This is a three parter so I’m not going to waffle on for ages like I normally do and just get on with it – thank goodness says you;)

What I must say very quickly though is that this, in my humble opinion, is the holy grail of baked falafel recipes. I have searched high and low for the perfect one and I really do think this is it: crunchy on the outside, moist on the in, packed full of flavour and the right amount of spice, healthy because it’s baked, you can use canned chickpeas and they won’t fall apart – need I go on? Suffice to say this is not my creation although I would love to take credit for them. A much better cook and blogger than myself posted about these frickin’ fabulous darn diggity awesome balls of loveliness and all I am merely doing is passing on the love:

http://chowvegan.com/2009/01/06/baked-falafel/

Yes, I may be an inferior being to the wonderful chow vegan but that’s fine because the most important thing is that we all get to enjoy these mind blowingly good, veggie equivalent of the hearty meatball, and all round chickpea crowd pleaser.

Lastly, I owe my tabblouleh inspiration to the one and only Ottolenghi, an omnivore who sure as hell knows how to work those vegetables:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/aug/01/yotam-ottolenghi-vegetarian-tabbouleh

p.s. In salads I prefer scallions to red onion mainly because having onion breath all day is not my idea of fun:)

Didn’t do very well with the not waffling bit, did I? Sheesh, I tire myself sometimes!

Falafel

ingredients:

1 can organic chickpeas

1/2 onion

2 cloves garlic

2 heaped tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 lemon

tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degress fahrenheit/190 celsius.

Drain and rinse chickpeas. Transfer to a small bowl and crush with a fork.

Finely dice the onion. Add to the chickpeas along with the garlic, cumin, chilli, parsley, baking, flour and mix thoroughly. Next add the juice of half a lemon, tablespoon of olive oil, seasoning and combine until it begins to come together. It will still be a little crumbly so don’t worry. Whatever you do, do not be tempted to throw everything into the food processor – we’re not making hummus:)

Take a tablespoon of the mixture and as best as you can roll into a ball. You may have to coax it by pressing it firmly together so it will adhere. You should get approximately 9 balls. Set in fridge for up to an hour.

Lightly oil a baking tray and transfer the balls. I like to flatten them a little by pressing down with my fingers. That way they get a nice crispy top and bottom.

Bake for fifteen minutes each side and serve with……

Tabbouleh

ingredients:

1 cup bulgar wheat

3 scallions (spring onions)

2 tomatoes

1/2 bunch (a large bunch) parsley

1 heaped teaspoon cumin

1/2 lemon (the other half!)

2/3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper.

In a bowl measure out 1 cup bulgar wheat and add to it one cup of boiling water. Cover with a plate and leave to soak for 30mins.

Finely chop the scallions and dice the tomatoes. Gather your bunch of parsley and chop as finely as you possibly can, going over it repeatedly if you have to – careful not to bruise it and avoid the food processor at all costs.

When the bulgar wheat has soaked for a sufficient amount of time transfer to a large bowl. Some people like to rinse bulgar wheat before and/or after. I don’t and it always turns out beautifully – it’s a matter of choice I guess. Add the rest of the ingredients: scallions, tomatoes, parsley, cumin, seasoning, lemon juice and oil. Mix thoroughly. As Ottolenghi said ‘the parsley is the star of the show’, so if you feel the ratio of bulgar wheat to parsley isn’t right then add more herbage. I felt mine was just about perfect for mine and hubbie’s tastes.

Set in fridge and go about making the other accompaniment….

Cucumber Salad

ingredients:

1/2 cucumber

teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Peel the cucumber. Slice very finely. In a shallow bowl or dish spread out the cucumber and sprinkle with sugar. Pour the white wine vinegar evenly over the cucumber and set in fridge for 10-15mins, giving it a stir once.

This is also lovely sprinkled with some freshly chopped dill.

Phew! Well that’s it:) Totally worth it in every way I promise and I think it would work really well for a dinner party because you can prepare everything beforehand – can’t ask for better than that!

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