Baked Chickpea “Burgers” (Falafel)
It’s officially winter here in upstate NY. I know, the calendar says it’s only November, but I start mourning the loss of warmer temperatures on Halloween. Right now my hands are freezing as I type, my neck is cold without a scarf on, and my little puppy doesn’t want to go for long walks outside anymore. In my world, winter has begun. Now, I’m sure some of you just love wintertime. You can’t wait for peppermint mochas and snowball fights. The cold wind invigorates your body and livens up your spirit. Well, good for you! I plan on hibernating until April, thank you very much.
Sometimes, I try to trick myself into feeling more optimistic about the impending cold weather. “It’s not wintertime, Jessie!” I’ll tell myself. “It’s just a cold autumn, or a freezing springtime. Maybe my hands aren’t freezing from the bitter wind at all! Instead, my fingers must be tingling with excitement! The foggy air in front of you? It’s just the humid summer air!”
Yeah, I know – my mindtricks are pretty lame. But I feel better if I can forget about the harsh realities of winter for a little while. Thinking of spring for a just moment makes the cold wind outside seem less permanent. Sometimes, that’s all I need to get me through the next freezing cold day.
After all, changing your mindset can be as easy as changing a name or two. For example, I was going to call this recipe just “Falafel”. Because, well – it is falafel. But all too often, I’ve announced dinner only to be met with confused looks. “Falafel?” people ask. “I don’t know what that is – can I have macaroni and cheese instead?” Or, “A falafel? Isn’t that a type of snow plow?” Also, the word “falafel” doesn’t explain what you’re actually eating. It’s not like the word “pizza” or “sandwich”. Everyone already has an idea about the ingredients in pizza or in a sandwich, but falafel hasn’t always made it into our common vocabulary yet. You don’t want to scare people away from your kitchen, so it’s a good idea to always have some alternate recipe titles in mind. “Baked Chickpea Patties” or “Oven-Baked Chickpea Sliders” sound delicious, and everyone knows the main ingredient. Plus, the concept is already familiar – everyone likes burgers.
So the next time it’s freezing cold outside (oops, I mean the next time there’s a lovely bite of chill in the air), announce to your loved ones that you’re making baked chickpea burgers. They’ll love the little sliders, and you’ll love the warmth from the oven during those cold nights. Enjoy!
Baked Chickpea Burgers (Falafel)
One 16 oz. can of chickpeas, drained
¼ cup onion, diced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. flour
Optional: 1 tsp. cilantro or parsley, minced
Toppings for burgers: pickles, ketchup, and cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until the mixture holds together in a dough.
Refrigerate the dough for twenty minutes.
Scoop small patties out of the dough. Shape into flat discs, and place onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for six minutes, and then flip the burgers over. Bake for another six minutes. Continue to bake until the burgers are crispy on the outside, 5-10 minutes more.