One of the most delicious vegetarian foods in the Middle Eastern kitchen is Falafel. These days falafel is known all over the world and there are many varieties for the mixes and spices. There are even ready-made mixes where you just have to add some water and your falafel are ready to fry. You might also wonder why I called it “gluten-free” falafel and you might ask, “But isn’t falafel gluten-free by nature?” The answer is “NO”.
Many shops that are specialized in falafel add some wheat flour or some bulgur wheat to the mix to make it hold better during the frying process. I even looked at several recipes online for falafel and found out that most of them call for adding some flour to the mix. Moreover, most of the ready mixes contain gluten. Well now, you do not have to worry about eating falafel. Do it at home during this Lent season, serve it with tahini sauce (tarator), and enjoy it with the whole family!

Ingredients (Falafel)

Yields: 25 falafel (each portion)

- 500 grams dry chickpeas
- 2 medium size onions cut into chunks
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 cups coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 1 ½ tsp cumin powder
- 1 ½ tsp dried coriander powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda(for half portion)
- 4 cups vegetable oil for frying (I use canola)

Method (Falafel)

  1. Wash the chickpeas and soak in water overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the chickpeas from the water and put them on a kitchen towel to dry for few minutes.
  3. Put the chickpeas in the food processor and grind until you get a paste.
  4. Transfer the ground chickpeas to a bowl.
  5. Put the onions, garlic, and coriander leaves in the food processor and grind well.
  6. Add this mix to the chickpeas.
  7. Add the cumin, coriander, salt and black pepper and mix well with your hands.
  8. Keep the mix in the fridge for at least two hours before frying.
  9. This mix yields a big quantity so what I usually do is divide the mix into two parts.
  10. Freeze one part for another time and add 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda to the other half just before frying.
  11. Mix well.
  12. Put the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan on the heat.
  13. Once the oil is ready, take tablespoonful (one at a time) of the mix and drop in the hot oil. (It will be better to use a falafel mold if you have one).
  14. Fry the falafel on one side until brown and crispy. Flip to the other side.
  15. Once the falafel are ready, take them out of the oil and put them on paper towels for few minutes.
  16. Serve the falafel with tahini sauce (tarator) and chopped vegetables like tomatoes, parsley, mint, radish and lettuce. Serve it also with pickles and our gluten-free pita bread.
  17. As for the frozen portion take it out of the freezer whenever you need it. Let it thaw, and then add 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda before frying.














Ingredients (Tahini sauce)

- 2 cups tahini paste
- Juice of two lemons
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed (optional)

Method

  1. Put the tahini paste in a bowl and add the lemon juice, salt, and garlic (if using).
  2. Mix slowly until you get a very thick paste.
  3. Start adding the cold water gradually and mix with a whisk until you reach the consistency of yoghurt.
  4. If you like the sauce to be thinner, add more cold water.
  5. Refrigerate for 2 hours before using.