We eat a lot of chickpeas

Having a toddler, as it turns out, means eating a lot of chickpeas. In whole cooked form, they're easy to pick up with little fingers. Chickpea pasta satisfies my kid's texture and shape needs, and my desire to be sure she has protein in her packed lunch for daycare. And of course hummus is always a good go-to -- heck, who doesn't love hummus?

A recent addition to our weekly (or biweekly) meals are these easy-to-make (no breadcrumbs - hurrah for that!), and super delicious falafel balls. I like them as filling and flavourful addition to a salad (tabouleh! or fresh lettuces! or both!), but you should do it up in a pita if that's more up your alley.

falafel + tabouleh

Middle Eastern Falafel

Recipe perfect as is from Feeding the Whole Family, 2nd ed. by Cynthia Lair

3/4 cup dry chickpeas, soaked 10-12 hours, drained and rinsed
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp EV olive oil
1 small or 1/2 a large onion, finely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp each: ground coriander and cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tsp grey sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
1/2 - 3/4 cup minced fresh parsley (some stems are okay)
1 tsp baking soda
avocado oil or refined (unflavoured) coconut oil for frying

Necessary additions:
Your favourite tahini sauce (I'm partial to the Green Tahini Dressing in Get It Ripe, but of course I'm biased!)
Romaine lettuce
Diced, sliced tomatoes (or halved grape tomatoes) and cucumber

Put the rehydrated chickpeas in your food processor. Give it a whirl, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessay, until they're in small pieces. And the lemon juice and whirl again until it's very finely ground (but not yet hummus-type pasty). Scrape into a large bowl.
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, and add the onion,  garlic, and spices, and saute until onions are translucent and the mixture is fragrant -- 7 to 10 minutes. Scrape this into the bowl of ground chickpeas and add the parsley and baking soda. Mix well.
Using your hands (or a small ice cream scoop), squeeze mixture firmly into ping-pong-ish-sized balls and flatten into patties. Heat the oil (about 3 tbsp to start) in a skillet over medium -- it should be hot but not smoking! Place patties in the oil -- they should sizzle -- and cook about 3 minutes on each side until medium brown. (If the patties fall apart, the oil isn't hot enough.) Add extra oil to the pan as needed until all the patties are cooked. Place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain a wee bit before serving with tahini sauce, fresh veggies and whatever else suits your version of a Middle Eastern meal!

Makes about 12 patties -- enough for 2 adults, a toddler, and maybe someone's lunch the next day. We often make a double batch of the "batter" and freeze it in balls to defrost and fry up the following week.

If you end up making these, do let me know!