Mini Baked Edamame & Chickpea Falafel

I may have said as much elsewhere on this blog, but has anyone else noticed that the majority of men (I didn't say all!) take no interest in party planning *except* if the party in question is related to a large forthcoming sports event that interests them highly? Normally, Ryan couldn't care less about what's on the menu for a party we're hosting, or who's invited, or what the decor will be. But for the Superbowl, he's practically got a clipboard and whistle. At our party this weekend there will be (so I'm told) a snack stadium (!!), balloons, crepe paper, a football field floor runner, some kind of themed trash can, and so on. 

Lucky me, all I have to do is make the food, making sure (of course) that there are plenty of chicken wings to go around. And chips with guacamole; that's a must have as far as Ryan is concerned. But the rest is up to me. One thing that I've realized over my years of party planning is that most people prefer to have lots of healthy options when they attend an event. While they'll happily eat the cookies and cheesy nachos, it's usually the vegetable platter that goes empty. After all, no one likes to leave a party feeling like they need to go on a three day juice cleanse. That doesn't mean we should only serve low-fat fare. That's gross and no one is excited about it. The trick is to serve delicious, flavorful, healthier options, alongside some traditional favorites. So that your guests have options. We all like to have options.

These tiny falafel are packed with flavor from the herbs and garlic, while the chickpeas and edamame make them a pretty healthy option all around. Did I mention they're baked? High five for not having to stand over a pan and get splattered with oil while you fry a million little falafel balls. No thank you; I won't be doing that this Sunday. In fact, I already made my mixture, baked them on a single sheet tray, and froze them so that, come game day, I can just heat them up. That's what I'm talking about. Best of all, you can pull out all the condiments in your fridge to add as toppings- tahini, lemon, hot sauce, Greek yogurt- it's all good! Shave a few cucumbers, crumble some feta, slice some cherry tomatoes, and grab a bag of those adorable mini pitas from Whole Foods and you're party ready.

Baked Edamame & Chickpea Falafel

Makes about 40 mini falafel.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can cooked chickpeas, or the equivalent home-cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup frozen, shelled edamame, defrosted
  • 1/2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped dill
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 6 tbsp chickpea flour (or substitute with whole wheat or white flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt, pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F.
  2. Place the chickpeas, onion, garlic, and edamame in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. You want it a little paste-y, but not a homogenous mush! 
  3. Add the herbs and continue pulsing until everything is well mixed, and about the same size. This is a large  batch so you may need to use a rubber spatula to clean the sides of the bowl from time to time.
  4. Remove the mix to a large bowl and add the flour, a few tablespoons at a time, along with the baking powder, salt, pepper, and cumin.
  5. Use a tablespoon measure or, if you have one, a scoop that measures out about a tablespoon (like the one you might use for cookie dough). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment, and brush the parchment with a little olive oil or other oil that you have around. 
  6. Scoop the mixture into small balls and place rather close together on one sheet, you should be able to fit it all but, if you can't, using two sheets is absolutely fine. 
  7. Press each ball down gently to make a small circle. It shouldn't be completely flat.
  8. Bake the mini falafel for about 20 minutes, until the undersides are well browned and the tops start to brown lightly.
  9. Serve immediately alongside mini pita, cherry tomatoes, tahini, cucumbers, greek yogurt, lemon...and so on (whatever you like, basically!) or freeze on the tray and then transfer to a ziplock bag to save for later.