linabsolitely love falafel but am always so disappointed by shop bought ones which are dry and tasteless. This recipe might seem like a long list of ingredients but it’s a great meat-free meal, packed with nutritious ingredients and a Fair few ingredients come straight from your store cupboard.
Bulgar wheat is a fabulous grain to use in place of rice, cous cous or quinoa. It’s commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes so goes brilliantly with these healthy, baked falafel. It goes through minimal processing, preserving the nutritional values including magnesium, iron and fibre.
Chickpeas are also a phenomenal ingredient, primarily being super rich in protein (14.4g per cup) and rich in nutrients and fibre. Their nutritional benefits, when eaten as part of a colourful, varied diet can help improve digestion, control weight loss and reduce risk of several diseases.
Most crucially, this dish is packed with flavour and should keep most people happy! I’ve written the recipe for two but you could easily double (or triple) up on the bulgar wheat salad and keep a bowl in the fridge for extra lunches topped with more falafel, cooked meats or fish! The options are endless!
Baked Falafel and Bulgar Wheat Salad
Takes about 45 minutes from start to finish!
For the falafel:
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp sea salt flakes
1 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
20g plain flour
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil spray
For the tzatziki
100ml plain yoghurt
2 inch piece of cucumber, grated
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
pinch sea salt
For the bulgar wheat salad:
100g bulgar wheat
400ml boiling vegetable stock
1 red pepper
Juice from 1 lemon
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint and parsley
To serve: pomegranate seeds (1/2 pomegranate)
First make your falafel:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200° fan.
2. To a pan on a medium heat, add your olive oil and chopped onion. Cook until soft for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and coriander and fry for a further two minutes.
3. Add to a blender along with the chickpeas and blitz until smooth.
4. Add the chopped herbs, plain flour and seasoning and incorporate with a spoon. If the mix still feels too wet to mould into balls, add a little more flour until you’re able to roll into balls (not too much though otherwise they’ll be dry).
5. Roll into equal sized balls (the mix should make 12 golf ball sized balls) and place on a baking tray.
6. Spray each ball with oil (2-3 sprays each) and pop in the oven for 25 minutes.
Then you can make your bulgar wheat salad:
7. In a saucepan, add your bulgar wheat and hot vegetable stock and boil for 12-15 minutes on a medium heat until all the stock has been absorbed.
8. Chop the aubergine, courgette and pepper into 1cm chunks. In a large frying pan, heat a tbsp oil and fry the vegetables for 10-12 minutes until soft and golden. Alternatively you can bake these in the oven for 10-15 minutes on a small baking tray. Set aside.
9. Make your tatziki by combining all the ingredients together in a bowl. Taste and season how you like.
10. With 5 minutes to go before your falafel is cooked, remove from the oven, spray again with oil and turn up the temp to 220° to give them a final crispy crust. They should be beautifully golden and crisp, if not, just bake for an extra couple of minutes.
11. Add your fried veg to the cooked bulgar wheat and finish with the lemon and herbs. Mix together and season.
Serve the crispy baked falafel on a bed of the lemony vegetable bulgar wheat with a dollop of tatziki on top!