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Author Notes: Falafel may be one of the most versatile and customizable foods out there. Take the many variations—on the web and in various cookbooks—as proof. Some recipes use cooked millet, others are pulsed with kale or are made with beans other than chickpeas, and some are baked rather than fried.
This basic falafel is my favorite: It has the perfect balance of flavors and spices, holds together without being mushy or moist, and incorporates toasted chickpea flour to both bind the falafel and impart a nutty flavor. —Lindsey S. Love | Dolly and Oatmeal
Makes 32 falafels
For the romesco sauce:
- 2 bell peppers
- 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
- 1 tablespoon tahini paste
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- Turn oven to broil and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the peppers on the baking sheet and broil, turning over every 30 seconds, until skins are blackened in spots. Place the peppers in a large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. Peel the peppers’ skins with your fingers.
- Cut the peppers, removing the white ribs and seeds; then rinse and pat dry. Place the peppers, garlic, oil, hazelnuts, tahini, vinegar, paprika, salt, and cayenne (if using) in a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use. (Rinse food processor and set aside.)
For the falafel:
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup whole mung beans
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
- 1/2 cup parsley, plus extra for serving
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour, toasted*
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sea sat
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- Cook the quinoa with 1 cup of water for 12 to 14 minutes, until cooked and water has evaporated; set aside. Meanwhile, fill a small saucepan three-quarters of the way with water, add the mung beans and bring to a boil, turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until tender and doubled in size; drain any remaining water and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of water; let mixture sit for 10 minutes, until thick.
- In the food processor, add the cooked quinoa, mung beans, flaxseed mixture, parsley, flour, shallots, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and spices. Blend until thoroughly combined; taste for salt and lemon and adjust if necessary. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the sesame seeds; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- Pinch off golf ball–size pieces of mixture and roll between palms to shape into a ball. Place on prepared baking sheets and repeat.
- Lightly brush the tops and bottoms of the falafel with oil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets and flipping falafels over halfway through the baking time.
- Serve warm with romesco sauce and garnish with parsley.
- *To toast the chickpea flour. Place 1 cup of chickpea flour in a large skillet, turn the heat to medium, and stir. Keep stirring for 5 to 7 minutes, until the flour is lightly browned and has a nutty fragrance. Place in a bowl or on a plate and let it cool at room temperature. Store toasted chickpea flour in an airtight container at room temperature if not using right away.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!