Falafel with a Twist

186 comments

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An unexpected passion that resulted from this blog is, without a doubt, my growing love for food photography. I could talk your ear off about lighting, camera equipment, props, my weaknesses and frustrations, difficult vs. easy subjects, and the best times of day to shoot. I find myself saying things like, “Look how beautiful the lighting looks outside…total GOLDEN hour!” or “Check out the way the light is hitting the apple on the table” or “My new lens fell face first into a bowl of cookie dough…”  or “I swear I’m going to throw this damn tripod out the window”

Before I started blogging, I don’t think taking a picture of my food ever crossed my mind. Ok, that’s not entirely true; I remember taking a few food photos while on our honeymoon in Europe…mostly of candy stores and gelato!

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The more I think about my interest in photography, the more I find it parallels my own personal journey with food. It’s been years now since I recovered from an eating disorder and my love for food has done a complete 180 since then. Food photography is simply another way to communicate my passion for food. I get excited when I see a vibrant dish or taste something incredible. It’s fun to share that through a photo.

The amazing (and intimidating) thing about photography is the sheer amount there is to learn. I feel like a kid again, trying desperately to get the hang of riding a bike without training wheels. The challenge is what makes it interesting though and every photograph is the chance to try something different and learn something new. I went from let-me-just-snap-the-damn-photo-so-I-can-write-this-post, to actually enjoying the process.

Speaking of trying something new, it’s amazing what a difference background colour can make in a photo. For the photos in today’s post, I used a black piece of Bristol board to place the food on. I picked this up at Michael’s on the weekend figuring I would try out a black background for a change. You can’t go wrong for a prop that costs $1.49! I love the dramatic feeling black provides without overpowering the food like a print or bold colour can. Everything really seems to pop off the black background and the food takes centre stage, as it should.

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I also love using our kitchen countertop for a similar effect:

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Plus, easy clean up.

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Although most days, the kitchen looks like this..

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In this skillet picture, black also sets the backdrop for the photo allowing the falafel really pop and the light glisten off the pan.

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Moral of the story: Don’t give up on creating new hobbies in your life, no matter what your skill level, age, or what you are already doing. Give it a shot. Who knows you might end up finding a new hobby that you will enjoy the rest of your life!

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So, how ‘bout that food?

This recipe today is my spin on traditional falafel. It’s packed with omega rich ground flax and it’s not fried, but you won’t miss it. A bit of lemon juice mixed into the batter really makes the flavours pop. I served it on top of a simple salad drizzled with my favourite Lightened Up Lemon Tahini Dressing, but feel free to stuff it in a doughy pita, wrap, or even make a falafel burger.

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Falafel with a Twist

Print, Email, or Text this recipe

Yield: 7-9 patties

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry/uncooked chickpeas (or 2 & 1/4 cups cooked)
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup red onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste

 

1. 1. If cooking chickpeas from scratch soak overnight (or for 8 hours) and then follow these directions for cooking. Alternatively, use 2 & 1/4 cup canned chickpeas. Note: A reader suggests mashing the canned chickpeas (if using) with a potato masher instead of processing them. This will prevent them from forming a paste.

2. In a food processor, with the processor running, drop in 3 garlic cloves to mince. Now add most of the chickpeas (reserving about 1/4 cup to stir in later), and process a few seconds to chop. Now add the onion, lemon juice, and herbs. Process until just combined, being careful not to over-process. You want to leave texture. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.

3. Scoop the mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the ground flax, breadcrumbs, cumin, reserved chickpeas, and salt and pepper to taste. Shape into patties, about 1/4 cup each and really pack the dough in tightly so it holds together.

4. Grease pre-heated skillet with cooking oil and then cook the patties on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden. For the salad: Add chopped tomato, red onion, a drizzle of hot sauce, cucumbers, falafel, and my Lightened Up Lemon Tahini Dressing.

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Have you ever discovered a hobby that seemed to come out of nowhere and now you can’t imagine life without it?

Or are you bored with your current hobbies and looking to try something new?

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{ 186 comments… read them below or add one }

Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin July 17, 2012

I wish I could get into photography more for the sake of my blog, but I get frustrated with it because I’m just not that artistic! :P

I feel like my hobbies haven’t changed much over the past few years… cooking, running, hiking, and reading have always been interests of mine!

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Ulli July 17, 2012

I love your pics!! They are so much better than at the beginning!! Its the same on my blog too, although I’m not quite at the same level with you…but I hope on getting there ;-)

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Ashley July 17, 2012

Loved this post! It’s so fun to read about your journey to being the very talented photographer that you are! I love how thick these burgers look. Yummm

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Christina July 17, 2012

Hi Angela, I LOVE your blog so much, it’s my homepage on my computer! What is the delicious looking chocolate drink in these photos?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 17, 2012

Aw thank you Christina! That recipe is my chocolate blender pudding (I could use one right now actually! hah) http://ohsheglows.com/2012/05/07/crazy-woman-chocolate-blender-pudding/

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Gina July 17, 2012

I tried these last night and they were amazing with the lemon tanini sauce! Except they turned out too wet, so I had to bake them for 20 minutes or so. Maybe because I didn’t have bread crumbs (or bread to make it), so I used ground almond. Still great! I’ve had a ton of success with all of your recipes, so much that my omni boss wanted the “best veggie burger” recipe I make all the time.

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Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) July 17, 2012

Great that you found a new love – photography – though it’s challenging when you feel like a beginner at something again, isn’t it? I recently tried hot yoga, and though the heat was overwhelming at first (the tops of my toes were sweating within the 1st 10 minutes, a telling sign), I loved it! The yoga instructor presented us with the following quote which I love:

“There is no growth in your comfort zone, and no comfort in your growth zone.” ~ Unknown

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Courtney July 17, 2012

This is my first comment, but I’ve been following your blog for awhile. I’ve made a bunch of your recipes and everything is to die for! I’m (very) slowly making the transition to vegan, so your website has been so helpful.

I tried making falafel from a box and it tasted awful. I will have to try this recipe, though. I’m sure you’ll make a falafel-lover out of me :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 17, 2012

Hey Courtney, Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so happy you enjoy the blog & recipes!

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veganlinda July 17, 2012

I love your pictures and I wish I had time to make photography one of my hobbies, but I can barely snap a picture or two without the kids begging to eat what I’m photographing. I can’t wait to try your falafel and I love your real kitchen because that is the way ours looks pretty much all the time except right after I’ve cleaned it. Sigh. A busy kitchen is a happy home.

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allison July 17, 2012

Oh yum! Thanks for the falafel reminder, I haven’t made it in forever and its so easy!!! There is an amazing falafel place in town ran by a lebanese woman and her daughter and they put fresh spinach in the falafel so its green:):):)

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Chelsea @ Chelsea's Lovelys July 17, 2012

The passion that you have is easily seen in the pictures – they are amazing. I have found that the more pictures I take of food, the more I love it. I am currently looking into a SLR camera and cannot wait to make the decision and go ahead with it.

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Full Flavored Life July 17, 2012

Beautiful photos, this recipe looks great!

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india leigh July 18, 2012

Hey,

great photo’s. I’ve followed your blog for a while now and you have progressed so much! What camera & lens do you use?

Thanks x

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 18, 2012

Thank you so much! My camera equipment is all on my FAQ page #10. http://ohsheglows.com/faqs/#blogfaq

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 18, 2012

I love this! I was totally wanting to make falafel this past weekend (or buy it) and had no idea how or where to find it :) This is perfect. I love how you shared the pic of your messy kitchen too. It’s good to know I”m not the only one!! The black bristol board made a beautiful photo. When do you think the best time of day to take food photos is? I know for sure it’s not 7:!5PM when I’m scrambling to get dinner on the table… but I’m going to have more time on my hands soon – transitioning to stay home with my toddler at the end of the month, and I’ll have more flexibility on when I can take pics. Would love to hear from you! PS. And I’m trying to cook more vegetarian/vegan meals now that my hubby has suuuuuuuuper high cholesterol, so I’m loving your blog and all the wonderful recipes!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 18, 2012

Hey Kelly, That’s a great question and one I’m still figuring out! I find it varies for me, but I usually have the best luck late morning and late afternoon/early evening (between 4:30-6pm). During mid-day the light comes from above (rather from lower down like morning and later in the day) so it can be a bit difficult. With that being said, if I’m making a recipe and the light conditions aren’t great, I just work with it. In a pinch, I will shoot a recipe just after sunset or early in the morning if that’s how it works out. If you find it’s dark when you are trying to take pictures, you could consider buying a photography light to help brighten things up. I’m considering this for the winter when I will be shooting lots of cookbook photos and the sun will be setting early. Goodluck with your blog, I’m going to check it out!

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Olya July 18, 2012

Falafel is a staple in my kitchen – we all lo-o-ove it! About photography – you just described exectly what is happening in my life too since I started to blog. In addition, as I blog ocationally about garden, I’m getting into picturing insects – it’s fascinating – whatever your eye naturally can’t see, your macro shots catch!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 18, 2012

I would love to be able to snap insects some day! Some of the pictures I’ve see online are unreal.

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JennyO July 18, 2012

Made these for my lunch today – can’t wait to try them! (although I did sample them after they were cooked last night and they are delish!)

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Amanda July 18, 2012

Angela , I love your blogs. I just wanted to let you know that as soon as this was in my email knew what I would be making for dinner. They were AMAZING!!! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipies and I look forward to more.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 18, 2012

Hey Amanda, I’m so happy you enjoyed the falafel! Thanks for letting me know.

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Cortney July 18, 2012

I’ve been following your blog for quite a while, and I never post comments, but the falafel and lightened up dressing were both AMAZING! My husband was most impressed as well. Thank you for sharing these recipes! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 18, 2012

Hey Cortney, I’m so happy to hear that you both enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know and taking the time to comment!

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Jen July 18, 2012

I’m glad you’re starting to be more confident with your food photography, because you really are amazing. :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 19, 2012

Thank you Jen! I have a long way to go, but that is half the fun. What I love most is seeing progress. It’s not about being the best photographer, but learning & trying new things. Thats why I enjoy it!

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Kelley Forbes July 19, 2012

Angela! I made your falafels last night. YUM. Thank you for the recipe. I am sharing my food at work today. Your tahini dressing is always so good – I use it on practically everything.

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Katie Zega July 19, 2012

My friend and I made this tonight…they were DELICIOUS!! We also baked our own pita bread to go with it….divine. I am definitely making these again SOON!

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Brittany July 19, 2012

So, as usual I impatiently tried this recipe even though I only had half of the ingredients. I substituted Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar (Trader Joe’s) for the lemon juice, added extra cumin, and raisins and omitted the fresh herbs, flax and breadcrumbs (didn’t have these on hand). It was still delicious! Mmm mm. We served them tossed with arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, raisins and a simple vinaigrette (olive oil & more of that orange vinegar). Thanks Angela!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 20, 2012

Glad it turned out for you Brittany! Don’t you love when recipes adapt well?

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Leanna July 20, 2012

Wow these look really good! Do you think I could substitute ground oats and eggs for the breadcrumbs?

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Sara July 22, 2012

This receipe sounds great! Though I wanted to know if you had a suggestion on what I could substitute for the bread crumbs to make this a gluten free meal.

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Cookie and Kate July 23, 2012

My interest in photography began in high school, and I fell hard for food photography when I started my blog a couple of years ago. It’s so fun to look back in archives and see how my photography has improved over time! And you’re right, black backgrounds are awesome. This falafel looks great, too!

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sabel fantini July 23, 2012

I just finished eating these. They were so delicious! Also, I made your oatmeal raisin cookies over the weekend. They were addictive. Thank you for all of your yummy and healthy recipes! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 24, 2012

I’m happy to hear you are enjoying the recipes! Thanks for your kind words. :)

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Jennifer Steele August 1, 2012

I made this the other night and it was incredible! Falafels are new to me, but once I tried them I have thought about them and have had cravings too often. This recipe was awesome and so much more healthy than deep frying without losing any of the wonderful flavor. I loved the salad spin and the dressing was perfect. Thanks!

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Nina August 1, 2012

Just made them and a huge success. Thx so much on mashing the last part of the chickpeas. Great idea! They were so yummy that we didn’t need the tahini dressing. Made a tomato and cucumber salad on the side (very Israeli) w/lime juice, olive oil and sea salt. This is a keeper! Thx so much…

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britania l August 2, 2012

I made these a few days ago with my family and we added fresh corn from the cob to the recipe. It was so delicious that we’re making it again tonight! :D

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Anna August 8, 2012

Hi, I love falafel and I decided to make this this morning. It tasted amazing but the only problem I had was it seemed too wet and wouldn’t stick together. Any idea why?
I used olive oil to grease the pan and had the falafel mixture in the fridge for a couple days before I decided to make the patties.

Thanks :)

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Tricia August 23, 2012

Have you ever considered a baked falafel? I find to many vegan/vegetarian recipes are high fat/high calorie and I do not eat that way. What tempature would you recommend baking these at and for how long?

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Ana September 6, 2012

My hobby is actually the same! From the passion for food and for photography, I created my own blog (in Portuguese). Still far from awesome as yours is, but I’ll get there! Congrats!

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Marti September 12, 2012

I doubled the recipe, and it’ll just be too many falafel balls for us to consume in one week. Can they be frozen? Cooked or uncooked? Any suggestions for how to wrap and freeze would be great!

LOVE your blog. Thank you for all your recipes!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 13, 2012

Hey Marti, I would probably cook them in the oven first. Cool completely and then wrap with tin foil. To reheat, pop into the oven still in the tin foil. A reader gave me this suggestion and says its super easy. Enjoy!

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Shelby Koning September 29, 2012

Amazing looking recipe, I adore falafel and the lemon in the batter seems a great addition! Love that they are not fried. I am also a recovered anorexic and though it’s been years since I put on healthy weight (and then some) it wasn’t until I became vegan that I really found a passion for food. Thank you for sharing, I also share your passion for photography, you now make me want to photograph foods!

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Jessica December 31, 2012

Just made this felafel.. this is going to change my life. Also a huge fan of your veggie burgers – so much better (and cheaper) than store bought ones. Love knowing exactly what goes in them and making them in bulk and freezing them. You sold me at green monster and are now three for three. Pumped I found this website – I feel a little less alone!!

jw.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 31, 2012

I’m so happy to hear this Jessica! Thank you :)

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Jamie January 6, 2013

I fellow blogger directed me to this site because I was in search of a lower fat falafel. I am very excited to try these!

I too, recovered from an eating disorder (bulimia) years ago and I find it fascinating (though not surprising I guess) that my love affair with food has turned into a passion for cooking and trying new, healthy recipes. I am so happy I was able to take up cooking and actually enjoy it after so many years fighting with food. Congratulations on winning your battle and for everything that has come out of it!

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Jamie January 6, 2013

Oops! I mean “A” fellow blogger. :-)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 6, 2013

Thank you Jamie, I’m so glad you found the blog! All the best to you with your own journey :)

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Bridget@MrsGreenJeans January 6, 2013

I need to expand my photography skills. Better yet just learn to use my camera on shooting food and anything really. I love photography! This recipe looks delish I can’t wait to try it.

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Donna January 9, 2013

Hi Angela.. love love love your site.. beautiful photography, yummy food, funny commentary.. awesomeness! I have a question about the falafel (if it was already asked and answered, I apologize)… can you substitute chick pea flour for the mashed peas?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2013

Thank you Donna, About your question, Im sorry but im not sure!

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Donna January 9, 2013

No problem… I will give it a try and let you know!

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Jocelyne January 9, 2013

Hello Angela,

I am trying your falafel recipe but I can’t find your “Lightened Up Tahini Dressing” ???

Can you help me. thanks.

Jocelyne, Quebec

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 10, 2013
Melanie Webb January 10, 2013

I tried this falafel and it fell apart in the pan, so I baked rest of the patties in the toaster oven and they came out perfectly. I love the lemony flavor. Thanks!

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