Baked Falafels with Tahini Sauce

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Baked falafels yield a much different result than traditionally fried falafels. They are not crispy on the outside, but instead are soft all the way through. They are perfect to top a salad with or to make a wrap (radicchio is my favorite). Pour a general serving of tahini over both, and it'll bring a smile to your face, I promise. Most importantly, they're easy to execute and quick to make.

This recipe is adapted from the Faring Well blog, which a place I often draw inspiration from. 

Now, onto the falafels!

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  • 1 cup chickpeas, dry or 2 cans

  • 1" kombu, if using dry chickpeas
  • 2 packed cups of greens*
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika, optional
  • 1/2 tsp za'atar, optional
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds, optional

*I found a combination of any of the following works well: dandelion greens, cilantro, parsley, arugula

Lemon-Tahini Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced, more to taste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Splash of water
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How To Make the Falafels:

  1. Soak the chickpeas for 12-24 hours; drain and rinse well. To cook, place chickpeas in a large pot and cover with plenty of water and bring to a boil. Toss in a 1" piece of kombu and a 1 tsp of sea salt. Once the water comes to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 45 minutes or until the beans become tender and soft. Drain and set to the side to cool (reserve the broth for another use, if you like).
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F and roughly chop the greens, garlic, and juice the lemon in a small bowl.
  3. Once the chickpeas are cooled, place in a food processor along with all other ingredients. Pulse. Every 30-60 seconds you'll need to scrape down the sides of the mixture. You may need to add a splash more olive oil. Continue with this process until the mixture becomes more like a dough and everything is thoroughly combined. Taste - It should be a bit lemony and herbaceous. Make any adjustments you'd like (more salt, more lemon, etc.).
  4. Scoop the dough with a 2 tbsp scoop (with a release) or a spoon. If using a spoon, take the dough into your palms and gently roll it into a ball. Place each falafel on a parchment lined baking sheet. Depending on the size of each falafel, you should yield between 15-20 individual balls. If you want more of a disc shape, then gentle press down on them with the back of a spoon. 
  5. Place in the oven for 25 minutes. Check halfway though and flip. Once done, set to the side and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Serving ideas: Top any salad with the falafels and use the tahini has a dressing. Wrap in radicchio, add in cucumber, herbs, a red cabbage slaw, and pour the tahini in! Dip into a homemade hummus. I love adding something spicy like chopped jalapeño or harissa paste. 

How To Make the Lemon Tahini Dressing:

  1. Using a blender: Add all ingredients and blend for 30 seconds. If the mixture is too thick, add water in 1 tsp at a time. The result will be a smooth and creamy sauce. Taste and make any adjustments (more lemon or salt typically).
  2. Using a bowl and fork: Mince the garlic and add it to a bowl. Squeeze half the lemon, add the olive oil, salt, 2 tsp of water, and tahini. Whisk with a fork until it's mixed thoroughly. At first it will look a bit odd, but keep mixing it. The sauce will turn into a creamy tan color. Taste and make any desired adjustments. 
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Photographs were taken by Mohammad Gorjestani at the Oz Farm in Point Arena, California. I had the lovely opportunity to cook for a yoga retreat taught by Valerie Starr and Rebecca Hersh.