|Sundried Tomato & Lentil Falafel|
At this point, I consider myself a relatively deft cook. I mean, I have lightyears of learning ahead, of course, but I'd say I've gotten to be a proficient home cook. Fair?
But if anything has challenged that believe if the last few years, it's FALAFEL.
I desperately wanted to put a baked falafel recipe in my cookbook, but despite countless (like, actually) trials, I never created something I LOVED. My falafels were either bland or dry or fell apart unless handled delicately. But falafel shouldn't be delicate. It should be pita-stuffable and hummus-swipable without worrying that it will crumble.
I gave up on a falafel recipe for the book, but not on the concept entirely. After a sufficient re-grouping period, I decided to try my hand at it again, using some serious flavor-bombs. I went for lentils instead of chickpeas, because I think they're a little bit richer and have a meatier texture. Sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, nutritional yeast and walnuts all contribute to the addictive umami-quality of these baked falafel, achieving a satiation factor similar to that from fried food.
I also finally figured out the right level of moisture so that the falafels hold together, but they're not gummy or crumbly, by combining starch (arrowroot or cornstarch work) and oat flour.
Boy, was I pleased with myself when I finally bit into one of these little nuggets. Technically, they're probably not even "falafel", more like veggie balls, but I eat and treat them like falafel so I dub them such! I mean, my favorite way to enjoy them is stuffed in a pita with hummus, shredded lettuce, red onion, a dash of sriracha and a crumble of feta cheese. Yum, I want one now.
These falafels are also incredibly versatile. You can keep them tightly sealed in the freezer for a few months, and pop them out when you want a dose of plant-based protein for your meal. If pita-style isn't your jam, toss them on salads, in grain bowls or just enjoy them straight-up, dipped in a little hummus or tahini or even dijon mustard...trust me!
I am soooo excited to finally have a healthy baked falafel recipe for y'all, and I hope it meets (or exceeds!) your expectations as well! If you give them a try, please be sure to tag me on Instagram @lauralealbalanced #llbalanced, so I can see your creations!