or more lemon juice and/or salt to make it your own!)
*To prepare Panko Crumble combine 1/2 cup Panko, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp dry parsley and 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt in a small mixing bowl.
* “Nuts to You Nut Butter Inc.” Organic Fair Trade Sesame Tahini
Note: This recipe was made using a Thermomix appliance, however it can easily be adapted using similar food prep tools (e.g. mutli-function processor, immersion blender etc).