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Chris Bavin’s Healthier Falafel Feast

A healthier twist on Middle Eastern fast food, Chris Bavin's falafels are baked rather than fried, and served in warm pitta breads, with plenty of crisp veg, freshly made tzatziki, and chilli sauce. Perfect for a weekend feast with friends.

From the book

Chris Bavin


I love falafel in a wrap or pitta bread with some crispy fresh veg, some pickles and possibly a touch too much chilli sauce. These are baked not fried, so they are a little drier than some falafel, but when you eat them with hummus or tzatziki, you won’t be able to tell.

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1 tsp olive oil
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained rinsed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, grated and juices squeezed out
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
handful of chopped fresh coriander
handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
40g (1½oz) plain flour
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
low-calorie oil spray
hummus, can be shop bought
salt and pepper
For the tzatziki:
200ml (7fl oz) plain yogurt
140g (5oz) cucumber, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed or grated
2 tbsp finely chopped mint
pinch of sugar (optional)
For the chilli sauce:
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
2 red chillies
pinch of sugar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
For the garlic sauce:
2 tbsp plain yogurt
2 tbsp mayonnaise
grated zest of 1 lemon, plus the juice, if needed
1 whole bulb of garlic, roasted in foil for 20–30 minutes
For the salad:
¼ red cabbage, finely shredded
¼ white cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrots, grated
juice of ½ orange
2 handfuls of pomegranate seeds (I use frozen, just defrost before use)


1. For the falafel, preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan/375°F/Gas 5).

2. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes, or until softened and starting to brown (add a splash of water if the onion starts to stick).

3. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Put the onion, chickpeas, garlic, carrots, spices, salt, pepper, chopped herbs, flour and lemon zest and juice in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is fairly smooth – you want to retain some texture, but the paste should be able to hold together.

4. Divide the mixture into 18 equal pieces and shape into patties. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and spray the patties with 10 sprays of oil. Cook on the top shelf of the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until golden brown.

5. For the tzatziki, put the yogurt into a small bowl. Squeeze the grated cucumber to remove any excess liquid and then add it to the yogurt with the garlic, mint, salt and a pinch of sugar, if you need it. Mix well and set aside.

6. For the chilli sauce, simply put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz up. If you don’t have a food processor, just grate or finely chop all the ingredients and mix together.

7. For the garlic sauce, mix the yogurt, mayonnaise and lemon zest in a bowl. Take the whole bulb of garlic, cut the top off and squeeze all the roasted garlic into the mayo and yogurt mixture. Season with salt and pepper, adding a little squeeze of lemon, if it needs it.

8. For the salad, mix together the shredded cabbages and grated carrots. Squeeze over the orange juice and sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds. Mix together and lightly season. You don’t really want this to have too much flavour – you want it to be a crisp, clean contrast to the other flavours.

9. Lower the oven to 180°C (160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4) and move the tray of falafel to the bottom shelf of the oven. Bake for a further 20–25 minutes, or until cooked through. Sprinkle with a little salt. Serve the falafels with the hummus, tzatziki, chilli sauce, garlic sauce and salad as a feast to share.

590 kcal, 18g fat, 70g carbs, 25g protein


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