Baked Falafel

The exact origins of this popular dish are controversial – the Indians claim it as their own although it is commonly thought to be a Middle Eastern dish. Either way, these baked chickpea balls are delicious with a dollop of Hummus and a red onion, tomato and coriander salad, stuffed in a toasted wholemeal pitta bread or served with quinoa or couscous, with a large wedge of lemon per person to squeeze over the top and bring out the flavour. I oven-bake my version to limit the oil and trans fats found in deep-fried, shop-bought versions, but there is no loss of flavour


Serves 4

2 x 410g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 275g (10oz) dried chickpeas, cooked

4 garlic cloves, crushed

4 tsp tahini

10 spring onions, roughly sliced

50g (2oz) sesame seeds

4 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 tsp sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 medium organic or free-range eggs

60g (21/2oz) sesame seeds for coating


1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

2 Place all the ingredients bar the salt, pepper, egg and sesame seeds in a food processor and blend until fairly smooth and combined. Taste and season accordingly. Mix in the beaten egg and shape into 16 golf ball-sized balls.

3 Put the sesame seeds on a plate and roll the balls in them. This is a bit fiddly, so you may prefer to scatter the seeds over each side of the falafel. It might be necessary to then reshape the falafel in your hand.

4 Place the balls on the baking tray and cook for 20–25 minutes or until just golden on top and firm to the touch.

Cook’s Notes

Gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free • V • Can be made in advance • Suitable for freezing

From Delicious, Health Sugar Free by Patrick Holford and Fiona McDonald Joyce. With special thanks to Fiona McDonald Joyce for use of these recipes for Holford Health Club members.

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