10/06/2014

roasted carrot falafel

Yum

By now, this vegan baked falafel recipe has become nearly a weekly staple in our household. It's easy enough to work for a weeknight, with a tiny bit of advance planning, and works great in salads, over rice or in sandwiches. Also great for next-day lunches and freezing for other nights when we need to get dinner together in a pinch.


Not that it needs any improving as is, but I was thinking about what we usually add to our falafel dinners and was wondering how I could incorporate some of those added flavors directly into the falafel balls themselves. My first thought was: what about carrots? I couldn't think of one good reason not to roast some carrots and add them in directly, and the result turned out to be even better than I thought. Slightly sweetened by the roasty flavor and the carrots themselves, this version might become a new dinnertime favorite.


For this recipe, you'll need:

1 cup dry chickpeas, rinsed and soaked for at least 2 hours
1 small shallot, chopped
1 cup carrots, roasted for about 1 hour or until tender
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & pepper

So a decent amount of time before you want to get your falafel going, put your chickpeas into a pot or bowl and cover with water. It's best to give them about 2 hours to soak (even longer works, too), but 1 hour will work if you're pressed for time. Don't substitute canned chickpeas here, as this will result in a soggy, non-falafel mess. If I plan on making these for dinner, I'll start soaking my chickpeas first thing in the morning, or even the night before.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. In a small roasting pan, add your carrots with a generous drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. I wrapped my carrots in foil to avoid burning and let them roast away for an hour or until completely softened.

Once your carrots have come out of the oven, turn down the oven heat to 375 degrees. Drain and rise your chickpeas. Transfer to a food processor along with your onion, garlic and carrots. Pulse until well blended. And 2 tablespoons of olive oil and your spices and continue to pulse for another thirty seconds.


Take a large cast iron skillet and generously coat with another 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Using a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop, scoop out about 2 tablespoons worth of your mixture and form into tight balls. This part is a little messy (but fun!) and a little tricky (but fun!) to keep together, but last time I checked, nobody was into crumbly falafel. Repeat until you've used all of the mixture, should make about 12-14 falafels.


Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until brown and crispy on the pan-side. Flip (caaarefully) using a small set of tongs or a fork and bake for another 15 minutes or until brown and crispy again.

And then you're ready to serve! Pictured here are the carrot falafels with cucumber-dill salad, kale and bell peppers, but there are no rules here: make it your own!