Blackbean and Veggie Falafels

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I am glad to admit that I am not a purist. There is something a bit more personal and exciting about bending the norms a little. At least in the food we enjoy! Think about it…if you always followed the same cake or casserole recipe, won’t you be bored? That’s when we get creative with tossing in a little bit of this and that or “wing it” along the way.

These falafels are the result of going with the flow and keeping my fingers crossed that they won’t be a crumbly or horrible tasting mess. Inspiration for this recipe, which uses cauliflower, sweet potato and black beans came from watching the recent trends with cauliflower everything, including pizza crust! PIZZA CRUST! If cauliflower could be a pizza crust, it better be a darn good falafel. And it delivered!

Honestly, these falafels are a winner not not because they have a good doze of veggies, but also because they are oven-baked with a light drizzle of oil and not deep fried like the traditional ones. What is not to love about it, right?! These delicious bites held their shape, stored well for few days refrigerated and made a perfect match as a salad topper or filler for a pita. So, go ahead and make a batch! You can drop a thank you note later! 🙂

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Blackbean and Veggie Falafels

  • Servings: 18-20 falafels
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Note about Prep Time: Prep time is about 20 min, refrigeration for about 30 min and cook (bake) time about 45 min.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups grated cauliflower

1 1/2 cups grated sweet potato

1/4 cup finely chopped onions

3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder

Salt to taste

1 14.5oz black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup chickpea flour

1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Dry roast coriander and cumin seeds for 5 min over low heat and grind to a powder in a dry grinder or in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  2. In a saute pan, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and saute the vegetables, including onion and garlic. Add the ground spices, salt, paprika and cayenne. Let cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, mash the drained blackbeans. Add the vegetable mixture and chickpea flour and thoroughly mix in. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F.
  5. Take the refrigerated falafel mixture out and form into about 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls.
  6. Arrange on a parchment lined baking tray and drizzle with remaining olive oil.
  7. Bake for about 25 min. Turn over and continue to bake for another 20 min till firm and golden.
  8. Serve immediately in a salad or as a wrap. Refrigerate remaining falafels.

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Mediterranean Style Beef Kabobs

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There is something about food on sticks…..satay, corndog, popsicle, lollipops, cakepops and kabobs among other delectables on sticks. My personal favorite is a well-spiced kabobs. This recipe uses beef, but I have made a mental note to attempt a vegetarian version one of these days.

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You find a version of these kabobs in several countries. Frequently lamb is used but not everyone in my family is a fan of that, so I opted for extra lean ground beef. A blend of coriander powder, cumin powder, cayenne, paprika, garlic, onions and mint lends an enjoyable blend of flavors without one note screaming out too loud. Lastly, using extra lean meat is an easy way to cut down on excess saturated fat from your meals. I must say even though I used 93% lean beef, the kabob was enjoyable with a dollop of plain yogurt.

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Mediterranean Style Beef Kabobs

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients
1 lb extra lean ground beef (lamb or chicken)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted (or 1 tablespoon coriander powder)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon or more garlic paste
1 tablespoon crushed dried mint leaves
12 – 14 small bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Preparation
1. Preheat the broiler at high setting. You can also grill the kabobs on an outdoor grill.
2. If using coriander seeds, grind them in a spice grinder or using mortar and pestle.
3. Add all seasonings to the meat and mix well. It works best to use your hands to really mix in all the spices and herbs.
4. Divide the mixture into 12-14 equal portions and shape them around the pre-soaked skewers like a long kabob.
5. Line a baking tray lined with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
6. Arrange the kabobs on the tray and broil for 12 minutes turning once. Spray with cooking spray after turning.