Baked Falafel

For someone who first tried Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine less than a year ago, I have definitely taken to it quite quickly.  I finally get what everyone else was always talking about- hummus is delicious!  One of my favorite things to do on the weekends now is to go to a Mediterranean restaurant and try new dishes.
One dish featured on many a Mediterranean menu is falafel, which is basically ground and flavored chickpeas.  Falafel is a vegetarian meal where you definitely don’t miss the meat.  The chickpea mixture mimics a meatball texture, but I find it to be even better with more complex flavors.  Falafel is typically fried, but in an effort to be healthier and out of a laziness, this recipe has you bake the falafel.  It comes out delicious- a crispy exterior with a soft, pillowy inside.
Make sure to check out some more Mediterranean flavor:
Slightly Adapted from Pink Parsley
For the Falafel:
1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 red onion, minced
5 cloves of garlic, roasted
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon coriander (cilantro seeds)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Nonstick cooking spray
For Serving:
Pita bread
Hummus or Tzatziki sauce
Sweet pickles, chopped
Lettuce, chopped
Red onion, thinly sliced
Pour dried chickpeas into a large bowl.  Cover with water.  Let soak at least 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas.  In the food processor, combine chickpeas, onion, garlic, cumin, parsley, coriander, salt, lemon juice, and water.  Pulse until mixture forms a paste.  Fold in baking powder and flour, until mixture stays together.  Add more flour if needed.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Working with 2 tablespoons of chickpeas mixture, form into balls.  Place on baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining mixture.  Spray falafel with olive oil or nonstick spray.  Bake for 20-23 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown.
Serve on pita bread with hummus/tzatziki, pickles, lettuce, and red onion.
Serves 4.

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