Chickpeas are incredibly nutritious and count towards 1 of your 7-a-day! They're an excellent source of protein making them a great choice for vegetarians and vegans (or perfect for your next meat-free Monday). They contain a large amount of fibre that when metabolised produce short chain fatty acids that can improve your colon health. Studies have shown that when consumed they can lower blood cholesterol levels and help control blood sugar levels. The spinach adds some iron to this recipe - a mineral that a lot of people are deficient in. Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin which transports oxygen around your body and also supports your metabolism. This green leafy veg also contains a long list of antioxidants. So it's associated with a decreased risk of diseases caused by oxidative stress e.g. atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) and high blood pressure. And the anti-inflammatory compounds in spinach help your body fight cancer, with evidence suggesting it might be very protective against aggressive prostate cancer.
* It's essential that you use dried chickpeas when making falafels. Canned chickpeas aren't sticky enough to hold together and will fall apart when you cook them.
- 1 cup of dried chickpeas (soak overnight in plenty of cold water)
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach
- 2 TBSP sesame seeds
- handful of fresh mint leaves
- handful of fresh parsley
- 1 TBSP ground coriander
- 1 TBSP ground cumin
- 1½ TBSP rice flour
- 1 clove of garlic
- salt & pepper to taste
- ½-1 red chilli
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- zest of ½ lemon
- olive oil for frying
*Makes ~12-14 falafels.
- Drain the chickpeas and add them to a food processor with the spinach, mint, parsley, spices, garlic, chilli, sesame seeds, salt, pepper, lemon and rice flour.
- Blend until all the ingredients are finely chopped but not mushy.
- Using wet hands, scoop out 1 TBSP of the mixture at a time and shape into a round patty.
- Place the falafels in the fridge for ~30 minutes.
- Heat a pan to a medium-high heat and cover with 2 TBSP olive oil.
- Add about 4 falafels at a time and cook on each side for ~3 minutes.
- For each new batch of falafels you add to the pan, add 2 TBSP olive oil.