Falafel perched on a chopped salad, along with a side of marinated cucumbers. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at iwrite33@comcast.net or 504-0545.

I’m very fond of falafel – or is it falafels? In any case, this lightened-up, finish-off-in the-oven version is so tasty whether served atop a big, chopped salad as shown, or tucked into a warmed pita with crisp lettuce and other vegetables added. These are delicate, so handle with care so they don’t crumble around the edges.

This is the third falafel recipe I’ve tried recently and I love the addition of almond flour and all those carrot and onion bits. But what really makes these special, and also extra aromatic, is the addition of cinnamon to the mix.

I also like to add an extra squeeze of lemon juice on the falafels once I have them on my plate. And full disclosure, I know there are three of those yummy patties shown on my salad in the photo, but in reality, I confess that I ate five of them. (Well, I did skip lunch.)

Even though this accompanying cucumber salad has an Asian influence, it goes well with the falafels. Just smash those cucumbers so they have lots of craggy edges, nooks and crannies to hold onto that salty, oily dressing, then sprinkle with lots of sesame seeds for added interest.

Tuck these crunchy specimens in your pita or add them to your salad – or both. And do try the option of that chili oil.

Lightened-up falafels

2 carrots, peeled and finely diced


1 large onion, finely diced

1 bunch parsley, chopped

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained (liquid reserved)

1 cup almond flour, packed

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons tahini

3 tablespoons coconut aminos or soy sauce


1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil for frying

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a food processor, pulse the carrots to chop them, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Do the same with the onion, then the parsley, then pulse the chickpeas just until mashed and stir them into the vegetables and herbs.

Add the almond flour to the bowl, followed by the remainder of the ingredients and stir to combine. The mixture should have the consistency of soft cookie dough. If it seems too dry and doesn’t hold together, add some of the reserved chickpea liquid a tablespoon at a time, stirring until the dough sticks together. If the dough is too loose, add almond flour a tablespoon at a time.

Form the mixture into 2-inch patties. These can be cooked immediately or covered and chilled until meal time.


Over medium heat, pour enough olive oil in a large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan and heat. Working in batches, cook falafels for 2-3 minutes on each side, until browned and crispy. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes until cooked through and firm.

The falafels can be completely made ahead, then reheated for 10-15 minutes in a 300-degree oven.

Yield: 24 (2-inch) falafels

Smashed cucumber salad

2 European cucumbers

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1-2 teaspoons chili oil (optional)


3 scallions, chopped

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

On a cutting board, cut the cucumbers in half, then cut each half lengthwise. Place the cucumber pieces flat side down and using a large chef’s knife flat or a rolling pin, apply pressure to smash the cucumber pieces. The peel should crack open. Repeat this until the pieces are smashed, then cut at a 45-degree angle into bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl, mix the cucumber pieces with the prepared dressing, garlic, and chili oil, if using. Toss well.

Just before serving, garnish with scallions, cilantro and sesame seeds.


Yield: 4 servings


1 teaspoon salt

2½ teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons sesame oil

3 teaspoons light soy sauce

1½ tablespoons rice vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a small container, stirring or shaking until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Set aside.

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