Spicy Falafel Shakshuka
Do you ever get a craving for a specific food that you just can’t shake? Sometimes for weeks my mind will be concentrated on one food only, with all others I come into contact with being subpar in comparison. When I finally get my hands on my precious craving I eat so much of it that I can’t imagine eating it again. Of course, about a month later I end up with the same whacky craving.
Both falafel and shakshuka have been fueling my recent insatiable appetite. I realize they are both very specific things to crave and also generally unrelated food items. If you’re unfamiliar, falafel is traditionally an Egyptian and Middle Eastern food normally served in a pita with tahini sauce and pickled vegetables. Shakshuka is North African in origin and is traditionally a tomato and poached egg dish served for breakfast.
Before you get ahead of yourself searching for an invisible egg in my picture above, just know there isn’t any. While I loveeee a good poached egg, I wanted to create a version of shakshuka that even vegans can eat. I omitted my yellow, runny pal for another one of my high protein favorites for a meal that can easily be transported and eaten at any time of the day.
One of my favorite things about falafel is that it is an incredibly versatile dish. As I mentioned earlier, once I eat a certain meal, I generally don’t want to eat it again for some time, making leftovers a tricky situation. While I live with my boyfriend who sometimes acts as a human vacuum with leftovers, I try to cut down on food waste as much as possible.
I’ll be honest, falafel takes a bit of time to make. However, the amount of time I put into making falafel seems to equate to the amount of time I would have spent cooking other dishes throughout the week, making this food worthwhile. Falafel’s versatility allows me to make a lot of food and use it in a variety of ways. When I get tired of eating the same old pita dish, I use falafel for a quick sandwich or salad, or in this case, shakshuka.
With 2 grams of protein per falafel and 26% of your daily fiber in three, falafel is the super food of fried foods.
If you’re officially convinced, check out the recipe below.
Spicy Falafel Shakshuka
(Makes 50 falafel balls and 4 servings of shakshuka)
- 2 cans of 29oz chick peas/ garbanzo beans (I prefer dry chick peas over canned because they seem to require less flour, but for this recipe and general convenience I used canned)
- 13 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, chopped into chunks
- 1 serrano pepper, sliced into rings
- 2 14oz cans of plum tomatoes, with juice
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- 1 bunch of parsley
- juice from one lemon
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 1/2 tbsp of salt
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp coriander
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp cayenne
- 3 cups of vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup of flour
- feta (optional)
- pita (optional)
1. Rinse, drain and pat dry chick peas. If you're using dried chick peas, soak them overnight, then rinse, drain and dry.
2. Combine chick peas, 10 cloves of the minced garlic, lemon juice, parsley, almost all of the cilantro (leave a tiny bit for finishing touches on shakshuka), 2 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of black pepper, 1 tbsp of cumin and 1 tbsp of coriander in a food processor. If you have a small food processor, it may be best to add a little bit at a time and then hand mix the ingredients all together in a large bowl. The consistency of the chickpeas should be smooth, but grainy.
3. Let mixture sit in a fridge for about an hour or more so that all the flavors can combine.
4. Mix in flour into the chickpea mixture once flavors have set and roll out small balls, about the size of a doughnut hole, to be fried.
5. Heat vegetable oil on medium heat and place one falafel ball into the oil as a tester. If it falls apart while frying, add more flour into your mixture until you get a consistency that allows the falafel balls to stay compact.
6. Set finished fried falafel balls on a paper towel lined plate to rest.
7. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add diced onions.
8. Once onions have started to cook down (about 3-5 minutes), add the chopped serrano pepper and red pepper to the onions, stirring occasionally.
9. Add the remaining three cloves of minced garlic and let the mix cook for about 5 more minutes.
10. Add tomato paste and stir to coat.
11. Add the plum tomatoes with juice and mix all ingredients together, smashing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon in the process.
12. Mix in the remaining salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Cook until mixture has thickened and tomatoes are dispersed, about 15 minutes.
13. Serve with falafel, chopped cilantro and pita on the side. Sprinkle feta cheese on top as an optional topping.