Falafel might be the best thing to happen to chickpeas. Besides hummus, of course. 😉 Falafel is a deep fried ball made of chickpeas. Sorry… that description doesn’t do them justice. Because they are really good! And they are also:
- super filling,
- packed with protein,
- customizable, and
- easy to make!
This week I was in a discussion with some people who had “tried out” being vegan for a week. One complaint I heard was that they were hungry. It took me back to when I first started eating vegan, and how I was starving all the time. One reason for this is that I didn’t know how to eat. (Think lots of oreos and spaghetti.)
Now that I have more time and recipes under my belt, that isn’t a problem. But it was a good reminder to watch what I was eating. And what I wasn’t. And I realized that I was eating a lot of bread and tomatoes. (Thanks, Summer). But I wasn’t eating enough legumes. (Beans)
So I decided to whip up this sandwich, which features the amazing chickpea, which is a bean.
Speaking of beans, beans have really gotten a bad rap. I mean, have you heard the rhyme:
Beans, Beans the magical fruit.
The more you eat, the more you toot
Or how about:
Beans, Beans, they’re good for your heart.
The more you eat, the more you…
You get the idea. Poor beans. Beans are awesome! They are cheap, can be used in a variety of ways, and they are packed with nutrients. #BeansAreSexy
Anyways… back to the falafels. Why am I calling them falafel(ish)? Because I figure that covers me when someone starts saying “This isn’t a falafel… THIS is a falafel!” But falafel still sounds better than fried bean ball.
To make these, I used a chickpea base that I also use to make chickpea salad sandwiches. I make a lot and then just use it different ways. I started with dried beans. You can buy the ones in a can, and I do for those times when I don’t think ahead. But I think the dried ones taste better.
I cook them up following the directions on the bag, and then throw them in my food processor. THIS IS KEY. I have made chickpea salads for a long time by crushing them with a fork, and they were just meh. Then I made them in the food processor and finally figured out what everyone was talking about. It’s a texture thing. With the chickpeas, you also process up garlic and some greens. I used spinach, because that is what I had on hand. I’ve also had them with parsley and with kale. Really any green works.
Once the chickpeas and greens are shredded, just add some veggies. I added onion and bell peppers. A it of lemon juice, and you are good to go!
That’s the base recipe. For falafels, I add flour. How much? Enough so I can form them into patties and they don’t stick to my hands. Then fry them up in some oil. (I used olive oil.)
And what do you eat with falafel? Well… some type of cool salad and yogurt. But I don’t have vegan yogurt, so I made this sandwich with roasted-garlic cilantro mayo and a salad of cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden. Delish! Maybe next time I’ll add some cucumber to the mayo. Hmmm… the possibilities.
Falafel(ish) Sandwich - Vegan
Chickpeas, spinach, and veggies are fried up and served with a cucumber tomato salad and roasted-garlic cilantro mayonnaise. Vegan. Plant based.
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 handful baby spinach
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp chopped onion
- 1/3 cup chopped bell peppers (I used red and orange)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup flour, or more as needed
- oil for frying
- 2 slices good bread
- chopped tomato
- chopped cucumber
Roasted Garlic Cilantro Mayonnaise
- 2 cloves roasted garlic
- 1 tbsp minced cilantro
- 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
Put chickpeas, spinach, and garlic in food processor and process until chopped fine.
Add onion, bell peppers, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Add flour as needed to form chickpea patties.
Heat oil in frying pan. When hot, add chickpea patties. Fry until golden brown and then flip. About 4 minutes on each side.
Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise
Combine vegan mayonnaise, roasted garlic, and cilantro.
Toast bread, spread Roasted Garlic Cilantro Mayonnaise, add falafel, tomato, and cucumber.