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Baked falafel with tomato herb salad & tahini sauce

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Prep 30minBake 20min Makes 6 serves

Traditionally deep-fried, this lighter version of the much-loved Middle Eastern falafel is baked. Teamed with a fresh herb and tomato salad and tasty tahini dressing, it makes a deliciously light meal.

Ingredients

lemon wedges, to serve

Baked falafel

80ml (⅓ cup) olive oil

300g dried chickpeas, soaked in water for 12-24 hours (see Baker’s tips)

1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

½ cup coarsely chopped coriander

½ cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

6 green shallots, white and pale green part only, sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted

2 teaspoons ground coriander

pinch cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Tahini sauce

135g (½ cup) tahini (see Baker’s tips)

120-140ml water

1 small garlic clove, crushed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

130g (½ cup) Greek-style natural yoghurt

Tomato & herb salad

500g mixed ripe tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on the size

⅔ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

⅔ cup small mint leaves

55g (⅓ cup) currants, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes and drained

¼ teaspoon sugar

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Brush a large oven tray generously with half the oil.
  2. To make the baked falafel, place all the ingredients, except the remaining oil, in a food processor and use the pulse button to process until well combined and a rough paste forms. To test if it has been processed enough, press a little of the mixture in your hands. If it holds together, it is ready; if not, process for another 10 seconds and test again.
  3. Shape tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls, massaging and pressing with your palms so the mixture holds together. Flatten slightly to form patties about 1 cm thick and 4 cm in diameter. Place on the oiled tray close together. Brush the patties generously with the remaining oil.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the patties over and bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden and crisp on the outside and warmed through.
  5. Meanwhile, to make the tahini sauce, put the tahini in a medium bowl and gradually stir in the water (it will become thicker before it starts to thin). Stir through the yoghurt, garlic and lemon. Season well with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until required.
  6. To make the tomato & herb salad, put all the ingredients in a bowl and toss gently to combine.
  7. Divide the salad among serving plates, top with the falafel and drizzle with the tahini sauce.
Baker's Tips

Remember different batches of dried chickpeas will need various soaking times - the easiest way to tell when they’re ready to use is that they will crush easily when pressed between your fingers.
Use hulled (as opposed to unhulled) tahini to make your sauce for a less bitter flavour.

Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.

This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: Lebanese column.
View previous Bakeproof columns and recipes here.

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