Those who know me know that I loooooove hummus. Mediterranean food in general is some of my favorite food; I love tabbouleh, falafel, hummus, and baba ganoush. So this week I decided to put together a Mediterranean Buddha bowl!
I love falafel, but when cooked in restaurants falafel is traditionally a fried dish. While it is delicious, I wanted to try making a version that is oil free and baked. I was a bit hesitant at first, wondering how I would make the outside crispy. But I found a way, and in the end my baked oil free falafel came out crisp, flavorful, and most importantly healthy!
Oil Free Falafel
I’ll keep this post on the shorter side, since the recipe itself is pretty minimal. First, add everything but the chickpeas, bread crumbs and flour to a blender or food processor to mix/pulse it thoroughly. When I did this, the result was pretty liquidy, but this is ok. The mixture will thicken up once we get to the next steps.
Next, add the chickpeas and pulse until the chickpeas are mostly broken up. Don’t obliterate the chickpeas in the blender though, try to blend them just enough so that they mix with the rest of the ingredients thoroughly, but are still a bit chunky.
Finally, transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the oat flour (or your flour of choice). At this step you can adjust the seasoning if you like (more salt or pepper, etc.), but I thought mine tasted pretty good so I left it as is.
Baking vs. Frying
Now it’s time to form your fallafel patties! I grabbed handfuls of falafel mixture out of my mixing bowl that were about the size of a golf ball. I rolled them in my hands lightly, and then rolled them in my bread crumbs so it was covered with crumbs on all sides.
This is the secret step in this recipe to getting your falafel crispy – without using any oil or frying! The bread crumbs end up forming a nice crunchy crust on the outside. Once they’re baked, the bread crumbs get hard and help give the falafel that crispy texture. I used brown rice bread crumbs, but whole wheat ones (or whatever ones you have lying around) will work just as well.
Because this is oil free falafel, the dish is extremely low in fat. It’s also naturally high in protein because of the chickpeas. Chickpeas are incredibly healthy for a number or reasons though. Just to give you an idea, 1 cup of chickpeas has 39 grams of protein, 35 grams of fiber, 69% of your daily value for iron, and 21% of your daily value for calcium! Beans in general are incredibly good for you, so I encourage everyone to try and get them into your diet any way you can.
Assembling Your Buddha Bowl
I wonder when exactly the term “Buddha Bowl” started to become popular. Regardless, I think it’s fun, and a pretty fitting name for dishes like this one that are overflowing with whole-foods-plant-based goodness!
I served my baked oil free falafel on a bed of steamed quinoa, homemade tabbouleh, and homemade sun-dried tomato/basil hummus. I regret to say, that I do not have an exact recipe to share at this time for the hummus. I kind of made it up on the fly, but the tabbouleh was very easy, and instructions for it are below! I made one simple swap with the tabbouleh, and that was to use quinoa for the grain instead of bulgar. I made a bunch of extra quinoa, so I just used that instead.
Anyways, that about wraps this post up! I hope you like these oil free baked falafel patties. They’re healthy, flavorful, high protein, and packed full of nutrition. They can be eaten in a Buddha bowl, on a salad, or be used as a patty for a burger, sandwich or wrap.
If you’re feeling fancy or cooking for others, I recommend serving them with pita, hummus, tabbouleh, olives, veggie slices, cucumber salad, or any other fresh side for a full Mediterranean meal. Enjoy!
- 3 15oz cans of chickpeas rinsed and drained
- ¾ cups of oat flour (or flour of choice)*
- 1 bunch or parsley
- 2 large lemons (6 Tbs of juice)
- 9 cloves of garlic
- scant 1 teaspoon of salt (slightly more than ½ tsp)
- ½ teaspoon of pepper
- 3½ teaspoons of cumin
- ~1/4 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs (or brown rice bread crumbs)
- 2 bunches of curly parsley
- 1-2 roma tomatoes
- ½ a red onion
- ½ teaspoon of minced garlic
- 4-5 Tbs of lemon juice
- ¼ cup of quinoa (or bulgur)
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- Add parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and spices to a blender or food processor and mix well (it will be a bit liquidy)
- Add chickpeas and pulse until they are ground and well combined with the other ingredients (do not mix them into a paste though, leave it a bit chunky!)
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix in the flour
- Sprinkle your breadcrumbs on a plate. Next, take a golf-ball sized amount of falafel mixture, roll it into a ball, and then roll it in breadcrumbs until it is coated on all sides
- Lay the ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and press down lightly until it is in the shape of a disc/patty. Repeat with the remaining falafel mixture
- Bake for 40 minutes, flipping the patties over at the halfway point
- While they are baking you can prepare the tabbouleh by chopping all of the fresh ingredients and mixing them with lemon juice in a bowl