Falafel is like the Middle Eastern answer to fast food – they’re quick, they’re tasty, and they’re vegan too!
When I first encountered veganism I remember being slightly confused – did they mean vegetarianism or is this something completely different? For those of you still confused, the vegan diet excludes any animal products. So, like vegetarians, vegans don’t eat meat, but they also don’t eat any dairy or egg products. Now, this may sound like a very limited and complicated diet, but I can assure you that all of you have eaten a vegan dish without even realising it. Pasta with tomato sauce? Vegan. Jacket potato with beans? Vegan. Falafel in pitta bread? Vegan. Having tried veganism out of curiosity for a few months myself I can only recommend it. It doesn’t matter whether you do it for health or ethical reasons, what I love about veganism is that it really makes you think about food. If you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut when it comes to your cooking, try veganism as a one-week challenge to yourself. Besides, with so many fruits and vegetables, veganism is about as healthy as you can get.
Now, I like to serve my falafel with some toasted pitta breads, some lettuce, peppers and hummus and make a big spread where everybody can help themselves, but you can always make them in advance and add them to a couscous meal or even an oriental lamb dish. If you’re not cooking for vegans feel free to add one egg to the mixture as this will bind the ingredients and lower the chances of your falafel falling apart when frying. If you, or one of your friends is vegan, add water to the mix if you feel that it’s too dry. Also make sure that you finely chop the onions – that way you can achieve a more homogenous mixture. And finally, if you’re lucky enough to own a food processor, simply whiz all the ingredients up! You’ll be able to make falafel in no time at all.
1 can chickpeas
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic
1-2 tbsp breadcrumbs or flour
Salt and pepper to taste
– if you are feeling authentic, go for cumin and coriander!
Vegetable or sunflower oil for frying
To serve as a spread:
Lettuce leaves, torn
1 large pepper, sliced and quickly cooked
Watch the video for instructions, and do get in touch if you have any questions, as silly as you think they might be!
Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.