Fried Falafel Cakes with Hot Pepper Dip

I say *fried* because I once worked at a restaurant where we *baked* our falafel (mind-blowing, I know), which made our calorie-conscious customers practically orgasm before they added it to their kale salads. (It’s healthier, it’s true.) But typical falafel is fried, so we’re gonna stick with the rules on this one.

While it’s sometimes rolled into balls and fried or flattened and flipped like patties, you can mold your falafel into any shape you like. Dig out that dinosaur-shaped pancake iron, and mash the batter into that, if you really feel like breaking with tradition. I made my falafel crab cake-sized. Small and delicate, eaten with a fork like a lady.

I recently toured a friend around Baltimore. The one item of required eating in this city is obvious: crab. But since it feels like winter before winter officially strikes, we weren’t about to pick apart crab bodies at a picnic table. Crab cakes were the appropriate alternative.

I was less than impressed with a “vegan crab cake” I tried to make a while back. Let’s just say I’m not into the fake meat substances. I like these falafel cakes better. There’s nothing crabby about them, sure. But whereas they’re often seen as street food or tucked into a blanket-like flatbread, they can also stand alone on a plate.

I served these falafel cakes with this hot pepper dip because I’m OBSESSED and have been caught eating this veggie dip solo, right out of the fridge with a spoon. It’s spicy and goes well on anything. Almost.

Fried Falafel Cakes

Makes 9 patties

Original recipe from Hot Vegan

What you need:

  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup dried bread crumbs (or crushed saltine crackers)
  • Olive oil or grapeseed oil for frying

Instructions:

Piece together that handy food processor. Add the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup of the breadcrumbs (or cracker crumbs). Whirl it around until everything combines. Adjust the seasonings if you like to do that. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, using your hands, form the mixture into patties. Roll them around in the breadcrumbs. Set them in the oil (carefully! They’re delicate little guys!), and cook them for four minutes on each side, until golden-brown. Serve them hot with some yummy sauce.

Hot Pepper Dip

Original recipe from Food52 Vegan 

What you need: 

  • 1 cup chopped cashews, soaked in water for 3 hours and drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp hot pepper paste
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Instructions:

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until creamy. Add a teaspoon more water if it’s too thick. This will keep in the fridge for 5 days.

 

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