I won’t claim these are at all like the real thing – without deep frying, falafel just aren’t falafel-y. Having been instilled with a healthy fear of grease fires, and lacking a kitchen with proper ventilation, I had given up on making them myself. Then, I saw a recipe online for falafel waffles. If my house had a mascot (other than the bat that briefly lived in our attic), it would be our waffle iron. My roommates are masters of the art, and these were a huge success, novelty aside – if you think of them more as extra-crispy spiced chickpea burgers, excellently shaped to drizzle with tahini and pile salad on top of, you will not be disappointed.
Patience and a generous greasing of the waffle iron between waffles was key to our success. We based off of a recipe on the blog My New Roots, but adapted heavily:
- 2 cups dried chickpeas (I started from dry but you could probably use canned, since you end up pureeing everything. just make sure to drain and dry them well)
- 2 cloves garlic (I just used one, this is to taste)
- onion – I didn’t use any and missed the flavor. I’d dice ¼ of a cup or so, or use some onion powder
- A couple (generous) handfuls coarsely chopped parsley – you will be pureeing, so you can use the stems, too
- A couple (generous) handfuls coarsely chopped cilantro – same as the parsely. I used extra cilantro b/c I like it
- A generous amount of ground cumin – original calls for 1.5 T, I eyeballed it, just don’t skimp
- A generous amount ground coriander – original calls for 2t, same as cumin
- turmeric, za’atar, Aleppo pepper – additions we enjoyed
- salt to taste
- fresh black pepper
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice from the lemon you zested
- olive oil
- flour (up to ~½ cup)
- water (up to ~¼ cup)
THE NIGHT BEFORE: Put your chickpeas in a bowl of water to soak. Use a larger bowl and more water than you’d guess, because they soak up a ton. If when you go to use, your chickpeas are dry and/or smell funky, just bring them to a boil with some vinegar, then drain and continue.
DAY OF: Using a magic bullet, blender, or food processor (but NOT an immersion blender, which is what we did, and which was a royal pain) puree everything through the lemon juice with a healthy glug or two of olive oil. You can make it as smooth as you want; ours were chunky – we got tired of using the immersion blender – and they were delicious.
Plug in your waffle iron and let it heat up – let it sit for a while even after it beeps (or whatever it does to let you know it’s ready). You want it hot.
Transfer to a bowl and mix in a small amount of flour (start with 1/3ish of a cup) – you don’t want the mixture to be wet or batter-like, but not super-stiff either. Think veggie burger mixture texture, or cookie dough. If it’s too wet, add more flour, and if it’s too dry, add water. You have the opportunity to fine-tune between waffling, so don’t worry too much.
Once your waffle iron is hot, give it a good greasing (paper towel with olive oil, spray, whatever), and spoon some of the falafel mixture on the middle. Use less than you think you need – it spreads. Then, let the waffle iron do it’s thing.