Curried baked falafel have layered flavors of cumin, coriander, garlic, and Sriracha. Serve them in a rice bowl with roasted broccoli & brown rice for a full & satisfying meal. Or form them in the shape of gingerbread men for a surprising holiday appetizer or main course. Vegan & gluten-free.
Once again, we’re keeping our Christmas decorations minimal this year. No tree, no strings of lights. Just a wreath, a festive centerpiece, and a Merry Christmas sign on the door.
While Avon, our orange tabby cat, has now reached the ripe old age of 1 ½, he still has plenty of kitten in him.
“What? I prefer to be held like a baby. No big deal.”
Since I’m still trying to guide him to use his scratching posts instead of furniture and not to eat things he shouldn’t, I’m not eager to add ornaments, branches, and wires to the mix.
Maybe next year? We’ll see.
In the meantime, I’m doing some decorating of the edible variety.
Curried baked falafel
I first made curried falafel back in 2013 for Kristy’s cookie swap.
Desserts aren’t my forte. So I played with the idea of cookies and milk for Santa, and made an appetizer of gingerbread men-shaped baked falafel instead.
With curry powder, cumin, coriander, garlic, and Sriracha, they have layered flavors and a spicy kick. They are then “iced” with a creamy curry peanut sauce.
My favorite curry powder for this dish is Penzeys sweet curry powder. But if you have a favorite, by all means, use that one instead.
This year, I decided to make the curried baked falafel a meal with roasted broccoli and brown rice. I made round falafel balls and then decorated them like holiday ornaments. (This bowl would be great for vegan Christmas dinner!)
The warming spices of the curried falafel and lightly sweetened sauce hit the spot on a frigid December day.
This festive meal is easy to make and can be ready in about a half an hour. It also transports well for lunch.
Plus, the best part about celebrating with food is that you get to eat the decorations.
Hmm. Maybe Avon and I have something in common after all.
Curried baked falafel bowl with roasted broccoli
For curried falafel
- 1 1/2 cups chickpeas 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons yellow onion chopped small
- 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger zested with a microplane zester or minced
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha
- 3 to 4 Tablespoons chickpea flour
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups broccoli florets and/or stem cut into even sized pieces
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch salt
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
To make the falafel
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas and garlic for a few seconds. Add the onion, cilantro, ginger, extra virgin olive oil, and Sriracha and pulse a few seconds more, scraping down the sides to get everything. The mixture should be fully combined and broken up, but not smooth like a hummus.
- Add the above mixture into a large mixing bowl along with 3 Tablespoons of chickpea flour, curry powder, cumin, coriander, baking powder, and salt. Fully combine with a spoon until it is combined enough to use your hands. The mixture should be soft but firm enough that it can be rolled into balls or packed into a gingerbread man cookie cutter. If it seems too wet, add a tablespoon more of chickpea flour.
- If making gingerbread men, use a small gingerbread man cookie cutter and set it on top of the parchment covered baking sheet. Press the mixture into cookie cutter until it's in every crevice and even with the top of the cutter. Then slowly press the falafel man out of the cookie cutter. Repeat until all of the men have been made.
- If making traditional falafel-shaped balls, simply form the mixture into round, walnut-sized balls and line evenly across the baking sheet.
- Bake for 16 to 18 minutes. Remove them from the oven and carefully flip them with a spatula. Return them to the oven to bake for 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove them from the oven. If making the men-shaped falafel, allow them to cool for a few minutes before decorating and serving. (They hold their shape better and are less likely to crumble when cool.)
To make bowls
- While the falafel is baking, put broccoli on the second parchment paper covered baking sheet. Toss broccoli with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Line the broccoli evenly across the baking sheet, being careful not to overcrowd. (It will steam instead of roast if it's touching and overcrowded.)
- Put the broccoli into the 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, stopping once halfway through to flip. (Cooking time will vary, depending on the size of the broccoli pieces.)
- Put 1/2 cup of brown rice in four bowls and top with falafel and a spoonful of roasted broccoli. Serve with creamy peanut dipping sauce.
To make Creamy Peanut Dipping Sauce
- Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Serve in a separate bowl for dipping or move a portion of sauce into a squeeze bottle to outline the falafel and drizzle on bowl.