In theory, I love falafel. In practice, it has often failed me.

Fast food falafel (how’s that for some amazing alliteration?) is usually very dry, despite being deep fried, while, healthier homemade falafel usually falls apart as I desperately seek to cook it.

Nevertheless, I recently gave my fabulous friend (or foe?), falafel, the benefit of the doubt, offering him an olive branch and a second (or fourth) chance.

This recipe is actually quite lovely. In the original version, it is baked in the oven. I tried it baked, and found the result to be incredibly dry and bordering on unappealing. I sauteed the second batch in a skillet with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, and the results were astoundingly more delicious. Moral of the story? Opt for an extra tablespoon of heart-healthy oil and the tastiness of your falafel will increase tenfold.

The success of this dish has resulted in falafel and I being back on speaking terms and working our way towards total reconciliation. I have felt so let down by falafel in the past that this is a slow and arduous process, but we’re working hard at making our relationship work. This recipe was a grand leap in the right direction.

Give the poor guy a chance, he promises to not let you down either.

Falafel (lightened up)

Adapted from Chow Vegan

2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Pulse the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, and cilantro in a food processor until chopped finely, but not pureed.
2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
3. Form into small balls, about 1 1/2″ in diameter and slightly flatten.
4. Heat 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the falafels (in two or three batches) on both sides, until nicely browned.
5. Serve warm with hummus and/or stuffed inside a pita with chopped lettuce, tomato, onion, and cucumber.