Middle Eastern

Dinner Tonight: No-Gadget Falafel

Today: No food processor or blender? No problem.

As much as we love our food processor, we're keeping it stowed in the cabinet tonight. Maybe you don't even own one. A food processor takes up room! We understand. Space is coveted. But let's get to the important part: You can make falafel sans gadgets or any other fancy mashing thing.

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After draining and rinsing a can of chickpeas, use that empty can to smash those beans into a paste. With this recipe, your arm's the only tool you need. We're also going to break out the big guns (aka flatbread). Sure, you could eat the falafel all by its lonesome, but it's better as wrap along with an herby yogurt spread, red onion, hummus, and some greens for good measure. It's dinner. It's no-gadget. It's as easy as one, two, falafel.

Grocery List 

(Organized by area of the market)

Makes 12 falafel

1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley 
1 red onion (1/2 finely chopped and 1/2 thinly sliced, divided)
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 14-ounce can of chickpeas

Optional, for serving (but really not optional): 

Handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
Handful of cilantro, finely chopped
Mixed salad greens
1/2 cup plain yogurt

We are assuming you already have all-purpose flour (or a suitable gluten-free replacement), ground cumin, salt, garlic, and vegetable or canola oil. If not, add these to your list, too!

Thirty minutes before dinner, open the can of chickpeas and drain and rinse 'em real good. Keep the can, though, as we're going to use this for mashing. This is a can-do dinner, after all.

Place the chickpeas in a wide bowl and add the lemon juice. Using the base of the empty can (or, if its cut edge is too sharp, the base of another unopened can—just rinse it off afterwards), smush and squish those chickpeas into as smooth a paste as possible. Use some arm strength! Feel that falafel power.

Add 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, a large pinch of salt, and parsley to the chickpea paste. Stir well, then add the finely chopped red onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and finely chopped cilantro. Mix well with your hands until completely combined. Divide this mixture into 12 equal balls of about 2 tablespoons each, and flatten slightly. We want a patty-like shape.

Heat about 1/4-inch of vegetable or canola oil in a skillet. When the oil becomes shimmery, add a few of the falafel (don't crowd the pan) and fry until golden on each side. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate or tray. Repeat with the remaning falafel. 

Right before sitting down, mix together the yogurt, mint, and cilantro. Spread some of this on a flatbread, followed by hummus, red onion slices, salad greens, and a few falafel. Dinner is served—and meant to bean.

Photo Izy Hossack

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