I finally worked up the courage to give the falafel request I received a second try. I found a new blog I like and the author posted a baked falafel pita recipe that was adapted from Ellie Krieger’s Baked Felafel Sandwiches. (I’ve never seen “falafel” spelled “felafel,” but Merriam-Webster tells me it’s a legitimate variation.) I ended up combining the two and adding an Everyday Food sauce with pretty good results.
Here are the ingredients:
For the falafel:
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cilantro leaves (tightly packed)
1/4 cup parsley leaves (tightly packed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Plain, dried breadcrumbs for forming balls (optional)
For the salad:
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
2 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)
4 whole-wheat pita pocket breads
Tzatziki (click for recipe)
First, I combined all of the falafel ingredients except 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the breadcrumbs in the bowl of my food processor. (I used the small bowl, but I probably should have chosen the medium one.) I processed the mixture for 10 seconds, stopped the motor, scraped down the sides of the bowl, and processed for 10 more seconds. The ingredients should be well incorporated but the mixture should still be slightly coarse; go through 1 or 2 more processing cycles to achieve this consistency, if necessary.
I divided the mixture by level tablespoons and formed each tablespoonful into a ball. (I should have had 16 falafel balls, but I only ended up with 14. Next time, I’ll do a scant tablespoon instead of a level one.) Taking a tip from Vicarious Foodie, I lightly rolled the falafel balls in plain dried breadcrumbs to help hold them together during baking and placed them on a unlined baking sheet.
I brushed the falafel balls with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and placed them in a 425F oven. I baked the falafel in 4 stages. After 10 minutes, I rotated my baking sheet front to back. After 20 minutes, I used a spatula to flip the balls. After 30 minutes, I rotated my baking sheet front to back again. After 40 minutes, I removed the falafel from the oven.
I served the falafel in pita pockets with the chopped romaine, tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce.
This attempt went much better than my last one. Since I baked the falafel and substituted tzatziki for the tahini sauce, these sandwiches are actually incredibly light too. I was pleased with the taste, but I still don’t think I’ve achieved completely authentic, restaurant-quality falafel. I’m going to have to fry the falafel to get there, I’m afraid. I guess it’s time to pick up a splatter screen during my next Sur La Table trip…
TIPS: Make sure you use a spatula to flip the falafel on the baking sheet. I initially tried to use tongs and I just ended up smashing the falafel.