Friday, January 13, 2012

Non-traditional falafel and a tahini discovery

Every now and then I take pity on my neglected cookbooks and try out a new dinner recipe from a real life, printed, owned by me, book. I wish this happened more than once a month or so, but once a month seems to be my average.

Last Sunday, I am pleased to say, was one of those days.

The recipe was chosen in part by flipping randomly through cookbooks, and in part by seeing tahini feature in the one I ultimately chose. You see, traditionally I haven't liked tahini. At all. But last week I read Brydie's discovery of unhulled tahini, where she found it to be very different from, and much better than, the hulled variety. I wanted to try it.

So, falafel burgers it was. The recipe came from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, which I've posted from on several occasions previously. The serving suggestion involves a yoghurt and tahini-based Falafel Sauce, which I didn't make, along with salad filled pita pockets. The original recipe also featured garlic, but I discovered along the way that ours was too old to use.

Our less faithful version also involved several commercial sauces, wrap bread, cheese on one plate, and bok choi on the other.

Thus the 'non-traditional' part of this post title.

Regardless of how you serve these, the falafel patties are easy, quick, and tasty. I'm not usually a big fan of falafel and related products, so I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed these. My version of the recipe made 5 burgers as I halved the recommended ingredients, but you could easily make a full batch and feeze some.

Falafel patties

Lightly adapted from The Vegan Table (Colleen Patrick-Goudreau)
Makes a half batch - approximately 5

Print recipe

1/2 of a 420g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 onion, diced
Up to 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch salt
Few grinds black pepper

Optional - the other 1/2 of the onion, to fry and serve with the burgers


Preheat oven to 200'C.

Pulse chickpeas briefly in a food processor, until crushed but still thick, or mash by hand.

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except the bread crumbs (chickpeas, onion, parsley, tahini, cumin, coriander, paprika, baking powder, lemon juice, salt and pepper).

Add the bread crumbs and mix together. The mixture should be firm and hold together; add more bread crumbs if needed.

Shape into patties and place on a nonstick baking tray (I sprayed mine with cooking oil first).

Cook for 10 - 12 minutes, then turn and cook for a further 10 - 12 minutes until both sides are golden.

While the patties are cooking, saute or fry half an onion, chopped, until golden brown. 

You might want to dice your onion more finely than I diced mine, 
if you don't want visible onion chunks at the end!

I think these patties would be suited to burger buns, pita bread, wraps, or just atop salad. 

And the tahini? I am pleased to report that I have a new rival to almond butter. It is definitely savoury and not sweet (I find nut butters to sit at the interface), but the unhulled version tasted incredibly different to what I'd tried previously. It worked well in these burgers. It worked well on Ugly Duckling Muffins. It even works off a spoon. Try it!

Do you enjoy falafel and similar flavours? How about tahini?


  1. I really like falafel and tahini. I just made it at home for the first time last week. I had never had baked falafel until then, and I like it more than fried. Less heavy.

    1. Yes, I like it much better too. The fried version loses some of the taste too I find!

  2. I love falafel and tend to douse all sorts of things in tahini, but have never tried it unhulled. Thanks for the recommendation - now I have an excuse to buy more tahini! :)

    1. And I now know that is always a good thing :)

  3. Oh, that's interesting! I've never bought any tahini but the unhulled one so maybe that's why I've always liked it :) These look tasty indeed! And hey, we get to make or own traditions on our blogs :D

    1. The tahini mysteries are all being solved! That makes me feel better about my unsophisticated taste buds too - I shall just blamed the hulling :)

  4. I think I prefer the hulled tahini but am not too fussy. I don't eat much of it by itself but it is rather good in a salad sandwich and I love it in so many things - do you like havla which is like tahini and sugar and I don't buy it because it is just too moreish!

    BTW re comments on blogger - I was really surprised to see recently that they have added in the reply button for each comment - I guess it is part of their ongoing development. I wondered what would happen if you went from disqus to the blogger comments - would you lose all your old comment (ie are you stuck with it) or would they transfer to blogger??? The other problem with blogger is that the comment link is to people's blogger page rather than the blog home page - I hope they might fix this soon.

    1. I haven't tried havla but think I might need to! Although I'm now finding tahini rather moreish on its own, so it may be a dangerous experiment...

      Thank you so much for that information on blogger reply comments. I am thrilled to hear that, as I can easily switch from Disqus back again (my comments are still in Blogger, so if I uninstall it they just revert to Blogger format). Something to play with I think - I do love that they update things on an ongoing basis. Maybe the comment link thing too eventually!

    2. I see you have changed to the blogger comments (maybe you lost your disqus comments a week or so ago because blogger was doing work on the comments function) - it seems quite good - esp I like the little icon next to the comments of the blog post author. I agree that it is great how they keep updating but occasionally frustrating. They changed the spacing for dot points recently and some of my posts started to look more bunched up than they had originally. I just noticed that icons for anyone but you aren't showing up on your post - is that possibly your page style?

    3. Yes, I came up with that explanation for the Disqus glitch too - all makes sense now :) I'm much happier just using Blogger and no add on programs, even if Disqus was fine other than that recent brief hiccup. The spacing has changed on lots of Google products recently though, I'm still getting used to it. I feel like my Blogger comments look bunched up but that may just be in comparison to Disqus.

      On the icons - I have no idea!! However, I notice on my most recent post everyone's comment has an icon, so maybe the issue has resolved itself? I'll keep an eye on it anyway.

  5. It is so much better isn't it Kari. Someone suggested in my comments to eat it on toast with honey...oh la la! Delicious.
    Also funnily enough, last week I saw black tahini for sale. I hadn't come across that before. It came from South America.

    1. It seems there is a whole world of tahini I never knew about. What an exciting discovery - thank you :-) That honey idea also sounds delightful. I had dates dipped in tahini yesterday and I can recommend that too!

  6. I love tahini, and my latest discovery is achachas - have you tried them?

    1. No! I'd actually never heard of them, but your post on them has me intrigued :) I'll have to keep an eye out.

  7. Tahini is used a lot here...mixed with honey it almost tastes like halva. A lot of people mix it with date syrup. A winning combination in my opinion.


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