Growing up in a sephardic jewish home, we were the family that moseyed our way though Passover, clearing out the ‘chametz’ in place of a weeks worth of Persian rices, lentils, and legumes – those ‘kitinyot’ Passover perverse for my ashkenazi compadres. Though I’m not the clearest on why ethnic origin dictates degree of Passover prohibition (research for another day..), I’ve always loved using the holiday, and what’s felt like this great little sneak of extra options, as an excuse to get more creative with otherwise overlooked grains.
Taking one of my favorite everyday bites, the falafel, and giving it a more nutritionally substantial and springtime twist, these Millet and Herb Falafel are perfect for your sephardic Passover week, or really any lunch or dinnertime boost. Nutty and flavor packed, millet, a less commonly used grain nutritionally similar to quinoa and amaranth, is considered a complete protein. Quickly whizzed up with cooked chickpeas, bright spring herbs, and a squish of fresh lemon juice, then lightly pan fried to acheive that mildly crispy crunchy exterior we all know and love, these little patties not only add so much flavor to a meal, but are wonderfully belly filling without the heavy and greasy post-falafel-eating-aftermath. The perfect addition to Mediterranean inspired salads, rainbow buddha bowls, or delicious on their own with a dollop of hummus, I serve mine over a bed of fresh herbs and quinoa, with sliced cucumber and tomato, salty olives, and artichoke hearts – perfection.
Millet and Herb Falafel [makes 14 falafel]
recipe inspired by: Gwyneth Paltrow, It’s All Good, Millet “Falafel”
½ cup uncooked millet
1 ½ cups filtered water
½ cup cooked chickpeas (I used canned, drained + rinsed)
½ cup fresh parsley
¼ cup fresh mint
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
zest of 1 lemon
salt & pepper to taste
In a small pot, bring millet and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes, or until millet is cooked through and all water is absorbed. Transfer now cooked millet to a food processor fitted with an S-blade.
Add chickpeas, parsley, mint, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and lemon zest to the food processor and gently pulse until ingredients are well incorporated, but not too mashed. Season to taste, then set aside.
In a large skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat until just hot. Using a spring-release ice cream scooper or a tablespoon and your fingers (!), carefully drop balls of falafel mixture into the now hot oil, gently pressing down on each ball until they form flatter disks. Heat for 5-7 minutes on the first side, or until golden and crisp, then carefully flip. Heat for an additional 5 minutes, or until second side is also golden and crisp, then remove falafel from heat. (Note: depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to divide this step into two or three batches). Serve and enjoy!
Nutritional Information [per falafel]
60 Calories, 3.5g Fat, 6.6g Carbohydrates, 1g Fiber, 0g Sugar, 1.2g Protein
All ingredients for this recipe generously provided by Whole Foods Market, Friendship Heights