12th June: International falafel day

If you’ve never tried falafels before or think it’s just a food for veggies I’d urge you to give them a try. Falafel is a snack that is increasingly growing in popularity, and is now the second most common dish made from chickpeas.
The main ingredient is chickpeas, so falafels contain a good balance of carbohydrate, protein and fibre, and make a great basis for a healthy meal. They contain many vitamins and minerals, in particular folate magnesium and iron, both of which are needed for healthy blood.

Eat your falafels with plenty of salad and dips. Try hummus, spicy salsa and a garlic tzatziki.

To get in the spirit of International Falafel Day, here are some of my favourite falafel recipes for you to try yourself at home.

Simple falafels
Makes 6

Ingredients
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp cumin seeds
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 egg

Method
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large pan, then fry the spring onions and garlic over a low heat for 5 mins until softened.
Transfer into a large bowl with the chickpeas and cumin seeds, then mash together with a fork or potato masher until the chickpeas are totally broken down.
Stir in the parsley and season with a pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper.
Beat the egg and then add it and mix with your hands and mould into 6 balls. Flatten each into a pattie.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan, then fry the falafels on a medium heat for 3 mins on each side, until golden brown.

Spicy falafels

Ingredients
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
½ red chilli, desseded and finely chopped
1 tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Juice of half a lemon
2 tsp harissa paste
1 tsp allspice
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1 egg

Method
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large pan, then fry the spring onions, garlic and chilli over a low heat for 5 mins until softened.
Transfer into a large bowl with the chickpeas, lemon juice, harissa paste and allspice then mash together with a fork or potato masher until the chickpeas are totally broken down.
Stir in the parsley and season with a pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper.
Beat the egg and then add it and mix with your hands and mould into 6 balls.
Flatten each into a pattie.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan, then fry the falafels on a medium heat for 3 mins on each side, until golden brown.

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