Like many of you, I bet, I am a massive fan of falafels. They are the ultimate vegan food, aren’t they? I was introduced to them in my early 20s by an ex-boyfriend who otherwise was a bit of a waste of time, if I am honest, but he did introduce me to some nice foods so maybe there was a point to that relationship after all 😉 .
The only trouble is that I dislike frying things and although I do it occasionally, as you can see by some of the recipes on this blog, I certainly avoid frying things on a regular basis. Other than the health aspect, I also intensely dislike the clean-up, especially the perennial dilemma of what to do with the leftover oil. I do try to reuse it a few times but it’s tricky as you need to stick to one particular type of food (onion bhajis do not mix well with doughnuts, for example 😉 ). Even then there comes a time when you need to dispose of it and unless you own a restaurant and use up large amounts of oil that is always a tricky bit and pouring it down the drain is not the done thing.
So while I think that the best falafels are certainly fried falafels I wanted to come up with something that has similar flavours, but is much healthier and can be enjoyed on a regular basis. These green guys came out surprisingly well and I say ‘surprisingly’ because this (and another) recipe nearly broke me last week. After a few ‘meh’ outcomes, I was so down on myself, feeling like I cannot cook, I’m good for nothing, I may as well chuck the whole thing in as no one is going to want to eat anything I come up with. With some perspective and a good outcome under my belt, it sounds overly dramatic but that’s where a negative thinking spiral can certainly take you.
This is what this year has been about for me personally – a fight against the negative thinking that has been sapping the joy out of my life for way too long now without me realising. I used to call myself a realist and thought that being hard on myself and anticipating negative outcomes was on some level protective, but now I realise that my brain was simply poisoned and that I developed unhealthy thinking and behavioural patterns to cope with the punitive atmosphere of my childhood home.
Eradicating these false beliefs about myself and the world around me at midlife is super hard, but it’s certainly worth doing. This is not who I am, it’s a legacy that was ‘given’ to me from an early age and I, with no choice in the matter, absorbed it all like a sponge and it continued to slowly poison everything in my life from the inside until now. Enough is enough and so I am working hard on catching my internal monologue and picking apart all the toxicity that makes me not want to get up in the morning….It’s one of the hardest things I have ever done and I still have some serious slip-ups, but seeing and admitting the truth to yourself is half the battle. Plus, I always have Duncan trying to show me some perspective and steer me away from self-flagellation and I really appreciate him, always but especially then. He is a fun loving person that may appear silly at times, but has a lot of life wisdom to impart and I treasure that quality in him immensely.
So after I dusted myself off, it took a few more tries and many tweaks but I did nail this recipe eventually and I am really happy with the end result. These falafels are not only easy to make, fragrant with herbs and spices but they are a little crispy on the outside and moist on the inside – something I was so hell-bent on achieving as my main issue with baked falafels is that they are cardboard dry. Like in my previous baked falafel recipes, I once again decided to use soaked raw chickpeas, but I have also done some testing with cooked chickpeas if that’s all you have. The trick that allowed me to keep these guys nice and moist on the inside is the addition of a courgette, which, while it contributes no taste, improves the texture of these falafels considerably, plus it allows you to sneak some more vegetables into little people if you happen to have to feed any. I know from friends with kids that they can be incredibly tricky to feed green stuff to. Well, I hope you’ll enjoy these, especially that they have been a true labour of love. Have a great rest of the week!
**I have not tested any other flours, but I am pretty confident that chickpea flour or all purpose wheat flour will work also.