If you have been following me for quite some time, I’m sure you’ve noticed how I’ve been trying to incorporate more vegan and healthy recipes on my blog. These moreish beetroot falafels check both the boxes and make the perfect appetiser or a quick evening snack.
Typically found in the Middle Eastern or Mediterranean cuisines, falafels are traditionally fried or baked delicious balls or patties made of ground chickpea, herbs and spices. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, these are very popular street food and are often served as a part of an elaborate meal. Being a naturally vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan recipe, it is also high in healthy nutritional content. While the classic falafel recipe is no doubt the perfectly divine snack, I tried to experiment a fusion of beetroot with the same and I absolutely loved the results. Beetroot not just elevates the health factor in these falafels but also adds a delectable earthy flavour and a beautiful pop of colour to them.
These healthy and vegan Beetroot Falafels are one of my favourite snack options and they are so delicious! I make these very often at my house. As opposed to what it might seem, making falafels is actually very easy. It involves some very basic ingredients and chances are high that you have all of them in your pantry right now. These crunchy on the outside and beautiful, colourful and tender on the inside balls of goodness can be enjoyed with hummus or tahini, my hung curd dip, in wraps or sandwiches (just shape them into patties!).
These are also very convenient and adaptable to today’s fast lifestyle where we don’t get time to prepare elaborate dishes every day – you can make the falafel rounds and freeze them in a zip lock or airtight container for up to 7 days! Pop them out of the freezer and fry them as and when you need them and enjoy! This snack is a keeper!
Ingredients in This Beetroot Falafel
While the list of ingredients might look big, they’re mostly herbs and spices and some of the most basic ingredients available in almost all Indian kitchens. Some of the key ingredients that give shape to this masterpiece of a snack are:
Even though it is a falafel recipe, it is quite clear that beetroot is the star ingredient for it. Packed with essential nutrients, beetroots are a great source of fibre, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. Addition of beetroot to this healthy snack, takes the health factor to a whole new level. It also adds a very delightful earthy flavour and a beautiful pop of colour to the falafel.
The innumerable health benefits of chickpea are no secret. High in protein content, chickpea is one of the healthiest vegan foods that there are. It is flavourful and extremely versatile. Chickpea can be processed into creamy humus, or rounded up to make crunchy and tasty falafels, cooked into a spicy Indian curry and can even be made into healthy and yummy pancakes! From breakfast to dinner, chickpea can be easily incorporated in all your meals throughout the day.
In this recipe we use dried chickpeas soaked overnight or at least 12-15 hours to get it to a good binding consistency that helps the falafel to hold its shape.
- Green Chilli
A small green chilli adds a kick of flavour and spice without over-powering the falafel. You can adjust this to more or less according to preference, but don’t skip it without trying it first – trust me.
- Cumin, Cardamom, Salt and Black Pepper
These aromatic spices are used often in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking and have an earthy, spicy, assertive flavour you’ll love.
- Baking Soda
It is a key ingredient for helping to provide the fluffy inside texture of the falafel.
Why this Beetroot Falafel?
- Very easy to make
- Easily available pantry ingredients
- Full proof recipe
- Extremely healthy because of the addition of beetroot
- Can be frozen up to a week!
- Perfect evening or packed to-go snack.
- Not to mention, just so delicious!
Here’s the recipe:
Prep time – 60 minutes
Cook time – 10 minutes
- 1 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight)
- ½ cup grated beetroot
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 cup fresh coriander leaves (with stem)
- ½ cup onions, roughly chopped
- 1 large clove of garlic/ two medium sized garlic pods
- ¼ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder or paprika
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- Salt to taste (I used 1 tsp.)
- ½ tsp freshly ground roasted cumin powder
- 4 tbsp gram flour/besan
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 green chilli
- 4 tbsp of oil for shallow frying
- Soak the chickpeas overnight and transfer into a blending jar.
- Add the onions, coriander, garlic and green chilli to the blender jar.
- Season with cardamom powder, and cumin powder.
- Squeeze in the lemon juice and blend into a coarse mixture.
- Take the ground mixture out in a bowl.
- Add in the grated beetroot to the mixture and mix well.
- Season with some salt.
- Add in our binding ingredient – gram flour or besan to the mixture and mix well.
- Add in the baking powder and give a final mix.
- Scoop out some of the mixture on your palm (oil the palms) with the help of a spoon or ice cream scoop and make equal sized round balls.
- Pop it in the freezer (covered) for at least 30 minutes before frying.
- Heat some oil in a deep pan.
- Take out the falafels from the freezer and deep fry on medium flame till cooked uniformly and voilà! Enjoy it with hummus, my hung curd dip or as you like!
Tips to make the perfect falafel every single time:
While making falafel is easier than thought, keeping a few tips in mind will help you get it just right every single time. Consistency of the mixture is everything! These tips will ensure a falafel that is perfectly crispy on the outside and neither too runny, nor too dry but just perfectly moist and tender on the inside, every time. Here are some of my personal steps while making a falafel.
- Use Soaked Chickpeas.
The key to achieving the perfect consistency is using chickpeas that have been soaked in enough water (enough to make them submerge completely and still leave some room because they double in volume when done) for at least 12 – 15 hours. The best thing to do is to soak it overnight, drain it and wash it and use to the next morning.
- Use binding flour and do NOT Over blend.
I cannot stress enough on how essential it is to achieve the perfect consistency of the mixture before frying or baking the falafels. Blend it in multiple short rounds to get the coarse sand-like consistency – not too dry, not too wet. Over-blending the batter will result into a rather runnier mixture that’s stick to the pan and disintegrate while frying. Adding besan or gram flour helps absorb excess moisture and achieve the perfect consistency – that is coarse.
- Freeze before frying or baking
This is a very essential step as freezing the falafel rounds give time for the ingredients to bind together and absorb the maximum flavour while also resulting into the perfect crispy and flaky falafel upon frying thereafter. You need to keep it covered in order to retain the moisture in the mixture. While you can also store it in the freezer up to a week and fry whenever needed, the minimum time to freeze is at least 30 – 60 minutes.
Try it out as soon as possible and trust me, this dreamy beetroot falafel will become your go-to snack. It is healthy and yummy – what’s not to like? I hope you’ll all love it as much as you loved my classic falafel recipe.