Take homemade falafel to the next level with tahini, coriander and a sesame crust.
Homemade is best
Jon and I definitely have a falafel “problem”. We eat tonnes of the stuff. When our local store stopped selling cheap, giant bags of frozen falafel a year or so ago I finally decided it was about time I made my own.
Making your own falafel means you can control what goes in (no nasty additives thank you) and can make them healthier (you won’t see a deep fat fryer used in this recipe). But best of all, making them yourself is also a lot cheaper.
When you think about what goes in to falafel – chickepeas, spices, herbs, a bit of onion – its a little confusing as to why they are so horrendously expensive in the supermarket. My recipe will cost you half of what it would to buy the same amount of falafel from a certain well known vegetarian brand.
If you have a herb garden like we do, you’ll find this recipe is even cheaper if you grab a bunch of parsley and coriander from out of your garden!
The possibilities are endless
You might be wondering how just one couple can get through so much falafel – you’re probably thinking our meals must be incredibly boring but I promise, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The possibilities are endless!
We enjoy falafel for lunch in pittas or wraps stuffed with grated carrot, spinach and hummus, we eat them as part of meze and we eat them with roasted veggies and cous cous. But my favourite way to eat them has to be on a bed of salads, with pickled veggies (chillies and red cabbage are my favourite), drizzled with hot sauce and tahini.
There are also lots of different varieties of falafel. Chickpea falafel (like the ones I’m sharing with you today) are most common but sometimes they are also made with broad beans (aka fava beans). The herbs and spices used also differ between recipes.
I’ve put my own spin on things by adding tahini to help bind the rest of the ingredients together, I’ve then rolled them in sesame seeds to give extra crunch. With the crisp exterior of the sesame crust you might just forget they haven’t been fried!
Canned or dried chickpeas?
Now as much as I love falafel, you’ll be pleased to hear I’m not a purist. There are some people who say you just can’t make good falafel with canned chickpeas – instead you should buy dried beans and soak them overnight before grinding them down. Sure, if you have the time then go ahead. It will also make this recipe even cheaper. But, I just don’t have the time and my falafel taste AWESOME despite using canned chickpeas.
Why not make them both ways and see if you think it makes a difference? I bet you’ll pick the easier option the next time you make them because canned chickpeas are just as good.
You’ll need store cupboards staples and fresh herbs to make these tasty falafel.
Sesame Crusted Baked Falafel
These Sesame Crusted Baked Falafel are healthier and cheaper than their store bought cousins. Did I mention they taste better too?!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large white onion finely diced
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tsp garlic crushed
- 400 gram can of chickpeas
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1 handful parsley fresh, finely chopped
- 1 handful coriander fresh, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 4 tbsp sesame seeds
Pre-heat the oven to 180C or gas mark 4.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small pan.
Sweat the onion and salt over a medium heat for 8 minutes until softened.
Add the garlic and fry for a further two minutes and remove from the heat.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas and pour into a mixing bowl.
Add the onion and garlic and crush together with a potato masher until the mixture is broken down.
Add the herbs and spices to the mix and stir until combined.
Add the tahini, one tbsp at a time until the mixture starts to come together like a dough.
Roll the mix into 12 balls.
Roll each ball into the sesame seeds, flattening them slightly in the process.
Use the remaining olive oil to grease a baking sheet, place the falafel onto the baking sheet and cook in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes or until the falafel are golden brown.
Serve warm or cold.
In the mood for a meze feast? Why not serve these falafel with some of my other Middle Eastern inspired recipes.