One of my all-time most memorable meals happened in a back alley in Amman – the capital of Jordan.
The ‘restaurant’ (I use the term loosely) didn’t have a menu or even a name. But there was a gigantic wok-like pot on a burner out the front. And an old man frying batch after batch of crispy falafels.
We ate them with hummus tucked into pita. With pickled vegetables on the side for a kick of freshness. Yum.
It was the memory of those perfect falafels which inspired this recipe. I wanted something less carby and fresher. And baked not fried because lets face it, large pots of hot oil are scary.
My first attempts using almond meal we good but not quite right – lacking the nubbliness of a good falafel.
And then I had the stroke of genius to use seeds. Partially pulverized in the food processor they are a total winner. Luckily we don’t need to travel to the other side of the world to enjoy them.
- 300 g zucchini courgette 1 medium
- 150 g sunflower seeds or pepitas pumpkin seeds or both
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 egg
- 200 g hummus
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
Turn your oven to 250C (480F).
Grate the zucchini and place in a medium bowl. Pulse the seeds in the food processor until about half dust / half little chunks. Add to the zucchini with the salt, cumin and egg. Stir to mix well.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with baking paper and drizzle generously with oil. Using a soup spoon, scoop the falafels into balls about golf ball size. Place them on the tray as you go. Drizzle each one with more oil.
Pop the falafels in the oven and set your timer for 12 minutes.
When the timer goes check that the falafels are deep golden and sizzling. If not give them another few minutes.
Serve your hot falafels on a bed of hummus with the parsley on the side. They're also good at room temp if you want to take them for a picnic like we did.
Net Carbs: 22g/serve
Variations & Substitutions for Zucchini Falafels
egg-free – you could try a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 2 tablespoons water) but they may not bind as well.
more substantial (carb lovers) – warm pita bread or tortillas.
more substantial (low carb) – serve with boiled, poached or fried eggs. OR with zucchini tortillas or a handful of roast almonds or walnuts.
different vegetables – anything you can grate will work like carrots, beets, kohlrabi, celeriac and you could use broccoli or cauliflower ‘rice’. I’m also thinking drained and squeezed dry frozen spinach would be good.
different seeds / nuts – you could use hemp seeds or almond meal instead of pulverising the seeds. Or try nuts like walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamias or almonds.
carnivore – serve with salami or proscuitto.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
zucchini – will keep for 2 weeks or longer in a plastic bag in the fridge. To keep it even longer, cook sliced zucchini in a little butter until just soft then store in an airtight container in the fridge.
sunflower seeds / pepitas (pumpkin seeds) / salt / cumin – keep them in the pantry.
eggs – will keep in the fridge for weeks or use for another meal.
hummus – will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. Can be frozen.
flat leaf parsley – tends to be the most long lasting of the leafy herbs. Should keep for a few weeks in the fridge if wrapped in a plastic bag. For longer periods pop it in the freezer – it will wilt but will still be useable in this dish.
Problem Solving Guide
bland – more salt! A squeeze of lemon can help. OR some hot sauce.
too dry – overcooked falafels. Next time get them out earlier. For now eating with the hummus will help.
no oven – shallow fry in a little oil being sure to let them cook thoroughly on the first side before turning. Be very careful as they are fragile.
no food processor – finely chop the seeds by hand – they’ll be chunky but that’s fine.
sticking to the tray – next time make sure you use baking paper (not foil) to line your tray and be generous with the oil.
Prepare Ahead for Zucchini Falafels
Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the parsley and hummus separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or can be frozen. Serve at room temp or pop them in the oven for a few minutes to warm through.
More Recipes like Zucchini Falafels
- Zucchini Pizza
- Crispy Zucchini Fritters for St Patrick
- how to make hummus & falafels like a pro [5 ingredients]
- 16 Tasty Ideas for Zucchini
- Zucchini Tortillas (Low Carb)