October 11, 2010

Falafel with Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Salad

Ever since I had those mung bean falafels at the Organic Produce Cafe, I've been thinking about making falafel myself. I eat chickpeas quite often, and always prefer using the dried chickpeas to the canned ones. The canned stuff just doesn't have the right texture! So these falafels didn't end up being the mung bean version (but I'm sure I'll return to that later), but they taste equally delicious.

Chickpeas are a great source of protein for especially all those who follow a vegetarian diet, and they are incredibly versatile! You can have them in patties like these ones, in salads, you can roast them spiced and have them as snacks, you can add them into stews or curries, and the list goes on! And they go so well with a lot of spices like cumin (which I love), turmeric, coriander, garam masala, etc etc.

The roasted eggplant and tomato salad is such a nice addition as I wanted to make something a bit more wholesome to go with the falafels. I actually really like sumac, and if you haven't yet tried this spice, I urge you to give it ago!

Falafel with Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Salad
(Recipe adapted from taste.com)

165g dried chickpeas, soaked in fresh water overnight, and drained well
1 small brown onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
zest of one lemon, finely grated
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp baking powder

1 large eggplant (aubergine), cut into 2,5 cm chunks
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
olive oil

big handful of rocket, washed
1/2 Spanish onion, finely sliced
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley
1/4 tsp sumac
1 tbs lemon olive oil (or extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice)
1 tbs red wine vinegar
tiny pinch of sea salt flakes
freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup organic fat-free yoghurt, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the eggplant and the tomato on a roasting tin lined with baking paper. Massage the vegetable pieces with olive oil. Roast in oven for 15 minutes or until brown and beginning to soften. Leave to cool.

Place the chickpeas in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to boil. Turn the heat down and let simmer for 5-7 minutes or until just beginning to tenderise. Take off the heat and drain. Let cool slightly.

Place the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander, baking powder, lemon zest and juice in a food processor and process until smooth. Divide the mixture into small portions (8-10) and shape into patties. Place the patties on a baking tray lined with baking paper and brush with some olive oil. Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes turning them halfway through cooking.

Place the Spanish onion, rocket, mint, parsley and the cooled down eggplant and tomato in a large bowl. Add the sumac, salt, pepper, lemon olive oil and vinegar and toss well to coat.

Arrange the salad on a plate with the falafel and serve with a dollop of yoghurt.