Gone are the days when I was cooking for hordes on a daily basis. Nowadays, more often than not, I am just cooking for two. You know how it goes, you throw together a quick meal using whatever you have in the fridge and the larder and often, for me, that involves a can of beans. But, delicious as they are, sometimes using a whole can of beans just means there is too much to eat all in one go.
If I can help it, I also like to avoid eating the same thing two days running, or, a week later, discovering something from the Qatermass Experiment lurking at the back of the fridge. So here’s one great recipe to avoid all that. A recipe you can evolve naturally and easily, saving on waste and guilt, and which delivers two delicious and very different meals for only one meal’s worth of effort.
It all starts with a delicious, houmus-meets-guacamole bean dip that is really nutritious and filling. This recipe makes enough for eight people as a starter or four as a light lunch, served with crudites and flatbreads. But what you really want, is to only eat half of this at the first sitting as any leftovers can quickly be turned into the most delicous falafel-style patties you’ve ever had – it may even be worth going straight for the falafels and ignoring the dip. Either way, this is just so easy.
- 400g (one can) beans or chick peas. You can use absolutely any kind of bean, this time I used flageolet beans
- 2 spring onions roughly chopped
- 1 large plum tomato roughly chopped
- 1 handful of roughly chopped coriander
- 1 tbsp chopped chilli
- 3 tbsps tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 clove of garlic
- juice of one lemon
- good glug of extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
And for the falafel
- 2 tbsps flaxmeal
- 70g (half a cup) coconut flour
- Coconut oil for frying (optional)
Put everything except the salt and pepper into the food processor (I don’t even bother to drain the beans) and whizz until you have the texture you like, adding more or less oil to get the consistency you prefer. Add salt and pepper to taste once everything is combined and give another quick pulse to make sure it is all mixed together thoroughly.
Put in a lovely bowl and serve with flatbreads* and raw veggies.
To make the falafel, take half the bean dip and put in a mixing bowl, add the flax meal and coconut flour and mix thoroughly. I wouldn’t use a food processor for this stage as it may become too heavy for the machine. The final mixture should be dry enough for you to easily form into little patties. If necessary add a bit more coconut flour.
While you make the patties, heat the coconut oil in a pan, and, once really hot, add the patties in batches. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes each side until golden and crispy, removing onto kitchen towel to drain. The falafel can also be baked in the oven at 200 degrees C for 15 minutes, but the final result won’t be as crispy.
Serve wrapped in a lettuce leaf with tomato and pickled gherkins and a drizzle of tahini mixed with lemon juice. Just yummy.
Half the bean dip makes approximately 12 falafel.
If you’re going straight for the falafel and missing out the bean dip stage, just double up on the amount of coconut flour and flaxmeal.
A quick note on coconut oil. It is super healthy, mainly because it helps your body metabolise carbohydrate, and doesn’t oxidise at very high temperatures (like most seed based, or even olive oils) and so is brilliant for cooking. It also makes everything taste delicious. I try to avoid most cooking oils like the plague, they are too heavy in Omega 6 which can be inflammatory and are often made from GMO and/or heavily sprayed crops.
* There is a delicious recipe for Paleo flat-breads in the Paleo Baking Recipe e-book you can download for free here.