For chickpea lovers the world over, falafel is a go-to dish that works as well as an appetizer as it does a part of a vegetarian entrée. And while it's hard to find fault with a standard falafel recipe, after trying this fresh version including roasted beets, you may just decide to switch to the red-hued recipe permanently. There's the taste, of course, which has a slightly sweet flavor, but it's the color that really sets this iteration apart.
"I love the color! I also love that it sneaks in one of the healthiest veggies ever — beets. While not many people love beets, this recipe does a great job at mellowing out that intense earthy, sweet flavor. The dried chickpeas balance them out with a nice nutty flavor," explains recipe developer Tess Le Moing of Funky Foods. And you'll note that Le Moing said dried chickpeas. This is a key part of the recipe, as you need to make time to soak the dried chickpeas before making the falafel. This is best done overnight, allowing the beans to soak for at least 8, but up to 24 hours.
Gather The Ingredients For Roasted Beet Falafel
Go ahead and gather your ingredients before getting started. You'll need dried chickpeas and beets, of course, but you'll also need olive oil, a clove of garlic, ground cumin and coriander, onion powder, kosher salt, panko breadcrumbs, and vegetable oil for frying.
Soak The Chickpeas
Measure out your chickpeas and put them in a large bowl. Cover them completely with cold water, making sure there's at least 2-3 inches of water topping the beans. Cover the bowl and leave the chickpeas to soak on your countertop for 8-24 hours.
Using dried chickpeas and allowing for the long soak is incredibly important for this recipe, so Le Moing warns against trying to cut corners by subbing in canned or quick-soaked garbanzos. "They will make a stodgy falafel," Le Moing says. "Stodgy is a texture — very heavy, paste-y, and high in carbs. Some people don't mind it, but when you compare falafel made with canned chickpeas to one made with dried, you'll never want to make falafel with canned ever again. The texture of falafel made with dried and soaked chickpeas is lighter and crispier. The flavor is also nuttier and earthier."
When your chickpeas have fully soaked, drain them, then rinse them clean and dry them.
Roast The Beets
As your chickpeas are getting close to the end of the soaking period, you can go ahead and roast your beets. Start by preheating the oven to 400 F. Set a piece of foil on a large baking sheet and place the beets on top. Drizzle the beets and foil with olive oil before wrapping the foil around the beets. Place the pan in the oven and let the beets roast for roughly 40-60 minutes. The roasting time depends on the size of your beets — you'll know yours are done when you can easily pierce a knife through the veggie.
Cool And Chop The Beets
When you've pulled your beets from the oven, let them sit to cool for about 10 minutes so they're not too hot to handle. When you can comfortably hold one inside a kitchen towel, rub off the skins before chopping them. Just be aware that beets stain everything, so use a towel that you don't mind turning red.
Process The Falafel Ingredients
With your garbanzos and beets ready to go, place them in a food processor along with the panko, garlic, cumin, coriander, onion powder, and salt. Blend them together until everything is finely minced. While the bright red mixture may seem like a far cry from the standard falafel brown, Le Moing says you don't need to worry about the taste. The beets offer a hint of a difference, but it's not overwhelming. "[Beets] make [the falafel] taste earthier and a smidge sweeter. But other than that, you'll still get that classic fried falafel taste," she assures.
Form Falafel Patties
You're now ready to make your falafel patties. Using a tablespoon, scoop out a heap of the mixture and form it into a patty. If you find the patties don't hold together, Le Moing says to add a couple more tablespoons of panko to the mix.
You can also try forming the falafel into a ball shape, if you're so inclined. "I didn't test them in a ball shape which could be more fragile and fall apart when fried. But it also might not, it's worth trying!" admits Le Moing, adding: "I like them in patty shapes because they're much easier to flip and fry.
Fry And Drain The Falafel Patties
All that's left to do before serving is to fry your falafel. Add oil to a medium-sized skillet and bring it to medium-high heat. When you see the oil shimmering, add about a quarter or half of the falafel patties to the pan, shallow-frying them for 1-2 minutes per side. When they've browned, set them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Because these are best served hot, Le Moing suggests serving the first batch immediately, even though you still have more pieces to fry. If you don't want to serve them immediately, place them in a 200 F oven to keep them warm until the rest of your falafel are ready to serve.
Serve The Beet Falafel Immediately
When all of the falafel have been fried, plate them to serve immediately. "Serve the falafel with tahini sauce as an appetizer or in pita bread with tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh parsley, cilantro, and pickled red onion," suggests Le Moing.
And while she stands by the suggestion to serve the dish immediately, she shares that leftovers can be kept for a few days in the fridge. "You can eat them cold or reheated, but they won't have the same texture," Le Moing says. That said, there's another way to enjoy extra falafel without compromising flavor. "I like to freeze any un-fried falafel. When I know I want them for dinner, I'll take them out the night before and thaw them before frying fresh the next day," says Le Moing.
Roasted Beet Falafel Recipe
Prep Time: 8h 15mCook Time: 50mYield: 20 FalafelIngredients
⅓ cup dried chickpeas, rinsed
3 small beets (about 8 oz), scrubbed and trimmed
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup panko
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon onion powder, or ½ a small onion
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
½ cup vegetable oil, more as needed
Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water by 2 to 3 inches. Cover and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours, or up to 24. Drain, rinse, and carefully dry the chickpeas.
Heat the oven to 400 F. Place the beets on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the beets in the foil and place in a small roasting pan or on a baking sheet.
Roast the beets until a knife can easily pierce through, about 40 to 60 minutes depending on the size of your beets. Cool for 10 minutes, then rub the skins off with a kitchen towel and roughly chop.
Add the beets into the bowl of a food processor along with the chickpeas, panko, garlic, cumin, coriander, onion powder, and salt. Process until the beets and chickpeas are finely minced, scraping down the sides as necessary.
Grab a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and form it into a patty.
Heat ½ cup oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the falafel to the skillet and shallow-fry in batches for 1-2 minutes on each side until browned. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.