So it all started when my friend Ingrid gave me 3 bunches of flat-leaf parsley. Three! She only used a few sprigs of it, so I had more than just a bunch to use up (pun intended). Hmm..what to make with lots and LOTS of parsley? I googled it and realized, oh yea, tabbouleh!

You can’t just eat tabbouleh on its own (or can you?)…at least I always thought it was a nice side dish, but not enough for a meal. I somehow was inspired to make falafel, hummus, pita bread, AND tabbouleh, for a Mediterranean spread..

This post has since been updated with pictures from the second time I made falafel! 

Falafel
makes 20-23 small falafel
Serves 3 generously when there are other dishes, or serves 2 generously as the main dish. My husband and I eat a lot..
adapted from Joan Nathan


Ingredients:
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 large onion OR 1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp packed parsley leaves + 2 Tbsp cilantro leaves, or 1/4 cup packed parsley leaves if your husband is mentally allergic to cilantro
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
4-5 cloves garlic – 5 for smallish cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp baking powder
4-6 Tbsp flour (I used whole wheat bread flour, and that was fine. Start with 3 Tbsp if you use whole wheat flour)

For serving:
tomatoes
cucumbers
onions
green bell pepper

tahini sauce- add water to tahini and whisk until it’s semi runny but pourable
pita bread

Instructions:
1. Use a food processor to finely chop and blend everything BUT the baking powder and flour. Don’t process to the point of a puree! Scrape down sides of the food processor if needed.

2. Sprinkle baking powder and 4 Tbsp flour to start, or 3 Tbsp flour if you are using whole wheat flour. Pulse until just mixed.

3. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or several hours, or overnight is okay, too. If you are short on time, or forgot to read ahead, quicken the refrigeration time by spreading the mixture in a large container, in a thin layer, before sticking it in the fridge.  I think the point of this step is for the flour to soak up the moisture so that it fries up better and/or sticks together in a ball better, but if you are a falafel pro, please educate me!

4. Heat 2-3 inches of oil to 375F in a deep pot or wok (I used a carbon steel wok). In the meantime, make a walnut-sized ball of falafel mixture. When the temperature reaches 375F, gently place the falafel ball in. Cook for a few minutes before turning onto the other side. If it falls apart, you need to add more flour to the mixture (1/2 Tbsp at a time). If it stays intact, hurray! Cook until golden brown. Fry the rest of the falafel 6 at a time (maybe more if you have a biiig pot), making sure to keep the temperature at as close to 375F as possible. They are done after a few minutes on each ‘side,’ or when they are golden brown.

5. Transfer falafel to a paper-towel lined plate. Eat while warm, in a pita bread or on rice, with some of those vegetables, all drizzled with tahini sauce !