A couple of Friday’s ago Justin and I had lunch at one of my favourite local cafes, The Middle Store. Justin was working from home that day and I decided to take the day off from work. I have been to the cafe several times for coffee and lunch with a friend but Justin had never been. The small cafe serves Middle Eastern-style food made with local produce. MasterChef contestant Rose Adam, her sister Haefa and their brother George opened The Middle Store just over two years ago. I was so totally wrapped with my falafel burger that it inspired me to make my own falafel from scratch. And here it is! Thanks to Chrissy Freer’s book Superlegumes for the recipe.
- Serves 4
- Preparation time: 20 minutes (plus 30 minutes chilling time)
- Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Cook’s tip: using tinned chickpeas produces a much softer falafel and is by no means authentic. In fact, the thought of using tinned chickpeas would horrify the Israeli and Arabic community. For a more traditional falafel, dried Kabuli chickpeas are soaked overnight and processed in a food processor. This would produce a more grainy textured falafel like those found in traditional Middle-Eastern establishments. Convenience wise, there’s not much in it except to remember to soak the Kabuli chickpeas the night before because there’s no pre-cooking required.
Nutritionist’s tip: 70% of Aussie females 19-30 years are failing to meet their daily calcium needs. Worse still, over 90% of Aussie women over 51 years are not meeting their daily calcium requirements. Women need 3 and 4 serves of calcium rich food, respectively, to meet their daily calcium needs. Calcium rich foods are needed to keep your bones strong and minimise the risk of developing osteoporosis. An easy way to add more calcium to your diet is to eat more chickpeas as they are loaded with calcium providing around 126mg per 100g cooked. Of all the legumes, chickpeas offer more bang for your calcium buck. Other easy ways to add more calcium to your day include: a small tub (200ml) of low-fat low-added sugar yoghurt on your morning cereal with dried apricots and chopped almonds, glass of milk, a small wedge of cheese (30g / 1 oz), spread smooth ricotta onto a slice of grainy bread or fruit toast, add a tin of fish with bones such as sardines or salmon to your salad (with chickpeas for an extra calcium hit!)
- 2 x 400g (14 oz) tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1 egg white
- 1 plump garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Natural low-fat Greek yoghurt, to serve (or hummus for lactose-free or vegan alternative)
- Grilled flat bread, to serve (use gluten free if required)
Tomato and Radish Salad
- 200g (7 oz) grape tomatoes, halved
- 4 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup mint leaves
- 3 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Process the chickpeas, mint, parsley, pine nuts, egg white, garlic, cumin, coriander and bi-carbonate of soda in a food processor until almost smooth but still slightly grainy.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop mixture and form into walnut-sized balls with your hands and flatten slightly. There should be enough mixture to make around 18 (30g / 1 oz) falafel patties. Place the falafels on a tray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm (or overnight).
- Meanwhile, to make the tomato and radish salad, combine the tomatoes, radishes, mint and spring onions in a medium bowl. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and toss gently to combine. Set aside.
- To cook the falafels, heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cook the falafels, in two batches, for 4 minutes each side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
- To serve, place 4-5 falafels on a flatbread, spoon the tomato and radish salad along side the falafels and add some fresh crisp cos lettuce for extra crunch. Finally, top with natural Greek yoghurt. Wrap, eat, yum!
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- Delish factor: 4.5 out of 5 stars
If you make this recipe let me know how it turned out. Leave a comment below and/or share an image of your creation on social media @janette bridger or #beanthinkingaboutpulses