Why This Recipe Works
- Roughly pureed chickpeas act as a binder for the patties, while leaving some of the beans whole provides great internal texture.
- Coating the patties in breadcrumbs helps to keep the patties from falling apart in the pan.
These falafel-esque fritters started off as exactly that—an experimental recipe for falafel. My problem? I longed to have a recipe that could give me the satisfying crunch and nutty/herbal flavor of falafel without having to pull out the deep fryer.
The base for the fritters is made with canned chickpeas that I carefully dry and combine with bulgur wheat in the food processor. I found that if I add all the chickpeas at once, it's hard to get good textural contrast in the final dish. Better is to pulse half of them until roughly pureed to form a binder, then pulse the remaining half just until roughly chopped to give you nice big bits to bite into.
For flavor, I use a ton of herbs—parsley, cilantro, and mint—by the handful, blending them right into the mix along with a dash of coriander.
At first I thought that the solution to my deep-frying conundrum might be as simple as forming them into patties and shallow frying them. This didn't work too well—the patties disintegrated in the oil, leaving me with a sludgy browned mess to clean. It even happens in the deep fryer if you don't dry your canned chickpeas well enough.
The solution was simple: just bread the suckers to give them a firm coating that will keep them from falling apart. As I found in my Fried Eggplant Sandwich recipe, a simple mix of flour and water works just fine to get breadcrumbs to adhere.
After that, it was a simple matter of making them into a meal. A bit of mashed avocado adds brightness, richness, and creamy texture to the mix, while a nice mixed green salad rounds it all out.
This recipe was cross-tested in 2022 to ensure best results.
Vegan Chickpea Cakes with Mashed Avocado
Crunchy, falafel-esque patties with rich and creamy avocado.
1/2 cup medium-grind bulgur wheat (about 3 ounces; 90g)
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves (1/2 ounce; 15g)
1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves (1/2 ounce; 15g)
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves (about 1/2 ounce; 12g)
1 medium clove garlic (5g), roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
One 3-inch serrano or jalapeño chile (about 1 ounce; 35g), stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped (optional)
1 (15-ounce; 425g) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried on paper towels
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (2 1/4 ounces; 64g)
1/2 cup (120ml) water
1 1/2 cups fine vegan panko-style breadcrumbs (4 ounces; 115g)
1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable or canola oil
1 tablespoon juice (15ml) from 1 lime
Lime or lemon wedges, sliced onion, chopped cilantro, and pickles for serving
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add bulgur wheat and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain thoroughly. (Bulgur will absorb much of the water; draining simply gets rid of excess moisture, if any.)
While wheat cooks, combine parsley, mint, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño and coriander in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping down sides as necessary, about 10 to 16 short pulses. Add half of chickpeas and pulse until a rough puree is formed, scraping down sides as necessary, about 8 to 16 short pulses. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add remaining chickpeas to food processor and pulse until roughly chopped, 4 to 6 pulses. Transfer to bowl with chickpea/herb mixture. When bulgur wheat has drained, add to bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then fold mixture together, starting with a rubber spatula, and finishing by hand when cool enough to handle. Form mixture into patties roughly 1/2-inch thick and 2.5 inches wide (you should be able to work 8 to 12 patties).
Combine flour and water in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Place breadcrumbs in second medium bowl.
Working one patty at a time, dip in flour mixture to coat, then transfer to breadcrumbs. Cover with breadcrumbs on all sides, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining patties.
Heat half of oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half the patties in a single layer and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown on bottoms, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip and cook second side, swirling pan occasionally as they cook, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm; wipe skillet clean and repeat with remaining oil and remaining patties.
Place avocado in a medium bowl and mash the flesh with a fork. Season with salt and add lime juice. Serve fried chickpea patties with mashed avocado, sliced onions, herbs, lime or lemon wedges, and pickles.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 24g||31%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||11%|
|Total Carbohydrate 46g||17%|
|Dietary Fiber 8g||28%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin C 20mg||99%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|