Falafel are easy to make, delicious to eat and you really can put any type of special "spin" on the recipe. Here, traditional the falafel are made with chickpeas, almond meal, and spinach and encrusted with nutty, crunchy sesame seeds. Each falafel is bursting with color, protein, and flavor. Paired with the tahini yogurt sauce and simple cucumber and tomato salad, this is a dish that will satisfy all tastes and cravings. And, bonus — the falafel dough freezes really well, so they are perfect for a quick mid-week meal or served as finger food at parties.
SESAME ENCRUSTED SPINACH AND ALMOND FALAFEL [VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE]
FOR THE FALAFEL:
3 cups canned chickpeas
3 cups baby spinach
1/2 a medium-sized brown onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 cups almond meal
3 tablespoons chickpea flour
A good pinch of sea salt
A pinch of ground black pepper
4 tablespoons white sesame seeds (used to coat the outside the falafels before cooking)
1 medium-sized Lebanese cucumber, diced into small cubes
7 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 a medium-sized red onion, finely chopped
TO MAKE THE FALAFEL:
Place the chickpeas, spinach, onion, garlic, cumin, parsley, coriander, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper into a food processor and pulse until the mixture is a smooth and well combined.
Now place the mixture into a large mixing bowl and add the besan flour and almond meal. Combine all ingredients well. Your mixture should not be too moist and when you form the ball of the dough into a falafel it should not be too sticky. If it is too sticky, gradually add more flour, teaspoon by teaspoon, until you get a nice moist but not too gluey consistency.
To make the falafel, take walnut-sized lumps of the falafel dough and form them into balls. On a small plate, sprinkle generously with white sesame seeds and roll each falafel in the seeds before cooking.
In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium to high heat and place six falafel at a time and fry until they are nicely golden brown and crisp on the outside. Drain on paper towels.
TO MAKE THE TAHINI YOGURT SAUCE:
In a small bowl combine well all of the ingredients to form a smooth, creamy sauce for your falafel.
TO MAKE THE CUCUMBER TOMATO SALAD:
In a medium sized bowl add all ingredients and combine well. Serve under your falafel.