Monday, March 4, 2013

Meatless Mondays: Baked Falafel Bites

I have to admit I have been very "green" this week. No, not with envy. But thinking of all the "green" St. Patrick's day goodies I want to make. As I got to thinking about this popular March hue, I thought not just about baking up green items and wearing green this month, but more about being "green".  I decided to ask my students that very question. What does it mean to be green? 

 I then got thinking about this blog as I was dreaming up this St. Patrick's  day project for my students about living green. How could I be a more green cook or baker in my kitchen? Practice what you preach, right?  When I first set out to write this blog, I set out with the intent to share recipes that are "seasonal and on budget".  Not sure I have always succeeded here- but I think I have tried. I know I can surely do better.  As I continue to eat, bake, and blog I want to do so but a littler "greener" if you will. 

You all may not know this, but I grew up on a farm. I was an active member in 4-H and learned how to sew, cook, and show animals and did regularly.  We owned at any given point cows, chickens, sheep, pigs, and horses. I grew up not realizing that I lived quite green.  We had farm fresh eggs (we just had to collect them out back). We had a vegetable garden in the summertime. Digging up the potatoes with my grandfather was always my favorite. And yes we raised and butchered our own meat.  A freezer full of the freshest and most local produce and meat you could find. We didn't waste any produce and I remember all too well helping my mother make jam and freeze local fruit for winter. It was simply cheaper; that is why we did it. It wasn't about saving the Earth or reducing our carbon footprint. It is just what made sense. I think it has taken me awhile to realize just how valuable those lessons really were. I have a natural passion I think to want to live more "farm to table". Doing so in a city can be challenging, though. Not impossible...just a little more challenging. So as I continue on this blog, I am going to try and focus (as I first set out to do) to cook and bake a little greener, a little more sustainably.

This recipe is not a bad start I don't think. I made these little baked falafel bites. It's a perfect "Meatless Monday" recipe that you can prepare ahead of time and have for lunch all week. That's what I am planning to do with these little bites.  Yes it is cheaper and used up some produce I had on hand; so that's good. It also helps with that carbon footprint. Did you know that going "meatless on Mondays" is one of 12 ways to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions" due to livestock production?   How will you be more green this week? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Step one: Chop up your fresh produce!

Step two: Gather your dry ingredients!

Step three: Put all in a food processor and give it a good chop!

Step four: Scoop into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Give them a quick spray and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Flip over and bake another 10-15 minutes.  

Baked Falafel Bites
adapted (slightly) from The Picky Eater

Print this recipe!
Please note: You don't need to make these gluten free and simply use regular flour or whole wheat flour if that is what you have on hand. I used a combination of gluten free flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs. You don't need to use breadcrumbs at all and use flour if that is what you have on hand.
  • One 15-oz. can chickpeas, well drained
  • 1 red onion, very finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup gluten- free flour
  • 1/8 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs(you could also try using panko breadcrumbs or whole wheat breadcrumbs.
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika, or more to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
The Directions
1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place all ingredients for falafel (except for the baking powder, and nonstick spray) in a food processor, and give them a good chop.
2. Transfer into a bowl, add the baking powder and stir together. Using a potato masher, mash any big chunks that remain – Mixture should remain slightly chunky, not smooth.
3. Spray a baking sheet thoroughly with olive oil nonstick spray. One at a time, scoop the mixture into 1-inch balls and gently place them on the baking sheet. Spray the top of each ball with olive oil nonstick spray, for a total of about a 2-second spray.
4. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
5. Remove baking sheet from the oven, and carefully turn each ball over, gently reshaping if the bottoms have flattened.
8. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes, until golden brown and slightly crispy. Allow to cool and set for at least 5 minutes.

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