Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Low-Fat, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Falafel

I love falafel but have never made them from scratch until now.  I always thought you had to use dried chickpeas or fava beans and grind them and it all just seemed to intimidating and time-consuming.  Then I saw Dreena Burton's recipe which uses canned beans and pan fries instead of deep fries them.  She dredges them with flour (I used chickpea flour) to get the exterior crispy.  I  loved this idea and knew I had to try making them myself. 

Of course, as I always do, I adapted the recipe.  Among other things, I use zucchini instead of celery, and use a bit of konjac flour, instead of oats, to hold them together.  I hate hiding grains in food in a way that you can't appreciate them!  Kind of like I'd rather get my fats from nuts, nut butters and avocado, rather than oils hidden in dishes in such a way that you don't even know they are there.  I am experimenting with konjac flour (glucommanen) more and more these days as a binder and thickener ingredient. It is so amazing!  These are probably not as sturdy as Dreena's because of this substitution, but they hold together pretty well anyways. 

I made HUGE ones that are burger-sized so that I can take one to work and throw it on a flat bun with a smear of tahini sauce and call it a day.  Much less messy than stuffing into a pita, and flat buns are less likely to break and smush in my bag.  You can make them as large or small as you want.  Freeze extras with wax paper between each of them.  Defrost in the fridge or microwave, and then reheat on the stove top.  Yummy!!!

Low-Fat, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Falafel

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small onion, cut into chunks
1 small zuchini, cut into chunks
Large handful fresh cilantro
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1.5-2 tsp salt
2 tbls fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbls cider vinegar
Chili flakes, to taste
2 tsp konjac flour
1/3-1/2 cup chickpea flour

Place all the ingredients in the food processor and process until dough comes together.  Form into balls of desired size and then roll in chickpea flour.  Place on hot fry pan or griddle (medium heat), coated with non-stick spray or spritzed with oil, and flatten out.  Cook about 6-7 minutes on each side until browned.  Serve with tahini sauce (recipe below) and whole grain pita or flat buns.  Makes 8 burger-sized patties, 16 medium, or 24 smaller falafels.

Tahini Sauce

1/4 cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Whisk ingredients together until smooth and thickened.  Keep in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

This recipe has been added to Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten-Free Friday and Diet, Dessert & Dogs Wellness Weekend for the week.