This month we’ve tackled eating more veggies with cauliflower rice and the shredder attachment (bonus blog for subscribers only), adding whole grains to your diet with Spelt Oat Bread, and now we are rounding out the healthy eating New Year’s resolutions with a meatless meal using the meat mincer attachment: Baked Falafel. That’s right, meat grinders aren’t just for meat. You can use them to make veggie burgers, like Mushroom Walnut Burgers, or let it do all the work for you when making falafel. And since this is about healthy eating, these falafel are baked instead of fried.
Falafel is essentially ground up chickpeas shaped into a small patty or nugget and fried. Cumin, coriander, cilantro, parsley, garlic and onion are the most commonly used ingredients to combine with the ground chickpeas. Thought to have originated in Egypt, falafel spread through Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries, with slight variations developing. It is the second most common food, after hummus, to be made with chickpeas and it is eaten all over the world today.
The chickpeas require a long soak in water before they are ground. Some recipes call for baking soda to be added in the water. I prefer this method because it helps soften the chickpeas, also a good step when you are soaking chickpeas for hummus. I used the standard size grinding disc that comes with the meat mincer package: 4.5 mm. If you own all the grinding discs, you can use the smallest size (2.5 mm) on the final grind for a finer texture.
After an initial grind, the other ingredients are added and then it is ground twice more. If a smoother falafel is desired, you can grind it another time or two, but make sure not to turn it into a paste.
A large disher works best for portioning out the falafel.
These will keep for up to a week in the fridge and also freezer well. Just lay them out on a sheet pan, freeze, and then store in a freezer safe covered container. Reheat in a 350° F. oven until warmed through.
The best way to serve falafel is with some kind of sauce. Tzatziki or tahini sauce are two of the most popular choices. I included a quick tahini sauce with the recipe below because that is my favorite. You can put falafel on top of salads or serve sandwich style in pita bread, or just dunk them in sauce and enjoy.
If you have any questions about the assembly and care of the meat mincer package, check out this video. And a quick note, the discs and blade should always be hand washed and immediately dried and then rubbed with a little oil to keep from rusting. I just use the same food grade butcher block oil that I use for my wooden cutting boards and wooden spoons. The other metal components should also be hand washed, since the dishwasher will cause discoloration. Plastic parts can go in the upper rack of the dishwasher.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 8 1/2 hours
454 g. (1 pound) dried chickpeas
2 g. (1/2 tsp.) baking soda
12 g. (1 cup loosely packed) flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
12 g. (1 cup loosely packed) fresh cilantro, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
90 g. (3/4 cup) chopped yellow or white onion
4 g. (1 tsp.) kosher salt
3 g. (1 tsp.) ground cumin
3 g. (1 tsp.) ground coriander
1 g (1/2 tsp.) freshly ground black pepper
6 g (1 1/2 tsp) baking soda
55 g. (1/4 cup) olive oil, plus extra for brushing
For serving (optional): pita bread, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, sliced red onion, tzatziki sauce, tahini sauce (recipe below)
In a large bowl, cover the chickpeas and 2 g. (1/2 tsp.) baking soda with enough water so there is 3-4 inches of water above chickpeas. Cover and let sit overnight (at least 8 hours and up to 15).
Drain and rinse chickpeas once they have soaked. Set up the Ankarsrum base with the meat mincer attachment and the 4.5 mm. grinding disc. Place a large bowl underneath to catch the ground chickpeas. Turn the speed on the highest setting (8 o’clock) and use the plunger to help push the chickpeas through the mincer.
Mix all the remaining ingredients, except the 6 g. baking soda and olive oil, thoroughly with ground chickpeas. Place another large bowl underneath the mincer and feed chickpea mixture through again. Repeat one more time with mixture and check texture to ensure desired consistency. If a finer consistency is desired, run through mincer 1 or 2 more times.
Once mixture is finished grinding, remove the disc, blade and any large bits of chickpea that may not have been thoroughly ground. Scrape out remaining chickpea mixture into bowl.
Stir the 6 g. baking soda into the mixture. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375° F. Divide olive oil evening among two half sheet pans and use a pastry brush to thoroughly coat the bottoms of the pans.
Use a large disher or spoon to scoop out approximately 45 g. (about 2 Tbsp.) chickpea mixture. Shape into a small patty and place on oiled pan. Repeat with remaining mixture. Use pastry brush to brush the tops with a little extra olive oil.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping falafels over halfway through. Once done, outside should be browned and crisp.
Serve immediately with desired accompaniments.
Yield: 22 small falafels
250 g. (1 cup) tahini
2 large garlic cloves
85 g. (5 Tbsp.) fresh lemon juice
120 g. (1/2 cup) warm water
3 g. (3/4 tsp.) kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. If thinner consistency is desired, add more water.
Serve with falafel.