A can of chickpeas can help shake you out of a dinnertime rut – blitz them in the food processor with onion, garlic, cilantro and spices, and the mixture is easy to shape into patties and fry until crisp. Serve with tzatziki and a fattoush salad made with toasted pitas. While you’re noshing, roast strawberries with a drizzle of honey to serve over vanilla ice cream for a tasty dessert.
1 19 oz. (540 ml) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 small purple or white onion, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh cilantro
2–4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp (5 ml) cumin
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt pinch dried chilli flakes (optional)
1/4 cup (60 ml) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp (1 ml) baking powder
canola oil, for cooking
1 head romaine, washed and roughly chopped
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 English cucumber, chopped
2 whole wheat pitas, toasted and broken into pieces
1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved
vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
Set the oven to 375F.
Make the falafel patties: Combine the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, salt and chili flakes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the flour and baking powder and pulse until you have a soft mixture that you can roll into balls without sticking to your hands – it should still be slightly chunky. Add another spoonful or so of flour if you need to.
Put the pita on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
While the pita is warming, roll the mixture into meatball-sized balls and flatten slightly into a thick patty. In a shallow pot or wide, heavy skillet, heat about 1/2-inch of canola oil until it’s hot but not smoking – a scrap of bread should sizzle if you dip it in. Cook a few falafel patties at a time for a couple minutes per side, until deep golden and crunchy. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Assemble a salad with romaine, tomatoes, cucumber and pita pieces. Drizzle with vinaigrette right before serving. Plate the warm falafel patties with tzatziki and the fattoush salad.
Before you sit down to eat, spread the strawberries out on a parchment-lined sheet, drizzle with honey and slide into the oven for 10–15 minutes, or until softened and turning golden. Serve warm or cooled over vanilla ice cream.
Per serving (with 3/4 cup vanilla ice cream): 593 calories, 20.8 g fat (4.75 g saturated fat, 10.6 g monounsaturated fat, 5.4 g polyunsaturated fat), 21 mg cholesterol, 89.5 g carbohydrate, 15.6 g protein, 14.3 g fibre.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, May 2015.