Okay, I’m starting to think I should just do a theme month of all kale recipes instead of legumes. 🙂 Most years in our CSA we get plenty of lettuce, spinach and arugula but this summer has favored the heartier greens. I think I’ve gotten kale almost every week so far! No complaints here, I love the stuff. I’ve been making way too many chickpea pancakes with it, though. This week we tried another iteration of kale + chickpeas – baked kale falafel.
A few weeks ago I quietly posted my first-ever fried food recipe, the copycat Chipotle sofritas (worth.it.). But I haven’t come totally unhinged yet. So even though classic falafel is fried, I stuck with a baked version for now. Authentic falafel is also definitely not made with kale in it, so let’s call this Maryland-style kale falafel. Though I guess that means I should put Old Bay seasoning on it now, too..
This recipe is crazy-easy! I served up our kale falafel with some pickled vegetables, and Cava Mezze Kalamata Hummus. I love this hummus because it’s all-natural and actually oil-free as well. All of that fatty goodness comes from the tahini and kalamata olives. So delicious. My only complaint is the price: I refuse to pay $5.00 for a little tub of chickpeas that I’m going to eat in, ahem, like 2 sittings. So I tend to only grab it at Whole Foods when it’s on sale or I have a coupon.
You’ll need parchment paper for baking these so that they don’t stick. But I highly recommend getting a Silpat or similar. I have this knockoff version by Artisan Metal Works, which is much cheaper but works just fine. Because this kale falafel is baked, it doesn’t have that tooth-shattering crispy and chewy texture of street truck falafel, but it still does get a decent crispiness on the outside. The inside is a little crumbly which is why I suggest serving with hummus – so all of the delicious little falafel crumbles don’t get lost.
This is actually a recipe from the archives… I just got home on Thursday from a beautiful vacation to western Montana followed by a few days in Washington state. What spectacular summer weather I got to enjoy in both of those places. I had thoughts of instagramming some of my vegan eats during the trip, but it was SO appealing to disengage from technology. Without a camera or phone in tow, I enjoyed some smaller moments that I otherwise might have missed. I feel rejuvenated and so fortunate that I had the opportunity to take a break.
Anyway, I stepped off the plane into a nice Baltimore heat wave that’s continuing through today (94!). So I’m not quite sure when I will stop avoiding my AC-lacking house and get back in the kitchen, and that’s why I’m sharing this kale falafel from earlier in the summer. Luckily, with the chickpea base it fits right into my Vegan MoFo legume theme!
Kale Falafel (Baked, not Fried!)
- 2 and 1/2 cups chopped kale
- 1/2 medium onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas
- 2 tbsp tahini (or use 1 tbsp olive oil)
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp paprika (regular or smoked)
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- a few grinds of black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2-4 tbsp quick oats (or as needed)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat-type liner.
Add the kale, onion, garlic, parsley, and a cilantro to a blender or food processor, and combine until smooth - about as smooth as you can get it. Make sure there are no big pieces of kale left.
Add the chickpeas, tahini or olive oil, lemon juice, spices, and 2 tb. of the oats. Pulse until the chickpeas reach a very crumbly (but not completely smooth) texture. If the mixture is too thin to be shaped into a ball, add more oats as needed.
Scooping about 3 tablespoons at a time of the chickpea mixture, form into round shapes and place on the baking sheet, then flatten slightly. Repeat until the whole mixture is used.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until firm enough to flip over. Bake for another 15-20 minutes on the other side, until browned and slightly crispy on the outside.
For ease of removing the falafel from the baking sheet, let cool for a few minutes first.
Olive oil will give a slightly better texture (less crumbly and a bit softer inside) than tahini, but I prefer the taste of the tahini version and wanted to give my readers an oil-free option.
For grain-free kale falafel, thicken using an absorbent, grain-free flour or meal such as chickpea flour, tapioca starch, potato flour, or ground flaxseed.
Adapted from Vegan Yack Attack’s Spinach Falafel.