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Eggplant Falafel with Sesame Dressing

Eggplant can be a challenging veggie to enjoy.  They have a natural occuring bitterness to them.  Not dealing with that bitter flavor can ruin a lot of hard work in the kitchen.  I do a major salt soak on any eggplant I want to eat.  Here is what I do to make eggplant addictingly delicious!

Eggplant falafel is a richly flavored dish that has become a farm favorite.  It's the kind of dish that you can mix up a big batch of and refrigerate.  When you need a quick meal, then pull the falafel mix out of the fridge and form enough falafel balls for that meal.  Let them warm to room temperature while the oil heats up.  Fry and enjoy with fresh chopped vegetables and tahini dressing.  Oh, yeah you should mix up some tahini dressing for use all week too.

I peel the eggplant first and cut the top off.

Then I cube it into small chunks.  The small chunks of eggplant give more surface area for the salt to pull out the bitter flavor.

Salt it well in a bowl.  Toss it around so the cubes of eggplant are coated with salt.  Then I salt it a little more on the top.  The salt draws the bitter flavor out.

After an hour there's liquid in the bottom of the bowl.  Now rinse all those cubes under water in a colander to remove that salty bitter liquid.

Spread the eggplant out in a pan.  Lightly sprinkle and coat with olive oil and salt.  Roast in a 450 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.  Throw in a chopped sweet pepper halfway through.  Toss the eggplant around in the pan every 10 minutes.

Delicious and flavorful roasted eggplant with roasted sweet peppers.

Toss all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture is mixed.  Don't puree it.  You want some texture in the falafel.  To prepare the chickpeas for blending just soak 1 cup of dried chickpeas overnight.  They will double in size and are ready to use without cooking them.  That's why I love falafel because you only have to soak the chickpeas!  It will feel crumbly sometimes, but for some reason holds together well.

Roll a scoop of the mixture into a ball and drop it into the hot oil.  The falalfel should take 3-5 minutes a side to cook.  If it browns too fast then turn the heat down a little.  You want to try to cook the falafel through to the center.  If the falafel ball falls apart in the oil then add more flour or an egg.  Test again until the mixture is holding together well.  If the grease isn't hot enough then sometimes the falafel will fall apart too.  The goal is to form a crust around the outside that will hold together the falafel.  I think falafel balls hold together best when they are at room temperature when you drop them in the oil.  So, I make up the balls an hour ahead of fry time and let them sit.

Falafel!  Serve with Tahini dressing on the side along with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh mint and sweet peppers.  Basically chop up any fresh veggie you have on hand.

Eggplant Falafel

1 Large Eggplant - peeled, cubed, salt soaked, rinsed, oiled and roasted

1-2 Sweet Peppers - roasted

2 cups drained chickpeas(soak 1 cup dried chickpeas overnight and it turns into 2 cups by morning.  then drain and rinse and they're ready to use.  No cooking needed.)

1/8 cup fresh italian parsley - chopped

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1-2 garlic cloves

1-2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper

1 medium sweet onion

1/4 cup oat flour or all purpose flour

Mix all ingredients together.  Fry!  Don't want to fry them?  Try baking them.  The falafel mixture is delicious and can be used many ways.

Tahini Dressing

1/2 cup tahini(I like the raw tahinis.  It's a milder flavor.)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1-2 cloves of garlic

salt and pepper to taste

Water(Use as much as needed to thin to the right consistency.  You want the dressing to be pourable, but not too watery.)

 

Just blend it all together.  Adjust flavors as needed.

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