Falafel. Falafel.Falafel… I said this so many times in my head today it doesn’t even seem like a real word anymore! Weird when that happens! It’s really a funny word isn’t it.. faaalaaafeeellll.So, what IS a falafel?
According to wikipedia.. the source of all reliable answers … a falafel is a Middle Eastern dish of spiced mashed chickpeas or other pulses formed into balls and deep-fried.Aaaah.. that’s why we all love falafel so much, tasty little chickpeas, mashed, then deep-fried.
I can’t even tell you how many times in my ol’ bar-star days my friends and I would stumble into the middle eastern restaurant nearby, always open late, and order up huge falafel pitas. Thankfully those days are over, and my falafel cravings are no longer booze induced!!
There’s just something about them, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, garlicky, warm, and filling!
When I decided I wanted to make falafel, I knew I had to alter them a bit to make them fit the healthy bill.
First of all, no frying.. boooo, I know. But really, it’s not much of a newsflash, nothing deep-fried is healthy. So, baking it would be!
Then, I tried to think how I could sneak something super healthy into the falafel to amp up the nutrition even more…. I perused through my fridge, and there it was, the bag of kale I had just about ready to kick the can. Perfect!
I hate wasting, so if you have any spinach, kale, or other greens that need to be used up quickly… just throw them into this falafel recipe!
The combination of chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon, and spices really create a flavor overload!
Although kale tends to have a pretty strong taste, the other flavors are strong enough to hold up so these little falafel have only a slight taste of kale to them, which I think is nice!
Nutritionally speaking, this recipe is awesome!
We’ve got fiber and protein from the chickpeas, more protein and healthy fats from the tahini, antioxidants from the lemon and garlic, and tons of vitamins from the kale.
Oh, and making the falafel… a total breeze!
Pretty much whiz everything up in your food processor, a little ‘scoop, scoop’ and ‘pat, pat’ … bake, and you’ve got yourself some crispy, yet squishy, patties-of-yum!
The hardest part is waiting the 30 minutes for these little guys to cook up!
It’s really up to you how you decide to eat these. On their own they are delicious, they would also taste great with a healthy sauce like hummus, tatziki, tapenade, or even salsa!
Enjoy them on a salad, in a wrap or pita, stick em’ in a sandwich, or dip them in soup (ok… that one’s a little weird, but I bet you with the right soup it would taste good!).
I deemed 3 of these to make a “serving”… but you could totally get away with 4 or even 5. The calories are quite low for being as filling and nutrient dense as these are. 3 falafel brings in less than 190 calories and only 8g of fat, with a whopping 10g of protein, and 6g of fiber!