Spiced chickpea balls are our version of falafel, using cooked chickpeas instead of dried. Traditionally falafel is made using dried chickpeas or dried fava beans soaked overnight. It is usually deep fried for a crisp outside and soft centre. Our version is made easy by using cooked tinned chickpeas and more health conscious than the deep fried version but still packed full of flavour.
You can be experimental with the different spices and herbs and use this recipe as a base. Add more garlic or spring onion, reduce the coriander and add mint. I love fresh herbs so always end up adding more of each as well as fresh mint and a a little bit of chilli.
I add a little bit of bicarbonate of soda to help with the falafel’s fluffy texture. I have chosen bicarb rather than baking powder as there is some acidity coming from the lemon juice but use baking powder if you have no bicarb to hand.
The spiced chickpea balls can be made in advance and kept in the fridge or freezer. I like to fry them first for a bit of colour then let them cool before putting in the fridge. When your ready to eat them just put in a hot oven for 15 minutes (add 5 mins if cooking straight from frozen) and always check they’re pipping hot inside.
1 x tin cooked chickpeas, drained
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
Method for Spiced Chickpea Balls:
- Put all the ingredients except the baking powder in the food processor and pulse 5 times or until mixture is well mixed but there is still some texture to the chickpeas.
- Take out half the mixture and place in a large bowl. Blitz the rest into more of paste like consistency (roughly another 10 seconds mixing). Combine the two mixtures togetehr, check the seasoning and add more spices, herbs, lemon, salt and pepper to taste.
- At this stage you can fridge the dough for a few hours as it can be easier to shape but it’s not neccesary. Roughly divide into into 7-8 portions and shape into balls. Alternatively you can weigh each ball at 40g.
- Heat 1 tbsp rapeseed oil in a frying pan. When hot gently place the balls in the hot oil. Fry hot for 5 minutes, making sure to turn the balls half way through cooking,
- When ready to eat heat the oven to 200C (180C fan) and bake the falafel for 15 minutes until golden and hot in the middle (5 minutes longer from frozen).
Chickpea balls are also a great vegan alternative to meatballs, delicious served on spiralized courgette with arribiata sauce.