Have you ever had a falafel? I hope so. If not, you need to make this so you know what your life has been missing. Falafel is usually shaped into little balls and deep-fried, then wrapped up in a soft pita. Instead, I decided to stuff that same falafel mixture inside of a slow-roasted red pepper.
So what we have here is mashed up chickpeas seasoned with fresh basil and parsley plus lemon and a few key spices to achieve crispy, savory Meditteranean perfection. There’s more than one way to falafel, y’all.
This recipe is super belated but super worth the wait. I’ve been thinking about making stuffed peppers for-pretty-much-ever but I couldn’t decide how to stuff them. I don’t know what gave me the notion to stuff them with falafel, but it might’ve been the two hours I spent in my favorite Turkish restaurant while writing about sangria last week. I didn’t actually have a falafel that day, but I did have some of their hummus and a kebab – both of which were delicious, as expected.
Since I was the only patron, I also had a lengthy chat with the manager. (Which is why it took me so long to write the aforementioned post.) He asked me how I discovered Turkish food and their restaurant, in particular. “It all started with Indian food,” I explained.
It’s true. Since Christmas Eve 2 years ago, I’ve been an ethnic food addict. I love the slow-burning spice that comes standard in Indian and Thai food and I love the bright, fresh flavors found in Turkish and Mediterranean meals. They use a lot of the same ingredients, but the beauty is that they use them so differently that the cuisines get their own colorful and unique identities.
Falafel starts off with bland chickpeas – bless their hearts, they’re nutritious, but they’re bland. But then you cook them in this special, Mediterranean way and you end up with layers of savory, aromatic herb flavor and a hint of lemon. Drizzle that special, tangy sauce over top and you get a party in your mouth.
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 2 cup chickpeas [canned, drained, and rinsed]
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 Tablespoon chickpea flour
- ½ cup fresh basil
- ½ cup fresh Italian parsley
- 3 Tablespoons cold pressed olive oil
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ cup vegannaise
- 1.5 tablespoons regular coconut milk (So Delicious, from a carton, not canned)
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Slice bell peppers in half and remove seeds.
- Preheat oven to 400º and line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.
- Add all ingredients for falafel filling to a food processor and blend until the consistency is mostly smooth.
- Arrange bell peppers on the baking sheet and spray lightly with olive oil.
- Spoon falafel mixture into bell peppers until full. Distribute evenly among the pepper halves.
- Bake for 50 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool. Drizzle sauce over top. If desired top with chopped tomatoes and red onion.
- Combine ingredients for sauce in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.