Spicy Sunflower-Infused Waffle’d Falafel Balls [Vegan]

Reason #1 you should make these: The name. Waffle’d Falafel Balls. Or Wafalafel. Whatever you call it, it’s great.

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Go ahead, say it out loud: “I made falafel waffle balls!” *instantly* you feel awesome. And a bit silly. Two great things to improve your mood and the mood of anyone lucky enough to share these with you.

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Which brings me to reason #2 you should make these: they are honestly ridiculously amazing. I [nearly] had to slap my mom’s fingers off them when I was taking photos. Although baking them in a waffle maker is totally unnecessary, it does wonderful things for the texture by providing more surface area for browning/crispiness and creating more dense and more airy pockets and gets a nice Maillard reaction going (which I explained better when I used the waffle iron to make Chocolate Chip Waffle Cookies here). You have my permission to make this recipe and simply bake them in the oven. They will still taste magnificent even though they would be as fun to say or quite as interesting to eat, but I think you’ll still enjoy them, and so will your body.

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Leading to reason #3 you should make these: they are quite nutritious! Chickpeas are powerhouses of protein, fiber, and quality carbohydrates which will give you oodles of energy to power through your day without leaving you feeling weighed down. If you aren’t already friendly with beans and legumes, I suggest you start eating more. They provide protein and satiety while also delivering the goodness of plants via an array of vitamins, and minerals. Aka, they win. Eat up friends, and don’t be afraid to toot. #worthit

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I made these vegan by replacing the egg typically seen in falafel recipes with one tablespoon chia seeds and 2 tablespoons water, which provided some viscosity and emulsification to the mix. I also ground up sunflower seeds for a boost of palatable fat, a more interesting texture, and a complimentary earthiness to dance with the chickpeas.

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These would be great on a salad, as part of a snack plate, or tucked into a pita or to bulk up a sandwich. Or, you can do what my mom did and just eat them plain. That works too. However you eat them, baked or waffle’d, enjoy these tiny nutritious nuggets of pure joy.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Level: Easy
makes about 8 small waffle patties – serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas (15oz), drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (can also use tahini instead)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds + 2 tablespoons water (or 1 egg, if not vegan)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/3 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder or cumin
  • a hearty squeeze of Sriracha or other hot sauce (if you like it hot, which I do ;-))
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Plug in your waffle iron and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place chia seeds and water in a small bowl to congeal and set aside.

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3. Drain and rinse can of chickpeas.

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4. Chop green onions and cilantro.

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5. Place sunflower seeds in a food processor and grind until fine. Slowly add teaspoon of oil until the sunflower seeds become a peanut-butter-like paste.

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6. Add chickpeas, onions, cilantro, spices, chia/water mix, juice of half a lemon, and Sriracha to food processor. Whirl until you get a nice mushy paste that is slightly wet and sticks together.

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7. Roll into donut-hole sized balls and place each in a quarter of the waffle iron. Close and allow to cook until golden brown and firm, about 2-4 minutes.

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8. Transfer to baking sheet and place in oven for about 10 minutes to crisp them up a bit. This is optional, but I like things crispy, so I did it, yo.

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9. Allow to cool and eat on a sandwich, pita, or salad. Or straight to the face!

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