This month's theme for Progressive Eats is anything that can be made in a muffin tin. This could have been my opportunity to make muffins. God knows I'm due. In the nearly 5 years I've had this blog going, I've not posted one single muffin. Kind of shocking in the food blogging world. Likewise, and my husband really doesn't understand this, I've never posted cupcakes. But they're vegetarian, he's complained more than once.
In truth, you might never see cupcakes here. Trust me when I say that my cake decorating skills will never inspire any of you to do anything except take up a collection to send me to cake decorating school. Certainly, I won't be motivating any of you to head to the kitchen to bake up a batch of your own. There's a reason I post rustic, country-style cakes, like my Summer Peach Cake.
I promise a muffin recipe soon – I'm doing a lot of experimenting with Einkorn flour these days – an ancient non-hybridized wheat.
And muffins are so wonderful packed with summer fruit. But for now, I have falafel balls baked in a muffin tin, with a spicy sauce. We're a creative group at Progressive Eats, and I wanted to hold up my end of the bargain.
Falafel is usually fried – it's how you get a crispy exterior, while the insides remain tender. But I don't really do fried. So I baked them. Mine weren't crispy, to be honest. They were very tender, inside and out, so I need to do more experimenting. But their flavor was really wonderful! When I get a crispy exterior, I'll update this recipe pronto. Until then, this is a great recipe for flavorful tender falafel.
Baked Falafel with a Spicy Moroccan Sauce
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Spicy Moroccan Sauce
- 1 medium red sweet pepper
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 pitted whole unsweetened dates
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ras-el-hanout spice
- Place the chickpeas in a pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 2 minutes, remove from the heat, cover, and soak the beans overnight. Drain. At this point they should be soft enough to be easily chopped by a food processor.
- Preheat the oven to 375˚ F, and brush a muffin pan with olive oil (or line with paper muffin cups).
- Put the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade and pulse until coarsely ground. Add in the remaining Falafel ingredients and continue to pulse until the chickpeas are finely ground. You should be able to gather the mixture together into a ball. If you can't, continue to pulse until you can.
- Roll 2 tablespoons of the falafel mix into a ball and place in a muffin cup. Continue with the remaining mix. You should end up with 12 balls. Brush each with a little olive oil, and top with a little Spicy Moroccan Sauce. Slide into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Scoop the falafel out of the muffin tin using a spoon, and ladle a little more sauce over them. Serve warm.
Spicy Moroccan Sauce
- Preheat the oven to 450˚ F, and form 2 foil "trays" that will fit on a baking sheet. Place the red pepper on one foil tray, place the tomatoes on the other. Toss the tomatoes in 1 tablespoon of oil. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove the tomatoes, and continue to roast the pepper until blackened, turning the pepper over every few minutes. Remove the pepper from the oven, and wrap in the foil until cool enough to be handled. Peel and seed.
- Soak the dates in the boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Place the roasted pepper, tomatoes, and remaining Spicy Moroccan Sauce ingredients into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Whirl like crazy until smooth.