This week I asked my Instagram community to decide which recipe will be posted on the blog next. It was a close fight between homemade ravioli and baked falafel; turns out that you guys are craving some healthy Mediterranean dishes.
Don't you just LOVE falafel? Baked, fried, in pita bread, with tahini or just with a fresh salad; it's all good! Not only that, it's a great source of plant-based protein.
There is however one very common problem when consuming chickpeas or other legumes - it could easily upset your stomach.
This recipe was carefully developed and tested many times, and I learned that -
ALL MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE!
We are talking about the full package deal - Falafel balls that taste like the real (fried) thing; a feast for the eyes (especially when combined with the colorful tahini dips) and even leave you with a happy gut! Just make sure you don't eat them all before they get to the table...
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Place the chickpeas in a large bowl, cover with plenty of water and leave for 12 hours. During the soaking time, rinse and replace the water at least twice.
Rinse the soaked chickpeas and pick out any stones, split beans, or beans that look bad or rotten.
Place the rinsed beans in a large strainer and cover with a clean kitchen towel for an additional 12 hours, allowing the beginning of the sprouting process. Rinse every 4 hours or so.
Rinse and strain.
Note: In places with a colder climate, 12 hours will not be sufficient for a full sprouting process, but that's fine. Even the pre-sprouting allows the chickpeas' protein to become more accessible for our body and help us to digest it better. If you wish, it is always possible to keep sprouting the chickpeas for an additional 12 hours, making sure to rinse them every 4 hours or so.
For those of you that decide to use our servings calculator and make a larger amount of falafel balls, it is recommended to divide the chickpeas between two strainers during the sprouting process.
Place the sprouted chickpeas in a food processor and process until a mixture of very small grains is created. Transfer the processed chickpeas to a bowl and place aside.
Place the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, jalapeño and spices in the food processor bowl and process to a green paste. Add the tahini and processed chickpeas and pulse together, scraping down sides as needed until thoroughly combined (see Falafel Mix photo).
Refrigerate the mixture for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C). Oil a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Pour the sesame seeds to a large plate.
Scoop up one tbsp of falafel mixture at a time, shape into a ball and roll in sesame seeds to cover.
Place the falafel balls on the oiled parchment sheet and drizzle some more olive oil on top.
Bake for 10 minutes and then flip them over and bake for additional 3-5 minutes; careful not to overcook or dry them.
Serve immediately with color-coded tahini dips.
Cook the beet in a small pot over medium heat. Once softened, drain, rinse and set aside to cool and only then peel its skin.
Rinse the parsley and/or cilantro and chop-off the stems.
Note: For a thicker tahini dip add more tahini or make sure to use whole sesame tahini like this one.