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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

Recipes with chickpeas

29Jun 12

Falafel with Tomato Sauce

Chickpea meatballs with tomato sauceI remember loving the meatballs in tomato sauce that my mother used to make when I was growing up, so the other day I decided to try and make a vegetarian version.  This chickpea falafel with tomato sauce recipe was the result.  The texture is, of course, slightly different than the lamb-based or peri-peri meatballs my mother specialised in, but the lemon, garlic and Italian parsley give them a subtle flavour that  is offset nicely by the tomato and thyme sauce.  Enjoy!

What you’re going to need:

For the falafel:

  • 400g cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 1tsp grated lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the tomato sauce:

  • 500g tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1tbsp pine nuts
  • 170ml crème fraîche
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you have to do:

 

  1. Drain the chickpeas well.
  2. Peel and mince the onion and the garlic.
  3. Wash the parsley and finely chop the leaves.
  4. Place the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, and lemon zest in a food processor and blend to a paste.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Let the mixture stand for about 30 minutes.
  7. Form the mixture into walnut-sized balls.
  8. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat.
  9. Add the falafel and sauté for 10 minutes, shaking the pan at regular intervals so that they brown evenly.
  10. Remove the falafel from the pan and keep them warm in the oven at the lowest setting.
  11. While the falafel is frying, prepare the tomatoes for the sauce by removing the cores.
  12. Submerge the tomatoes in boiling water for a few seconds, then transfer to a bowl of cold water to loosen the skin.
  13. Remove the skin, cut into quarters, and chop finely.
  14. Wash the thyme and strip the leaves from the stems.
  15. Add the remaining oil to the pan.
  16. Add the pine nuts and thyme and sauté for 20 seconds.
  17. Add the tomatoes and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  18. Mix in the crème fraîche and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
  19. Arrange the falafel on 4 plates. Pour the sauce over them and serve.

 

Preparation Time:  15 minutes + 30 minutes setting

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

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28Jun 12

Oven Baked Falafel

Oven Baked Falafel
I’ve always loved falafel, but I’ve never really been very big on deep frying, so I decided to try baking them in the oven instead.  The result was this oven baked falafel recipe, which tastes even better than the classic fried version, if I do say so myself!

Traditionally, falafel is served wrapped in unleavened bread and garnished with lettuce, cucumber, onions, tomatoes and a littler tahini (sesame seed paste)  sauce, or arranged on a plate with the same ingredients.  Personally, I usually just eat them along with whatever salad I have at hand. For a more filling meal, eat them with rice, like this Indian-style brown rice.

 

Oven Baked Falafel
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 500g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in abundant water
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 5 medium onions, peeled and halved
  • 15g fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped very fine
  • 15g fresh coriander, chopped very fine
  • 2tsp salt
  • 2tbsp flour
  • ½tsp paprika
  • ½tsp baking soda
  • ½tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½tsp ground cumin
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 250ml water
Instructions
  1. Using an electric blender or food processor, blend the onion and garlic together to form a paste.
  2. Mix the chopped fresh coriander and flat-leaf parsley into the onion and garlic paste.
  3. Add the prepared chickpeas to the mixture and blend again with the food processor or blender. The final consistency should be a little bit lumpy.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the paprika, baking soda, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon and baking soda.
  5. Add the spice mixture to the chickpea mixture and stir well, making sure the spices are evenly distributed throughout the mix.
  6. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to set for at least an hour and a half.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  8. Grease a baking sheet with a little olive oil or vegetable oil.
  9. Drop tablespoonful-sized balls of the chickpea mixture onto the baking sheet, leaving a few centimetres between each ball and also between the balls and the edge of the tray.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the top sides of the falafel balls have turned golden.
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool on the tray for 5 minutes.
  12. Transfer the falafel balls to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining batter.
  13. Serve on a bed of your favourite salad.

 

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19Jun 12

Spinach and Chickpeas

Spinach and ChickpeasThis spinach and chickpeas recipe makes for a great starter or can even be served as a main course if you accompany it with some oven-warmed French bread and a bit of salad. (If you want to stick with the chickpea theme, try this carrot, chickpea and orange salad.)  As always, I suggest using dried pulses and rehydrating them overnight, but if you don’t have time, you can go ahead and use the precooked canned or bottled ones.

What you’re going to need:

  • 300g chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1 slice white bread
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4tsp paprika
  • 450g fresh spinach
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

What you have to do:

  1. Drain the chickpeas and place them in a pot with enough water to cover them completely.
  2. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover and let cook for 1 hour or until the chickpeas are tender.
  4. Remove from heat and drain off the water.
  5. Heat 30ml of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the slice of bread until it’s golden brown.
  6. Set the fried bread aside on a plate.
  7. Sauté the onion in 15ml of olive oil over low heat until it’s translucent.
  8. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking over low heat for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are dissolved.
  9. Heat the rest of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  10. Add the paprika and sauté for 30 seconds.
  11. Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes until the spinach is tender.
  12. Add the mixture of tomatoes and onions to the spinach, mix well and add the chickpeas.
  13. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Put the fried bread and the garlic in a blender and mix to form a smooth paste.
  15. Add the bread and garlic paste to the spinach and chickpeas.
  16. Add 170ml of cold water and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes.  Add more water if necessary as you cook.
  17. Serve hot.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes + 8 hours soaking the chickpeas

Cooking Time: 55 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

 

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14Feb 12

Moroccan Hummus

Moroccan HummusThis classical Arab dish, originally from Beirut, Libya, is a favourite the world over with vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.  Hummus is incredibly quick and easy to make and once you’ve learned how to do it and I guarantee it will soon become one of your most useful recipes, and a real crowd pleaser too.

Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C, and the chickpeas provide a great source of dietary fibre.  When eaten with bread (the standard method), it provides a complete protein serving due to the mixing of grains and pulses and is therefore a very useful addition to vegetarian and vegan diets.

I usually serve this as a dip, with some kind of flatbread such as Pita or Naan for scooping up the Hummus, but it’s also great with chopped fresh veggies such as carrot or celery sticks, broccoli, red-peppers or even asparagus sticks.  As another interesting variation you can try adding half a red bell pepper to the blended ingredients, or even a jalapeño if you like it spicy or are feeling a bit daring.

Whatever you decide to do, one serving probably won’t be enough, so be sure to have enough ingredients on hand to make a second (or even third  and fourth) batch when your guests start clamouring for it, as I guarantee they will!

What you’re going to need:

  • 1 can of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt (plain yoghurt will do if you don’t have Greek to hand)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds and/or 1 tsp paprika (for garnish)

What you have to do:

  1. Put all the ingredients except the paprika and cumin seeds into an electric blender and blend until a smooth paste is formed.  Make sure the garlic gets blended well too.
  2. If the mixture is too runny, add a little more tahini and chick peas until the desired consistency is reached.  If it’s too thick, add a little water and blend again.
  3. Pour the mixture out onto a deep plate or shallow bowl and pat down with a spoon.
  4. Splash a little olive on top and garnish with the cumin seeds and/or paprika.
  5. Serve with pitta-bread, or slices of French bread, or crisps or crackers, or whatever you have on hand to dip with.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time: n/a

Serves:  2-4

Difficulty: easy

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