I think that if I ever went purely vegetarian, one of the things I would miss the most was a good hamburger. This recipe, when I first found it, was labeled as a vegetarian burger. While I can honestly say that the patties were delicious, it takes a very special blend of vegetarian ingredients to make a truly satisfying hamburger, as the patty itself needs a certain amount of juiciness that’s almost impossible to get with beans, lentils, or chickpeas. (I’m dying to try this recipe from 101 Cookbooks, though.) However, this recipe makes a truly superb falafel wrap filling, or it can be eaten on its own.
Falafel are fried or baked pieces of ground chickpeas, and are thought to have originated in Egypt. The chickpea in this recipe is paired with couscous, meaning you’ve got a complete protein—a great vegetarian option! These are so easy and cheap to make, keep well, and taste like a charm. Enjoy!
Chickpea & Couscous Falafel
Makes: 8-9 patties
Cooking time: 25 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups prepared vegetable or other stock
- 1 cup raw couscous
- 1 tin cooked chickpeas (about 400 g, 16 oz), drained and rinsed
- 1 medium-large (or 2 small) grated zucchini
- 1 medium-large (or 2 small) grated carrots
- 1 clove garlic, minced finely
- 1 egg (or 2 tbsp ground flaxmeal with 2 tbsp water)
- 2-3 green onions (spring onions)
- 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro/coriander, or parsley, or basil, or oregano
- 1/4 tsp each cumin and cayenne pepper
- salt & pepper, to taste
- optional: 1 hot chili, seeds removed, diced finely
Bring one cup of the stock to the boil, remove from heat and stir raw couscous in. Cover and set to the site until you next need it.
Grate zucchini and carrots into a frying pan, mix with the remaining stock and garlic. Stir on medium heat until the moisture has evaporated and veggies are cooked through; toss in the spring onions in the last minute or two just to soften them.
In a food processor, or by hand with a fork, pastry cutter, or potato masher, mash the chickpeas. Leave a few lumps, as a completely smooth mixture isn’t needed, but all the chickpeas should at least be crushed. (This is a good task for a boyfriend or roommate who might happen to be watching TV while you cook!)
In a mixing bowl, mix together the crushed chickpeas, couscous, and vegetables. Add the fresh herbs, spices, and chili if you’re using one. Taste to judge if you need to add any salt and pepper (the stock adds a lot of salt to this already). Once it tastes good to you, mix in the egg, and form into patties.
Cook in a frying pan with generous amounts of oil or butter (hey, the rest of it is super healthy!), until golden-brown on each side. You could also cover these lightly in oil and bake for 15 ish minutes, until golden brown.
Serve either on their own with a bit of natural yoghurt for dipping, or slice them up and use in a wrap or pita. I had mine with some cucumber, tomato, kalamata olives, fresh green onion, plain yoghurt, and an extra pinch of salt & pepper. What a lunch!