Beet Falafel & Basil Hummus
I am smitten!
I have a new hero in my life.
He is sweet and solid and he is my favourite colour.
Yes, I said colour!
No, don't worry, I am not being a racist.
I am talking about this deep pink coloured vegetable that has taken up so much place in my heart, its almost overtaking the space I have reserved for Pizzas. In my world, thats HUGE!! I've been called pizza obsessed, pizza lover, pizza maniac and imagine if something is usurping that, it is bound to be special. Lately I have been wanting to use Beetroots in almost everything I make. After discovering them not so long ago when I made a middle eastern salad and then I moved on to making this luscious beet smoothie.
And now this! Beetroot Falafel. Falafels have always been the stuff of dreams for me. Its the simplicity and the big flavours of them always gets me. Not to mention how healthy they are, especially if you use falafels in whole wheat Pita breads. Healthy and hearty all in one! Have you checked out my older falafel recipe yet?! Its my trusted foolproof recipe that makes delicious falafel every single time.
I knew because of the beetroot in the falafel, they were going to be pink. Pink!!!! How cute is that! Now I knew these falafel pita pockets were going to be healthy, hearty and pretty. You know how much I love colours on my plate. Since I think that we all eat first visually, I wanted to make the pink stand out more and so I used Basil Hummus. The pink and the green just take a look at this and tell me this won't be a hit.
Lets get cookin' then shall we?!
Serves: 20, 2" falafels
Time taken: 30 minutes
1 cup dry chick peas, soaked overnight. Or you can use canned ones
1 1/2 cups roughly cubed beetroot
1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of parsley or coriander or a mix of both
1 tsp red chili powder (be brave, you'll love the heat)
1 tsp freshly roasted and ground cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp sumac (potent secret ingredient)
Salt to taste (around 1 tsp table salt to begin with)
2 tbsp flour
juice of one lemon
Oil to fry falafel
Pinch of love
For Basil Hummus
1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight. Or canned
1 cup basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
salt to taste
juice of 1 Lemon
1 tbsp tahini paste (sesame seeds blended with water)
Olive oil to drizzle
1 tbsp curd (optional)
To make Falafels, we need to first coarsely grind all the ingredients together in a food processor. Starting with chickpeas, beetroot, garlic, coriander and onion. Can we just take a moment to see how incredibly beautiful the deep pinkish- purplish these beets are!
Add the spices in next. Anti-clock wise beginning with red chili powder. It may seem like a lot of chili powder but trust me, the sweetness of the beetroot cuts through the heat and you're left with a little hum of spiciness. Next the freshly roasted and ground cumin. I cannot stress how intense the flavour of cumin becomes when it is freshly roasted. Add in the ground coriander. Next comes in Sumac. Sumac adds a earthy tanginess that ties everything together. Trust me, once you taste it, you will want to perennially stock a bottle of sumac in your pantry. Then ofcourse comes the salt. Add in your flour at this time
Add in the lemon juice. Do you also have this weird contraption to squeeze out your lemon juice? What do you use? Start blending it now.
This is after a minute of processing. It still looks coarse. Blend it a little more.
Ahh now this looks perfect! Almost pureed and yet not. Give it a taste test to see if you need more salt or seasoning or some more lemon juice
Too cook the falafels, in a skillet, drizzle some oil just to cover the base of the skillet and have it on medium heat.
Grease your hands with oil and start to make balls with the falafel dough. If it seems too soft and batter like, add in 1-2 tsp of flour and mix well. Any more than this will make the falafels too doughy. Flatten the balls and add those falafel patties to the skillet like so.
Flip over the falafels after a couple of minutes. Don't crowd the skillet otherwise the falafels won't crisp up. Look how perfectly golden they are. Thats how you want them to be.
Remove on paper napkins to soak away excess oil. If cooked over right heat, they barely absorb any oil. After cooking 3 batches of falafels in the same skillet, I was left with almost the same quantity of oil that I began with. The gorgeous pink hued Falafels are ready to serve!
You can eat these falafels just on their own with hummus. Doesn't this look like a great snack!
As for the basil hummus, clean out the same food processor (thats what I did). If you have 2 food processors, well then lucky you! Use the clean one! Just don't rub my nose in the *no-cleaning up required* situation. Add in the chickpeas, basil, garlic and tahini paste to it. I usually make a large batch of tahini and freeze it. I just scooped up some from the freezer otherwise the paste should be quite liquid.
Squeeze in the lemon juice. Add in the salt. I usually add just about 2/3 tsp table salt. You can always add some later. Process it all together till it becomes like a puree.
Grainy but can be used as a dip. If it seems a little coarse or chunky, add in a tbsp of curd and that should make everything smoother. Doesn't this look like spring and summer knocking on your doorstep?!
Spoon over some of this gorgeous green hummus in a bowl. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on it. Sprinkle a teensy bit of cayenne or paprika to add a little bit of colour. You can also choose to garnish it with some whole chickpeas and some sesame seeds. Yummm!!
Blogger confessions: *This gave me about 2 cups of hummus and I saved a batch of it in the fridge and now i'm enjoying that with crackers as a midnight snack and writing this post. Since its healthy, it doesn't make me feel terribly guilty. Bonus- my taste buds are thanking me*
Glad to get that off my chest. I hate to shoulder the burden of having all the delicious food on my own. Make it, taste it and you'll know what I'm talking about. That glorious green deserves another look.
To assemble it all, smear that basil spiked hummus over the whole wheat pita bread. Place a couple of falafels on it. Add on your choice of salad on top like sliced onions for that crunch, some diced tomatoes, diced bell pepper, some of that gorgeous beetroot and you're set!
Smashing really!! The flavours, the colours!
Feast for the eyes and such a well loved, delicious meal