Classic Baked Falafel (Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Vegan)

Classic Baked Falafel (Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Vegan)

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In my last post, I discussed 7 books that have helped me transition to a plant-based diet. One of the books I included was The Oh She Glows Cookbook. Of course, I’m already knee-deep in trying the recipes from the book and have adapted her Oil-Free Falafel Bites, to share with you.  
 
I don’t like to publish recipes on this blog without permission, so I’m sharing my adaptation: a gluten-free baked falafel. I served these with the Lemon-Tahini Dressing that can be found on page 284 of The Oh She Glows Cookbook -and let me tell you, the book is worth getting for that dressing alone. Another good baked falafel recipe with tahini dressing is from Mark Bittman’s VB6 (another book that I reviewed in my last post), which can be found in the VB6 book and online, here.  If you need yet another option, check out my versatile Lemony Tahini Dressing. (I’m quickly discovering that healthy condiments are incredibly important to vegan food; they’re a great way to add flavour, nutrition and interest to vegetables, grains and beans.) 

Falafel are traditionally fried, which isn’t, of course, the healthiest option. Luckily, this falafel recipe is ultra crispy and oil-free, so I can eat falafel comfortably, without my gallbladder causing me any grief. I was skeptical about them browning without any oil, but they did manage to turn a beautiful golden brown, as you can see from the photo. 

Speaking of golden brown, consider the following fun chemistry fact: The browning of food is called the Maillard Reaction. You can now make interesting conversation at your next dinner party, while serving these delectable falafel. You can also be the star of the show, by impressing your guests with the nutritional information (below) of what they're eating. 
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My stash of dried chickpeas cost me $5.00. This will make approximately 25+ cups of cooked chickpeas -and I'm not even exaggerating! (Taken with my iPhone)
Health Benefits of Chickpeas

My favourite flavours and foods are Middle Eastern-inspired. Lots of cumin, sumac, lemon, tahini, mint, pomegranate and chickpeas. These flavours and foods offer a variety of health benefits, and they’re bold, so you can avoid bland-land. 

Chickpeas (aka Garbanzo Beans) originated in the Middle East and are a staple in many diets around the globe as a source of nutritious, sustainable, vegetarian protein. They offer an impressive array of vitamin and minerals including, folate, copper, manganese, iron, zinc and phosphorous.

Their high fibre content helps to sweep out excess LDL “bad” cholesterol, for enhanced cardiovascular health. If you’re looking to get more fibre in your diet, adding chickpeas is the perfect fix -just one cup of chickpeas contains 50% of your daily recommended fibre intake.

Along with being fabulously high in fibre, chickpeas are protein-rich and low in sugar, making them a superior food for blood sugar regulation, heart health and management of diabetes. They also have a rich, buttery taste that most people enjoy. Chickpeas are commonly found in hummus, which is a staple in my kitchen.   

Dried, roasted chickpeas can be turned into chickpea flour, which I used in this recipe to make these falafel gluten-free. Chickpea flour is gluten-free; high in protein, fibre and iron; and has a soft, nutty flavour. I even like to bake with it for a high-protein alternative to other gluten-free flours.

This clean falafel recipe is completely vegan, oil-free, gluten-free and stays true to the traditional falafel flavour. The tahini condiment, whichever of the 3 recipes mentioned above you use, is crucial to this dish -so don’t skip it! I’ve been keeping a double batch of the Lemon-Tahini Dressing from The Oh She Glows Cookbook and using it as a salad dressing/putting it on all my food. It’s addictive!   
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The Oh She Glows Cookbook's Lemon-Tahini Dressing is so good, you may be tempted to drink it with a straw. The recipe is on page 284 of the book.  
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I made a kale salad the following day for lunch, tossed with the Lemon-Tahini Dressing and topped it off with two leftover falafels. This is typically what my lunches look like. (Taken with my iPhone)
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The falafels lined up, all ready for the oven. You can make them ahead up to this point and keep them in the refrigerator. Or, you can freeze them for a make-ahead meal. This is a healthy, easy recipe that can be whipped up in a flash.  
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What are your favourite flavours in the kitchen? 

- See more at: http://cleanwellness.ca/2/post/2014/02/classic-baked-falafel-gluten-free-vegan.html#sthash.YzB7vXQs.dpuf

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