These falafels are made with pumpkin seeds, so no chickpeas, no fava beans, no cooking . . . but you will need a food processor!
I can’t remember the first time I had a falafel. All I know is that when I did I was hooked. Since that day, I have managed to scoff a falafel in nearly every mediterranean/middle eastern restaurant I have visited. It’s the first thing I check when I go to any of these restaurants and my heart jumps a little bit when I read it on the menu – yessss!
My best ever falafel was in Amman, Jordan, fairly close to the Roman Theatre where a well rounded man in a tiny shop served me a piping hot falafel wrapped in a bread with a spicy chilli sauce and a dollop of yoghurt, simple yet delicious . . . as they should be.
The history of the falafel is contentious, with everyone wanting to claim it as theirs, but it seems the Egyptians might have been the first falafel munchers and somewhere along the way it changed from being made solely with fava beans to a chickpea version. I have to say, for me, fava beans offer up a slightly superior and more flavoursome falafel . . . but then, I’ve never met a falafel I didn’t like!
I decided to make raw falafel because I wanted a healthier version. Traditionally falafels are fried and although you can fry them in a shallow pan with only a little oil, it is still nice to have a healthier option. Also, lets face it, sometimes it’s nice to not have to ‘cook’!
So when you get home and you think ‘I cannot face turning on the oven’ then just throw all of the ingredients into the food processor and voila!
- 2 cups pumpkin seeds (300g)
- 1 large bunch of parsley (approx. 1 cup)
- 2 - 2½ Tbsp tahini (depending on taste)
- 2 cloves garlic (leave out if you prefer)
- 1 decent pinch of cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp salt and black pepper, plus more to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon or more if required (can substitute with lime)
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- Put all of the ingredients, except the sesame seeds, into a food processor and blend until it has a grainy consistency which can be rolled into balls. Add a little olive oil to the mix if you need to.
- Roll the mixture into balls.
- Roll the balls in the sesame seeds to coat the outside.
- Chill in the fridge until needed.
- You can lightly fry these if you prefer them cooked. 2 minutes on each side so that they have a crispy shell. Delicious raw or cooked!