These little vegetarian rissoles, called falafel, are popular all over the Middle East. Usually deep fried in oil, in this version they are baked for a delicious low-fat alternative. They make a great filling for pitta bread pockets, packed out with crisp salad and a minty yogurt dressing.
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, unless it is nonstick in which case this won't be necessary.
2. Grate the lemon zest and squeeze the juice from half the lemon (you'll need about 1 tbsp juice). Peel and roughly chop the garlic and trim and chop the spring onions.
3. Put the chickpeas in a blender or food processor with the lemon zest and 1 tbsp juice the chopped garlic, spring onions, olive oil, cumin and coriander. Season with salt and pepper then whizz together to make a smooth paste.
4. Shape the mixture into 12 even-sized balls, then arrange them on the baking tray and flatten them lightly with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes until firm and lightly browned, turning them halfway through the cooking time. Serve warm, or cool then freeze.
To serve Serve four falafel in warmed whole-wheat pitta bread that you have cut in half width ways and filled with crisp shredded lettuce, sliced tomato and cucumber, drizzled with a little minty yogurt dressing. To make the dressing, simply stir 1tsp mint sauce into 3 tbsp natural low-fat yogurt. Alternatively, omit the cucumber from the salad and use tzatziki dip as a dressing.
MAKES 3 PORTIONS (12 FALAFEL)
• 410g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
. 1 lemon
• 2 garlic cloves
• 3 spring onions
• 1tbsp olive oil
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
• salt and freshly ground black pepper (or cayenne pepper)