Middle Eastern flavours for dinner

 

For a large batch of falafel;

  • 2 cups of dried chickpeas
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp of cayenne
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of black pepper

 

For two portions of beetroot mint salad;

  • 3 roasted or cooked beets
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp of capers
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • A pinch salt of salt and pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

 

We lived in Jordan for some years and I think I never tasted such good falafel as there. So sometimes when we miss the Jordanian flavours,  we make our version of falafel at home. Normally falafel is deep-fried, but this is a healthier spin on the original recipe. Equally delicious and crispy though! This recipe makes a big batch; you can refrigerate the leftovers for several days or freeze them for a couple of months. To reheat, wrap them in parchment paper and bake at 180 degrees until they are hot throughout, 15 to 30 minutes depending on whether they were frozen.

Beetroot is of exceptional nutritional value; rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. Beetroots are also an excellent source of folic acid and a very good source of fiber, manganese and potassium. Mint is often used as an herb in salads throughout the Middle-East. It adds a nice freshness to the sweet flavour of the beets.

Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water. Be sure to add plenty of water as the beans will triple in volume as they soak. Soak overnight, till the chickpeas are soft enough you to break them apart between your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Drain the chickpeas and transfer them to a food processor with all the other ingredients. Pulse until everything is minced but not pureed, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides if necessary. Add a tablespoon of water if necessary but keep the mixture as dry as possible. Scoop balls of the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden-brown all over, 10 to 15 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, prepare the salad by chopping the beetroots and putting them in a bowl. Then whisk together the onion, capers, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper and pour this mixture over the beetroots. Add the mint and toss the salad gently till the beets are coated in the dressing and mint.

Serve the falafel with a few spoons of the beetroot salad and add some olives or humus if you like.

Enjoy!

Anna AJ