Air fryers have become a staple cooking appliance in households across the country. You can use these tiny convection ovens to cook everything from wings and chips to bacon and cookies. But air fryers can make more than your favorite apps and snacks — you can totally use them to prepare a full meal. Take, for instance, this air fried falafel, which can be added to gyros, salads or grain bowls.
Not only is falafel a great protein to incorporate into weeknight dinners, but it’s also a popular food for people who subscribe to the Mediterranean Diet — the best diet overall for four consecutive years as named by The U.S. News & World Report. The diet is inspired by the foodways of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, including Italy, Greece and Spain. It focuses on heart and brain-healthy foods like fish, olive oil and nuts. This recipe has the additional healthy benefit of being cooked in the air fryer instead of being deep-fried in oil.
Starchy legumes such as chickpeas are a great source of important minerals that help regulate blood pressure and are a staple in Mediterranean cooking. To turn chickpeas into falafel, place them to a food processor with onion, parsley, cilantro, garlic, salt and cayenne. Once smooth, shape the mixture into balls and add them to an air fryer.
Cook the falafel until brown and crispy then serve in a gyro with a side of tomato cucumber salad and tahini sauce. This recipe is one of many vegetarian dinner recipes that are cheap and easy to make.
Air-fried Falafel with Tahini Sauce and Israeli Salad
This recipe is courtesy of The Mediterranean Table.
- 1 cup Dry garbanzo beans
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3/4 cups flat-leaf, chopped and divided fresh parsley, divided
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- 3/4 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Cooking spray
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
- 1 1/2 cup cucumber
- 1 1/2 cup fresh tomato
Step 1: To make falafel, in medium bowl, place 1 cup chickpeas and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Soak overnight or for up to 24 hours.
Step 2: Drain chickpeas and transfer to food processor. Add 1 cup chopping onion, 1⁄2 cup parsley, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 2 garlic, cloves, 1⁄2 tsp salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and process until finely ground, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1 teaspoon baking powder and pulse until well combined, about 8 times. Using damp hands, shape chickpea mixture into 20 balls, about 1/2 tablespoon each. (Mixture will be very moist but will hold together when lightly squeezed.)
Step 3: Preheat air fryer to 375°F. Coat air-fryer basket with nonstick spray. Arrange 10 falafel in air-fryer basket (or fewer if basket is small). Lightly coat tops of falafel with nonstick spray. Cook falafel in air fryer until browned and crisp, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining falafel.
Step 4: Meanwhile, to make sauce, in small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup tahini, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1⁄8 tsp salt, and 2 tbsp water, adding more water to thin sauce if needed (up to 31⁄2 tbsp total).
Step 5: To make salad, in medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups cucumber, 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, and remaining 1⁄4 cup parsley, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and 1⁄4 tsp salt. Serve falafel warm with salad and sauce.
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