Week 1: Falafel
After much deliberation, what to make for my first blog post came down to choosing something I’d like to eat. And man, do I ever love falafel! For those who haven’t tried them, they’re delicious little chickpea balls seasoned with tasty herbs and spices. Often fried, here they are baked, making them a little healthier, less messy to cook, and less time consuming since you can bake them all at once rather than frying them in batches. Bonus: less chance that they’ll fall apart, which is what happened to me the last time I tried to make falafel at home. I picked a recipe from one of my favourite blogs, How Sweet Eats, that comes with a spicy feta dip because YUM! And since I don’t want to start off my blog with a copyright infringement, here’s the link to the recipe: https://www.howsweeteats.com/2014/02/baked-falafel-with-spicy-feta-yogurt-dip/
Ingredients: This recipe uses standard ingredients, mainly chickpeas with herbs and spices, plus a yogurt/feta dip. You may have to pick up smoked paprika if you don’t have it on hand (it’s different and way tastier than regular paprika). It was relatively affordable, with the most expensive ingredient being the feta cheese. One thing to note, the cans of chickpeas at my grocery store are 19 oz rather than 14 oz as stated in the recipe. I didn’t feel like weighing them and figuring out what to do with the leftovers, so I just threw them all in with a smidge of extra flour.
How did it go? Overall, pretty well! I had a bit of a hard time managing all the ingredients in the food processor… is there a range of food processor sizes or could it be the extra 10 oz of chickpeas I snuck in there… we’ll never know, but this mixture took up almost my entire food processor. I had to keep scraping the sides and trying to awkwardly get the top of the mixture onto the bottom with a spatula. I was able to wash the food processor and make the dip in the time that the falafels were baking so that was a nice use of time.
- Chopping: It took me long enough to pick all the herb leaves off the stems so instead of spending more time chopping them, I put the herbs, roughly chopped garlic, and sliced green onions in the food processor and pulsed to chop them before adding the other ingredients.
- Scooping: I used my cookie scoop to portion out the falafels, using two scoops (~2 tbsp) per falafel. This helped cut down on mess and made them all the same size so they baked evenly.
- Salt: Not sure if there is variation in the salt content of feta, but despite using a 200g piece of cheese (7 oz, so 1 oz less than the recipe stated), the dip was still quite salty. I would omit the salt from the dip completely next time. My gut told me to hold off on adding salt to a feta dip but my brain said the point of the project was to follow the recipes as written… moral of the story: trust your gut. You can always add more salt later.
Taste: YUM! These were really tasty, very flavourful, I really liked them. They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside so I have to say that I like the texture of the baked version. I found the dip to be a tad salty but that might be a preference and it is still very good – a great complement to the falafel that gives tzatziki a run for its money!
Timing: From start to finish, this took me 1 hour and 20 minutes (vs 30 mins as written in the recipe… maybe I’m a slowpoke but I thought that was reasonable).
Yield: I got 32 falafels and a very generous portion of feta dip (approx. 2 cups).
Serving: I served 3-4 of these topped with the dip and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes in half a pita with some lettuce as a perfect light lunch. You could enjoy these alongside a salad or soup for a more complete meal.
Luke’s review: “They’re really good. Good job. They’re not dry at all; I was worried they were gonna be dry. MMM! Lots of flavour. Tastes kind of cheesy… [that’s the feta cheese in the dip]… that would explain it. The dip’s very good. Mmm. Very flavourful. Good crunch from the lettuce, I’d recommend the lettuce for sure. Definitely bookmark this recipe.”
Luke’s rating: thumbs up.