Summer is upon us here in the Northern hemisphere and summer brings along barbeques, potlucks, and picnics. And with these lovely gatherings brings the need to have a great dish to bring that travels well, is relatively easy to make, and can be made in advance which is where my favorite 2 Mezze plates come in. Falafel and hummus are relatively easy to make, taste amazing, and if you have people with special diets they are Vegan and can be made Gluten Free!
Making falafel on the weekend is also something I love to do so I have easy to prepare lunches for the work week. You can add falafel to salads, make a falafel sandwich with your fresh made hummus and pita, or bring your whole mezze platter as a lunch. Its a food that makes it so easy to bring a healthy and easy lunch to work everyday which is a win win in my book. So roll up your sleeves and make these fantastic dishes that you can share with everyone at your next gathering or for any time because falafel and hummus is the best!
Both of these recipes are adapted from the most wonderful of books Jerusalem A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi and if you are on Food52 you can check out the Falafel and Hummus recipes there as well.
1 Recipe Falafel (see below)
1 Recipe Hummus (see below)
Any other sides that you please I like:
Quick Pickled Cucumbers
If using cold falafel I like to cut them in half and heat them on an oiled pan.
Assemble your hummus, falafel, and other mezze dishes together
I like a heavily spiced and flavored falafel which is why I use so much of the whole spices. I use fenugreek seeds in my mix because I like the flavor when they are toasted but if you don’t have access to it or don’t want to use it I would substitute some coriander and cumin.
1 1/4 cup dried Chickpeas
1/4 cup chopped Parsley Leaves
1/2 of a small Onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
2 tsp Whole Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Whole Fenugreek Seeds
3 tsp Whole Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp dried Cilantro
3 tsp + 1/4 cup of Whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp of Citric Acid or 2 tsp Lemon Juice
After combing through your chickpeas to make sure no rocks or broken chickpeas are included place your chickpeas In a medium sized bowl. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover + an additional 3-4 inches and let your chickpeas soak for at least 8 hours to overnight. Do not try to substitute canned chickpeas for this as they have been cooked and will not have enough structure for making falafel.
After your chickpeas have soaked drain out the water and transfer to your food processor.
Into your food processor add in the chopped parsley, garlic, onion, and 3 tbsp of the whole wheat flour
Blitz your food processor until the mixture is ground into small pieces but is not pasty or mushy. Once the mix is a good pea-meal consistency (like a pie dough) transfer to another bowl
Measure out all your whole spices and toast them in a small pan.
Once the spices are toasted let them cool and grind them up in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
Add in your fresh ground spice mixture, chili powder, dried cilantro, remaining 1bsp of whole wheat flour, salt to taste, and citric acid (you can use lemon juice instead for the slight acid kick but it adds extra wetness so you might need to add another tsp of flour)
Mix everything together and let rest in the refrigerator for about an hour
Prepare your frying vessel (I use a deep cast iron pan) with oil about 4 inches deep and heat to until it is hot
While the oil is heating up prepare your falafel balls. Set up a shallow bowl with 1/4 cup of the whole wheat flour and shape your falafel mix into ball shapes about the size of a walnut. Once shaped roll the falafel in the flour, this step will make sure your falafel has a nice brown crust and will help it keep it’s shape
Once the oil is hot place few of your falafel in the pan leaving breathing room between them. I usually fry about 5 in my 12″ pan at one time. Cook them for about 4 minutes this time ensures a nice crisp outside and a well cooked inside
Set on a cooling rack and fry up the rest of your falafel, serve when warm or cold.
This is the recipe I go to every time I want to make hummus, now I do it by sight and experience but this is the base. You can also use dried chickpeas instead of can which is usually what I do but sometimes you just want instant gratification. See my first Kitchen Essential: Dried Chickpeas for directions on how to prepare dried chickpeas.
1 Can Chickpeas
Juice of 1 Medium Lemon
1 Tbsp Tahini
1/4 Cold Water
About 3 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Into your food processor combine your chickpeas, juice of one lemon, tahini, most of your cold water (reserve about 3tbsp to add while processing), and salt.
Turn your food processor on high and start adding your olive oil in a steady stream into the mix until it starts to come together and smooth out (about 3 tbsp).
Continue processing on high and add in the rest of the water if needed to make sure the hummus is nice and smooth.
Run the food processor for an additional minute on high to make sure it is very very smooth.
Once your hummus is nice and smooth taste for salt levels and pour out into your serving vessel and serve.