Fennel Falafel with Simple Salad

Fennel Falafel

My girlfriend Maggie and I recently celebrated two years of dating by heading up to Vancouver, BC for a long weekend getaway. We had a blast stroll through downtown and Granville Island, biking around Stanley Park, and taking in all the beautiful scenery. It’s a really wonderful area, absolutely worth a trip if you haven’t visited already.

We kind of overdid it on the food though.

We had a ton of great food while we were there, from organic farm-to-table at Fable to sublimely good Indian food at Vij’s. But a decadent multi-course meal at Wildebeest – which specializes in some of the most succulent meat you’ll ever taste – left us both a little bit of a food hangover at the end of our trip.

So when I got back, I decide to do a week of vegetarian eating to balance things it. It was in interesting experience – not one I’ll likely repeat again soon – but it did broaden my repitoire of recipes – including this falafel dish.

Traditionally a Middle Eastern food, falafel is now found in many different regional cuisines, leading to many styles and interpretations. The version in this recipe is definitely less traditional and more Greek-inspired with the addition of fresh oregano and fennel. The pair gives these falafel a more refreshing and simple flavor profile than you would find at most restaurants.

Stacked atop a simple salad of tomato, cucumber and vinegar, this dish makes for a perfect light summer meal!

Fennel Falafel with Simple Salad (makes 10-12 falafel)

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (~4 cups) of garbanzo beans, liquid drained away
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel seed
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup of flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. In a food processor combine the garbanzo beans, garlic, parsley, oregano, cumin, coriander, fennel, cayenne pepper, egg and lemon. Blend until there are no large chunks of garbanzo beans left, but not so much that it becomes a paste. This will depend on the strength of your food processor, so use your best judgement.
  2. Add the baking powder and flour and pulse a few more times until it is evenly incorporated. Remove the mixture to a bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. While your falafel mix is chilling, combine the cucumber, tomato and vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and chill, tossing every 10 minutes to evenly distribute the vinegar.
  4. Remove the falafel mix from the refrigerator. Form the mixture into patties about 1 inch in diameter dust each side with flour.
  5. Heat a skillet to medium-high and coat with vegetable oil. Working in batches, fry each side of the falafel for 3-5 minutes or until it just begins to brown. Set the cooked ones on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
  6. Spoon a generous portion of salad onto a plate and stack falafel on top. Serve with tzatziki or simple unflavored yogurt.
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