Summer is here and I am digging on all of the summer bounties. Once again I am trying desperately to get some zucchini into our lives. Lenny is like a five-year-old when I serve it, and I have found if I sneak into a few recipes he is totally okay. This recipe for a deliciously easy to make Baked Falafel does exactly that. Perfect for your picky eaters or at least those that also dislike one of the summer’s pleasures, the zucchini.
I started making this recipe last year after being inspired by the following recipes; Brian from A Thought for Food, Meeta from What’s for Lunch Honey, and Sneh from Cook Republic. Falafel is one of our favorite things to eat, and we have not found a place in Oakland that we like, in fact, we use to like a few places in San Francisco, but they are not up to par these days either. The best ones are really in the Marais in Paris, but since it is too far to go there when the craving hit, I decided it was time to work on a recipe for Chez Us.
These little bites are loaded with flavor as I used an abundance of fresh herbs. The secret to a moist, baked falafel is grated zucchini. You will never even know it is in there; trust me I tried it out many times on a certain zucchini hater. I prefer not to fry our food unless it is a basket of chicken, so I baked the little nuggets. Toasted sesame seeds not only give them some crunch but also a little extra flavor too.
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2 cups chickpeas, drained well
1/2 cup mint, packed
1/2 cup parsley, packed
1/2 cup cilantro, packed
1 medium garlic clove, remove the skin
1 medium shallot, remove the skin
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons zahtar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup of zucchini, finely grated and squeeze the moisture out
4 tablespoons chickpea flour
3/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, optional, only if you want to crunch
tahini sauce for serving
pita bread for serving
In the bowl of a food processor place the first 6 ingredients and blend until finely chopped.
Sprinkle in the spices, as well as the lemon juice and olive oil, give a whirl, then place the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
Add the zucchini and the chickpea flour and fold together with a spatula.
Place in the refrigerator for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 425.
Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and form into small bowls. I use an OXO medium cookie dough scoop.
Roll the balls in the sesame seeds if you are using.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Slightly flatten with your hand.
Repeat until all of the mixtures if used.
Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, then place in the oven.
Bake for 15 minutes, then flip with a metal spatula and bake for another 15 minutes.