Hello lovely readers, please meet life-changing Lazy Falafel. I repeat, life-changing.
What’s not to love about falafel? As a university student I would often visit Taste of Cambridge. Also chummily known as ‘The Falafel Van’, this itinerant eatery can be found on the corner of Market Street, usually attached to a flock of loyal customers. Their well-known falafel wraps will delight vegans and omnivores alike: expect warm flatbreads filled to the brim with spiced falafel, fresh salad, creamy tahini dressing, piquant harissa, garlicky hummus, smoky grilled aubergine and fragrant mango chutney.
Another experience I look back on fondly is when I ate my body weight in Middle Eastern food at L’As du Fallafel in Paris – huge falafel pittas loaded with every accompaniment imaginable for very reasonable prices – an unusual but very welcome combination in the French capital.
But whilst falafel devoured as street food is usually incredible, pre-packaged shop-bought falafel is always a bit of a let down. It’s always either overly greasy, too dry, lacking in flavour, or has a spongy, processed texture.
Issue is, falafel is a bit of a faff to make yourself – between frying up the onions, blending up the chickpeas, shaping it all into patties, coating them in flour, turning on the oven or heating up oil, you are left feeling unsure whether the resulting very tasty pitta was really worth all that fuss.
Enter this wonderful creation aka Lazy Falafel: it’s SUPER easy to make, will take up less than 30 minutes of your time (including eating time depending on how quickly you can wolf down your lunch), and tastes every bit as delicious as the traditional version!
So here’s the deal: just fry off some onions with some basic spices, add crushed chickpeas, stuff into a pitta with accompaniments of choice, and hey presto you have a falafel pitta.
I came up with this quicker and easier version of falafel one evening in Paris when I got home from work at 8pm and really wanted to eat falafel but didn’t have the time or energy to make it properly. So I figured, once it gets stuffed into a pitta along with other ingredients and sauce, it basically turns into a (delicious but shapeless) mush anyway, so what’s the point in shaping it into patties and frying it? Why not just crush up some chickpeas and fry off with onions and spices?
And what’s more, this falafel actually happens to be much healthier than the traditional version as there’s no deep-frying involved, plus being vegan and gluten-free, it’s more accommodating too!
This falafel is delicious paired with a tahini, lemon and dill dressing (recipe below), which I was inspired to make after trying the lovely falafel wrap at Kaboola Kitchen in London, which was flavoured with dill. It was a combination I hadn’t really thought about before, but it was absolutely delicious! So I just had to re-create it at home.
Add whatever other fillings you like – I went for generous handfuls of crips, peppery rocket, but other delicious fillings would be lettuce leaves, watercress, shredded cabbage, hummus, roasted veggies…the list goes on.
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- Handful fresh coriander (or 1 teaspoon dried coriander)
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- 1 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or sub agave syrup)
- Pinch of salt, to taste
- 4 tablespoons fresh dill
- Pitta bread or flatbread (gluten-free if necessary)
- Few handfuls salad leaves
- Heat up oil in a frying pan
- Add onions and fry for 10 minutes or so, until soft and slightly caramelised
- Meanwhile, either purée the chickpeas in a food processor or using a hand blender, or mash them up using a fork or a potato masher (depending on what kind of texture you prefer, and what equipment you have on hand!)
- Add the spices, salt and pepper, coriander and chickpeas to the pan once onions are soft
- Cook for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly until warmed through
- Mix together all ingredients, along with a couple of tablespoons of water until you achieve your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly
- Toast pitta or flatbread
- Stuff with falafel, salad leaves and slather with dressing
- Devour immediately