Anita’s Oven-Baked Falafels with Tomato Salsa
Serves: 2 (makes 12 falafels)
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
400g (14 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ onion, very finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp chopped mint or parsley
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp gram flour (chick pea or lentil flour) mixed with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
1 tbsp olive oil
For the tomato salsa:
2 large ripe tomatoes, skinned
¼ red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Veg Portions / Serving: 2
Recipe from The Vegetarian Athlete’s Cookbook by Anita Bean
Falafel are perfect for al fresco eating – picnics, barbecues – as well as lunch on the move. Chickpeas are packed with protein, fibre, iron, manganese and magnesium. They also contain fructo-oligosaccharides, which increase the friendly bacteria of the gut that improve digestion. These falafel are baked instead of fried, so they don’t absorb extra oil.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F/ Gas mark 6. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Put the chickpeas in a blender or food processor and process for a few seconds. Add the onion, coriander, mint or parsley, garlic, spices, gram flour paste and olive oil. Process for a few seconds until combined and a fairly smooth, stiff puree.
Form the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut. You should be able to make about 12. Coat lightly with a little gram flour. Place on the oiled baking sheet and cook in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes until golden, turning once.
Meanwhile, make the salsa. Finely chop the tomatoes and mix with the onion and coriander. Season to taste. Chill.
Serve the cooked falafel with the salsa, salad and wholewheat pitta breads.
Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.
Kids in the kitchen
Let kids really own making the falafels: they can add ingredients to the blender and push the buttons to pulse and mix everything together. Get the mixture out of the blender for them and show them how to shape the falafels so they can make them themselves. Chop the salsa ingredients and let them mix them together.
While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.
Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.
The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.