Meatless Monday: Buffalo Falafel

Published August 5, 2013 by jenmatteson

I’ve never had falafel before, but I’ve always wanted to try it.  I never really thought I’d be making it the first time I tried it though.  Falafel is a dish that is eaten throughout the middle east, and widely accepted as being first eaten in Egypt.  Often served in a pita, falafel is traditionally made of ground chickpeas, fava beans, or sometimes both.  The beans are formed into a patty or ball and then deep-fried.  Toppings and sauces for falafel can range anywhere from a traditional tahini based sauce to hot sauce or pickled vegetables.  Any way you serve it up, I would definitely like to get down on that!

Buffalo Falafel

I saw this recipe on Thug Kitchen (yes, him again), and wanted to try it right away.  Not only because of the buffalo sauce, but also because it was a creative way to use cauliflower.  The ground cauliflower and chickpeas are mixed together along with some other seasonings and some breadcrumbs to create the falafel ball.  Then, these are baked, unlike the traditionally fried falafel.  I didn’t make my own buffalo sauce as was noted in Thug Kitchen, I just went for my trusty stand by, Franks Red Hot.

Buffalo Falafel

I served these in Flat Outs, though pita bread might have been a better idea to contain the messy.  Nate was fairly indifferent to the buffalo falafel, but I liked it.  It did have too much cauliflower taste, but I think that was my fault as the recipe called for 1/3 of a pound of cauliflower, and not having a kitchen scale, I just guessed.  I thought I may have used about twice as much cauliflower as was necessary.  After a little Googling, turns out, I probably used about 4 times as much as necessary!  1/3 pound is only about 1/2 cup.  Oh well, lesson learned!  Google first next time.  I also garnished these with avocado, lettuce, onions, and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Buffalo Falafel

Buffalo Falafel

Source: Thug Kitchen
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1-15 oz can, rinsed
1/3 pound cauliflower (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp all-purpose seasoning blend (use whatever you like – I used some chipotle seasoning)
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
1/2 cup buffalo sauce (I use Franks Red Hot)

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly spray olive oil on a foil lined baking sheet.

2. In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it resembles rice.  Add the chickpeas and process until it forms a smooth paste.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add onion, garlic, oil, seasoning and breadcrumbs.  The mixture should easily form into balls, but if it’s too dry, add a little water.  If it’s too moist, add a little more breadcrumbs.  Form balls slightly larger than ping-pong balls and place on prepared baking sheet.  The mixture should make about 12.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they start to become golden and brown.  Don’t forget to flip halfway through.

3. Once the falafel are done cooking, gently push to the center of the baking sheet and coat with buffalo sauce, reserving a little for serving.  Return to oven for another 5 minutes to allow the falafel to absorb the flavor.  Top with remaining buffalo sauce as desired.

4. Serve falafel in pita, wraps, Flat Outs, over a salad, or however else you would like it.  I added avocado, lettuce, onions and a little Greek yogurt for garnish.

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