Middle eastern vegetarian recipe - and so easy!

Well, have I got a treat for you.

Robin Robertson, self-published author of Vegan Fire & Spice, has given us some recipes to try.

And this should be fun, because the book is loaded with recipes from all over the world, including the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Africa. Such as Satays with Ginger Peanut Sauce. Spicy Szechuan Noodles. And Thai Coconut Soup. Recipes that look pretty easy (but, alas, have no photographs so you won't know what dinner will look like until you make it).

First up, we got falafel memories
The worst falafel I ever got was in Berkeley. It was so bad, it made it to our worst list. As in, “Hey, remember that falafel from that place in Berkeley?” No more needs to be said; we remember. The second worse was in Charlotte. Among other condiments, they put sweet pickle relish in it. My husband stopped me from leaning across the counter and giving the guy a good smack in the forehead with the heel of my hand.

The best falafel I ever got was in Toronto. It you are ever in Toronto, it was at a hole-in-the-wall place called Aida's Falafel. They were a small chain that could have long since closed for all I know. But if they are still there, the one I liked best was at Bloor and Bathurst. The next best one was on Yonge Street.

The saddest falafel I didn’t get was in the middle east. I got all sorts of great food, including an Arab bread I still yearn for and baklava that did terrible things to my tummy, but I never got around to getting a falafel. When I think of that, my husband has to stop me from giving myself a good smack in the forehead with the heel of my hand.
Recipe for Robin’s smack-free Chickpea Falafel
1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
Canola oil, for frying

In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, black pepper, and 1/4 cup of the breadcrumbs and process until well combined. Taste to adjust seasonings. Form the mixture into patties, using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each one. If the mixture is not firm enough to shape into patties, add another tablespoon or two of breadcrumbs. Dredge the patties in the remaining breadcrumbs.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. Be careful not to burn. Repeat until all of the falafel are cooked.

Serves 4

In my next post, I have a heart-warming comfort food recipe perfect, just perfect, for this time of year.

But if you can’t wait, you can get more here. Oh, and the author asked me to tell you all the recipes are copyright Vegan Fire & Spice by Robin Robertson © 2008.