5.05.2013

gluten-free felafel... it's super easy, delicious and good for you!!

felafel - gluten free and delicious!!

My friend Doug shared a version of this recipe with me years ago. I was shocked at how easy (and cheap!) it is to make your own felafel at home. This traditional recipe is naturally gluten free, but you'd be hard pressed to find a box of mix in a grocery store that does not include wheat. (One exception is the Australian brand Orgran). This version below will cost less than a dollar and would easily feed 4. An excellent vegetarian option as it's high in protein (not to mention fibre!).  

You do need a food processor - and to plan one day in advance to soak the beans.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup dried fava (broad) beans
3/4 cup dried chick peas (garbanzo beans) 
1 small onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
generous pinch cayenne pepper
3 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
1 heaping tsp salt
oil for frying

Soak beans overnight in lots of water. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Grind raw soaked beans in the food processor with onion and garlic until finely minced and stir in cumin, salt, cayenne and coriander. Give it another good whirl in the processor to break down the greens. The consistency should be a thick granular paste. Make into patties a little smaller than the size of a flattened golf ball. 

Let sit for 30 minutes. You can make balls - but will need more oil to fry them in. The flatter versions will cook through evenly in much shallower oil. After they have rested for 30 minutes, fry in batches in a large skillet. Test one first to make sure that the oil is adequately hot (you want it to sizzle). Flip after about 3 minutes - or when golden brown and crispy looking. Cook another 3 minutes or so. Keep batches warm in the oven on a plate with paper towel to soak up any excess oil. 

You can serve these many ways - with rice, a gluten free rice wrap, with quinoa.... but last night we had them with a simple spinach salad, carrot salad, sliced tomatoes and avocado. I happened to have some tahini (sesame paste) which made a nice accompaniment. This recipe made 24 felafel - plenty of leftovers for lunch this week!

Super Simple Carrot Salad:
(amounts depend on how many carrots you want to grate!)
grated organic carrots
diced red onion to taste
sprinkle of celery seed to taste
drizzle of olive oil & apple cider vinegar to taste.

Final note: while many felafel vendors do make gluten-free felafel - many also include some wheat flour to help hold them together... OR fry other gluten-laden items in their fryer. Gluten is in no way necessary to make these work - but, as always, I implore you to ask before you order out. Once you try making these  - you'll discover how easy it is to have this great dish safely at home.


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