Kitchen Stories Meals

Falafel Au Gratin: Italian and Lebanese fusion

April 14, 2019
Falafel Au Gratin: Italian and Lebanese fusion

Falafel Au Gratin:

Falafel Au Gratin – Is a fusion of Italian and Lebanese recipe, a union between best of both the worlds. It took me two and a half years to write this blog on Falafel Au Gratin, and finally, it’s ready. On the brighter side, it’s already been thoroughly tried and tested by many near and dear ones, with whom I had shared the recipe already.

I had developed this recipe in the year 2016 during the Diwali festivities while working on the Falafel sliders for dinner – tell me about it; what an irony of not indulging into the Diwali food, instead I went on a whim and worked on the fusion recipe. Hey! Whatever tingles the taste buds. Isn’t it?

The fact is, I was missing fam jam during Diwali festivities and wanted to mimic similar merry-making around. It resulted in spending my whole day preparing Diwali sweets, snacks, and of course, doing rangoli.

When I visited India in the following year, I made this recipe and fed the family members, a couple of times, and they loved it. So far they have used the recipe more often than I used it myself.

Chickpeas mix and spices.

Chickpeas mix and spices.

Chickpea + spices + herbs : Homemade Falafel mix.

Chickpea + spices + herbs: Homemade Falafel mix.

Falafel Bites.

Falafel Bites.

Falafels bites.

Falafels bites.

Pan-roasted Falafel bites.

Pan-roasted Falafel bites.

Falafel bites.

Pan-roasted Falafel bites.

Falafel Au Gratin for Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner Parties

Being a flavor-packed meal, Falafel Au Gratin may very well be a brunch, lunch, or dinner party dish. It’s a versatile option for entertaining the guests because it can comfortably accommodate the Gluten-free or the Vegan-friendly guests without any additional efforts.

Tip 1#: To make the dish, vegan friendly, discard or substitute the cheese with the vegan cheese.

Gadgets Required:

  • Food processor
  • Pressure cooker
  • Sieve
  • Spatula and spoons
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Shallow Pan
  • Flat Pan
  • Family style bake or serve size bake dish

Ingredients: For 4 -6 servings

  • Falafel
    • Chickpea Version:
      • Option 1#: 1.5 cups overnight soaked chickpeas.
        • 2-3 cups of water to pressure cook the chickpeas.
        • Cook chickpeas until al dente or can have a bite to them.
        • Drain well; bake or roast in a pan as directed below.
      • Option 2#: 2 cans of chickpeas.
        • Canned chickpeas are overly cooked – Drain well.
        • Use about 1/4th cup bread crumb or chickpea flour, to bind and to form falafel bites.
          • Bread crumb or chickpea flour will help control the water proportion.
          • Prepare the falafel bites by either baking or pan roasting them as directed below.
      •  Option 3#: 1.5 cups soaked chickpeas.
        • Best if deep-fried. Drain chickpeas well and if required pat chickpeas dry.
        • Processing the raw well-soaked chickpeas and do the spices as directed below. No need to pressure-cook them.
        • Use bread crumbs or chickpea flour to bind the dough to help make the falafel bites.
    • A cup of fresh Cilantro
    • A cup of fresh Parsley (optional)
    • 1/4 cup of fresh Mint leaves
    • A cup of Baby Spinach (optional)
    • 2 tsp roasted Cumin seed powder
    • One fresh Jalapeno
    • 1/4 cup of chopped Onions
    • Two cloves of Garlic
    • 1 tsp Sumac
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 tsp crushed Red Pepper (Chili) flakes
    • 1 tsp dried Oregano or a good bunch of fresh Oregano
  • Marinara Sauce

    • 2-3 tsp Olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp crushed Red Pepper (Chili) flakes
    • 1/2 tsp dried Oregano
    • Freshly cracked Black Pepper
    • Passata or 2 kg Vine Ripe Tomatoes
    • Salt to taste
    • 1-2 cup grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Vegetable Medley

    • 2-3 tsp Olive oil
    • 1/2 – 1 Onion
    • 2-3 cloves of Garlic
    • 1 Green Pepper
    • 1 Red Pepper
    • 1/2 tsp crushed Red Pepper (Chili) flakes
    • 1/2 tsp dried Oregano
    • Salt to taste

Falafel Bites Directions:

Tip 2#: I opted for the Chickpea Option 1; pressure cook overnight soaked chickpeas to al dente, by adding an adequate amount of water and salt.

  • Drain the chickpeas for an hour or more. This will drain all the excess water from the chickpeas to help form the falabel bites.
  • Onion and Garlic Mix:

    • In a shallow pan, saute onion and garlic with chili flakes and oregano to translucent.
  • Falafel Mix:

    • Add drained chickpeas to the food processor and add sauteed onions and garlic mix.
    • Add cilantro, mint, parsley, baby spinach, cubed jalapeno with seeds to the food processor along with other listed spices sumac, roasted ground cumin seeds, oregano, chili flakes and finally, salt to taste.
    • Pulse the chickpeas mix 4-5 times leaving the texture for the bite  – Avoid having a smoother consistency.
    • Take the tablespoon of a dollop and make the ball. Flatten the ball to make the shape as shown in the images.
  • Roast Falafel Bites:

    • Brush the olive oil to a flat pan. Roast the falafel bites on both the sides giving them a beautiful light brown color.

Marinara Sauce:

Tip 3#: If using vine ripped tomatoes; use boiling method to de-skin tomatoes and crush as you like them, smooth or with bite.

  • Heat olive oil in the pan, add chili flakes and oregano in oil. Let spice infuse olive oil on the medium heat.
  • Add passata or prepared tomato pulp or puree and cook it for 10-15 mins to a semi-thick consistency (It should neither be too runny nor too thick). The sauce should have a ladling consistency.
  • Add black pepper and salt to the sauce.

Vegetable Medley:

Tip 4#: Slice red pepper, green pepper, onion, and garlic length wise.

  • On a medium heat; Saute onion, garlic, red pepper, and green pepper with olive oil, chili flakes and oregano with salt to taste.
  • Leave the crunch to the vegetables.
Assemble Falafel Au Gratin:
  • To a serving size bake dish, place 2-3 falafel bites, add marinara sauce, vegetable medley and sprinkle grated cheddar cheese.
  • Broil instructions: Broil Falafel Au Gratin in the oven for about 5 mins or until cheese is bubbly with an excellent brown char.
  • Best-paired with wine or pop; Leaning on good old pairing suggestions for Italian or Lebanese cuisine.

Tip 5#: Host a Dinner Party: Prepare falafel bites and marinara sauce in the advance. Leave vegetable medley and assembling Au Gratin for the party day. Broil Falafel Au Gratin when the guests arrive and serve hot with either of the salads suggested below.

  • For dinner, serve Falafel Au Gratin with fresh arugala and shaved mushroom with shaved parmesan cheese salad or Tabbouleh.
Vegetable medley of red pepper, green pepper, onion, and garlic.

Vegetable Medley: Red pepper, green pepper, onion, and garlic.

Vegetable medley of red pepper, green pepper, onion, and garlic.

Vegetable Medley: Red pepper, green pepper, onion, and garlic.

Falafels - Gluten-free bites.

Falafels – Gluten-free bites.

The fusion mix for Falafel Au Gratin.

The fusion recipe: Falafel Au Gratin.

Italian marinara sauce

Italian marinara sauce.

Vegetable Medley, Marinara sauce, Falafel bites.

Vegetable Medley, Marinara sauce, Falafel bites.

Plating Falafel Au Gratin

Plating Falafel Au Gratin

Plating Falafel Au Gratin: Falafel + marinara sauce.

Plating Falafel Au Gratin: Falafel + marinara sauce.

Plating Falafel Au Gratin: Falafel + marinara sauce + vegetable medley

Plating Falafel Au Gratin: Falafel + marinara sauce + vegetable medley

Plating Falafel Au Gratin: Falafel + marinara sauce + vegetable medley + cheese.

Plating Falafel Au Gratin: Falafel + marinara sauce + vegetable medley + cheese.

Lebanese and Italian fusion: Falafel Au Gratin.

Lebanese and Italian fusion: Falafel Au Gratin.

Falafel Au Gratin.

Falafel Au Gratin.

Falafel Au Gratin.

Falafel Au Gratin.

Up Close: Falafel Au Gratin.

Up Close: Falafel Au Gratin.

More on Gluten-free recipes below:
Useful details:
  • Bake Dish: Le Creuset – From William Sonoma
  • Other Pottery: One of a Kind Show, Andretta Pottery
  • Food Processor: Kitchen Aid
  • Grocery: Valley Farm Produce
  • Passata, Chickpeas: Food Basics
  • Tripod: Manfrotto – From Henrys
  • Camera: Nikon D5300 – From Best Buy
  • Lens: 50 mm 1/8 focal length – From Henrys

Please share your experience if you try the recipe.

xo,

Nidhi

2 Comments

  • Reply Leanne | Crumb Top Baking April 19, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Love the versatility of this recipe! It’s perfect as an appetizer or main, and works for pretty much any meal of the day!

  • Reply Vegan no-bake Crème brûlée: Carrot and Coconut Milk - Nidhi Patel August 10, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    […] Falafel Au Gratin: Italian and Lebanese fusion […]

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