Falafel with a Twist

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on July 16, 2012

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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

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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?

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

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Caitlin February 12, 2013 at 12:18 am

Just made this tonight and it was wonderful! I’ve made falafel a few tines from other recipes, and this was by far the healthiest and easiest version. With the tahini dressing, it was the Yummiest, too. Thanks for giving us so many recipes that are easy and fun to make, delicious, and totally embrace the whole point of being vegan. Your website is always my first stop for a healthy and tasty meal!

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Angie March 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm

My sister introduced me to your blog and I love it! I made your cozy millet bowls last weekend and tonight tried these falafels. The taste was great but my totally crumbled. I packed them as tight as I could. I’m guessing it had to do with the bread crumbs. I’ll have to try again!

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Karen March 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Do you think I could make these falafel patties a day in advance, and they would keep ok in the fridge and then just cook them the next day?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 18, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Hi Karen, I haven’t tried it myself, but I can’t see why that wouldn’t be ok.

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Veronika March 22, 2013 at 10:39 am

Your Falafel look delicious! I just realized I ran out of flax – I was thinking about using another 1/4 cup bread crumbs as a replacement or do you have any other suggestions? Are the flaxseeds just for flavor / omega purposes or do they have thickening purpose in your recipe?
Thanks a lot!

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Jeffrey April 4, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Just turned vegan shortly before x-mas 2013 and I’m in love with your site! Just made these for my boyfriend and I… WE LOVED THEM! We put them in 100% whole wheat pitas and topped them with kale, tomatoes, onion, green peppers, cucumbers and spicy sriracha! You have made my transition not only healthy but more delicious! :)

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Mindy and Ligeia April 7, 2013 at 6:49 am

This recipe looks fantastic!!! We’re planning our trip to Israel in July and have had falafel on the brain! This is a great twist that we will simply have to try. :)

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Jen April 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I used canned chickpeas and the patties would not stay together. Any ideas why this would happen? I followed the recipe exactly and was careful not to overprocess (I thought).

They were still insanely delicious! But I would like to figure out what I’m doing wrong. Thanks!

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Annalise May 4, 2013 at 8:39 am

I rarely leave comments on websites, but I wanted to thank you. This is one of the best Falafel recipes I have ever tried. Thank you!

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Anne-Michelle Frances May 22, 2013 at 11:00 am

These were amazing! My kids (ages 2, 6, 8) loved them!! I waited a while to do this because I didn’t want to spend the time on something they wouldn’t eat, but I figured they may like the crunchy outside — and that was their favorite part! I used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic (simply because I didn’t have any), and I used Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Flour instead of breadcrumbs. I used my melon baller to drop them into the oil, and they cooked a few minutes on each side. Delicious, thank you! Too bad there weren’t any left for me and my husband! Next time I’ll need to double the batch.

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Lorraine June 17, 2013 at 10:47 am

My daughter and I made the falafel last night – it was fantastic! Your photos are gorgeous and your recipes very easy to follow.

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Gena August 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm

made this tonight! So good, especially with the tahini lemon dressing!

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Ted August 10, 2013 at 5:25 am

I just cooked this for a Vegan Pot luck (My first vegan event) and It was amazing. I followed the steps carefully and even got a seal of approval from a Turkish guy!
Thank you very much, Very impressed.
You should post a Hummus (with a twist) recipe to go along with it :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 10, 2013 at 7:06 am

So glad to hear that Ted :)

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Hannah August 22, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Angela,
slightly obsessed with your blog. have you tried pre making these and freezing them? thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 26, 2013 at 9:18 am

Hi Hannah, So glad to hear that you are enjoying the blog so much!
I haven’t tried freezing them yet, but if I did, I would cook them first, cool completely, and then wrap and freeze. Hope it works out for you! Angela

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Camille September 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Wanted to make these for a LONG time and finally got to it today. I found the patties fell apart easily for me, so next time I would add an egg or two. Also, I would up the herb and cumin as I felt they were a little too bland for me. But this is a good basic recipe to adapt to individual tastes! Thanks Angela!!

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Donna November 15, 2013 at 10:24 am

Most of the comments on here are about photography. BTW, am looking forward to making these and will take one of the reviewer’s suggestion to place in fridge for a couple of hours.

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Courtney December 11, 2013 at 9:43 am

These look great! Have you ever tried baking these in the oven instead of pan frying?

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kelsey February 12, 2014 at 11:08 pm

can you use a blender instead of a food processor?

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Kate February 27, 2014 at 5:02 am

I absolutely love this recipe! Every time I cook a meal from Oh She Glows I wonder how in the world it will work, they just seem too healthy, with not enough wet ingredients to bring them together. But I am always amazed becuase they are delicious and the best recipes I have come across. Can’t wait to get the recipe book!

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Amy Lewis May 26, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Hi!

Do these reheat well, or would you recommend refrigerating the leftover patties uncooked and then cooking them when we’re ready to eat them?

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Mandy D August 13, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Hey Ang!
I just wanted to message you and say this has to be one of my fav recipes of yours. I always come back to this recipe when I don’t know what to make. I think I’ve made it around 8 times this year. We served it with lemon tahini, guacamole and salsa & oven baked sweet potato wedges. Mmm soo good. I hope is all well with your pregnancy! Can’t wait to see pictures of your little princess when she arrives :)

Sincerely,

Mandy Dugas @ MandysHealthyLife.com

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Jennifer September 2, 2014 at 5:07 pm

These went really wrong for me. Can anyone tell me what I did wrong? The outside burned off onto the pan despite tons of oil and the rest was so wet that they didn’t hold together well. I modified the ingredients to use gluten free bread crumbs – so maybe that was the problem – perhaps the “bread” crumbs didn’t absorb enough of the liquid?

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Samantha September 25, 2014 at 1:27 pm

I made these last night with my Mom, salad and all (didn’t have tahini so just used a dressing we had at home). They were really delicious with some taziki i got with all natural ingredients, and I also made some gluten free bread with olive oil and spices on the side. I wanted to add that I didn’t use a food processor, just a potato masher which left some full chickpeas but i liked the texture change. These were AWESOME as my lunch the next day, cold with taziki on top and the rest of the salad on the side. YUM!!!

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Jennifer January 3, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Can you freeze the mixture before cooking? We made way too much and I figure it will only be good cooked and put in the fridge for a few days. Thanks!

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Rachel January 12, 2015 at 9:20 pm

OMG This was so freakin’ good, I am glad I tried it. I can’t even explain the taste but it was… Heaven!!! Thank you.

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Halley February 2, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Hey There! I may wind up attempting this during a snow day, but just in case that I can’t get to the store, I do have Bob’s Red Mill chickpea flour. Would that still work?

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katie February 3, 2015 at 8:28 pm

These look awesome! Do they freeze well?

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Pamela February 18, 2015 at 10:11 pm

It’s vegan week in our household which means I am trying out new recipes daily. While I primarily eat a plant-based diet, my husband was raised on meat and potatoes. And while he’s progressive and willing to try my concoctions, he still needs his meat. That said, tonight I made the Falafel with A Twist and served it with a green salad topped with avocado and your roasted chickpeas along with the Lightened a Up Lemon Tahini Dressing. Bill declared the meal “awesome” and said “we should have this once a week.” He rated dinner a 98 out of 100 and said he didn’t have a reason for docking two points. On the menu tomorrow night – the Warm and Roasted Winter Salad. Hopefully he will be as pleased! Thank you!

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Krystin June 1, 2015 at 5:44 pm

Just made these falafels with the lightened up lemon tahini dressing. They are delicious!

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Nehal August 7, 2015 at 9:05 pm

This recipe sounds really yummy. I love Mediterranean food! One question, how can make this recipe gluten free. I have lately been diagnosed gluten intolerant and having so much trouble finding recipes.

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Lauren August 26, 2015 at 10:33 am

Thanks for this recipe and your work in general! It’s been a long time since I found a new recipe to add to my rotation and this will definitely be in it! It surprised me how tasty they were.I kind of lazied it up by using bottled lemon juice (less than called for) and just dried parsley (didn’t have fresh herbs on hand). But it was so fast and easy and it tasted great. I used canned chickpeas and did use the food processor but put them in with the red onion and just pulsed a few times until chopped/combined. They fell apart a little bit so I think next time I’ll add a little water to replace the lemon juice I left out due to using bottled. Also love the idea of putting it over salad, which is what I did. Had mushroom couscous on the side and it made a lovely weeknight meal. Thanks again!

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Georgia September 11, 2015 at 10:03 pm

Hey! Just wondering if canned (drained) chickpeas would work in this recipe??

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Georgia September 11, 2015 at 10:04 pm

Oops cancel that… I didn’t read the recipe properly ;)

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Dee January 22, 2016 at 8:55 pm

Tried this today and I’m in love! My husband hates chickpeas but after trying this I think he’ll be eating more chickpeas

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Dipty November 26, 2016 at 10:27 am

I came across your beautiful website this past week in my attempt to find some vegan recipes for my son. I was struck by your photography. I enjoy capturing images, but truly love looking at great photography. I have been looking at your website for a few days now, and looking for a blog relating to your journey as a photographer, and this is the only one I have found. I would really enjoy reading more about your experiences and your knowledge on photography. Do you have another place on your site that you talk about just taking pictures. Your website is so inspiring and my son has tagged a number of recipes that I will be trying out. Thank you for sharing your wealth and love of cooking and photography with us.

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Doreen November 26, 2016 at 4:16 pm

these falafels had a wonderful taste!! I would make them again, they are pretty easy to make if you have to right sized mixer…(big enough to mix all the ingredients in one shot).
Definitely worth making a nice sauce with them so that it’s not too dry… I made the peppered hummus but next time i’ll probably make the lemon tahini sauce as well!
Have you tried these in the oven?
Thanks for this tasty recipe!

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Angela Liddon December 16, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Hi Doreen, It’s great to hear you enjoyed them! I haven’t tried these particular falafels in the oven myself—if you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes—but in my first cookbook, I do share a recipe for Oil-Free Baked Falafel Bites that you might be interested in, too.

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Gale February 8, 2017 at 10:11 pm

Angela,

The first time I tried this recipe, it was perfect. However the subsequent two times I’ve used your exact measurements as directed, and the falafel comes out tasting so astringent it’s unpalatable, beyond fixing, and I’ve had to throw the whole batch out.

I’m really open to anywhere you might see I’m going wrong. I loved how these were the first time, and am beyond disappointed with how this keeps turning out.

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Angela Liddon February 15, 2017 at 10:50 am

Hi Gale, How strange! I’m so sorry to hear that. My guess is that it might be the fresh herbs? Maybe try cutting them back a little. Or it could be ground flax gone bad/rancid. Flax has a very strong flavour even when fresh, so that could be what you’re detecting? Please let us know how it goes if you try it again!

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Sarah April 22, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Can I use almond flour in replacement of bread crumbs?

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Melisa Wilson July 18, 2017 at 8:20 pm

Your recipes are AMAZING!! So far I’ve made the Caulipower Alfredo pasta and tonight I made the falafels–this was my first time making and eating it loll. Everyone had seconds of both dishes :D.

Thank you for sharing!!

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Angela Liddon July 19, 2017 at 9:09 am

Oh, so happy it was a hit, Melisa!! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know you’re enjoying the recipes :)

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Doreen September 28, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Perfect recipe. Balance of spices and texture are PERFECT. Made them in the oven and was just as good fried I think!

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