One of my New Years resolutions that I have been really good at sticking too is eating more vegetarian food. We've pretty much been having at least one vegetarian meal a week since January and I am really enjoying the variety that I've been having because of it. It has really forced me to think that little bit more outside the box to find some interesting recipes that are well balanced! It would be quite easy to throw together some pasta and vegetable sauce, but things like that are really lacking in protein and I want to be sure all my meals are as balanced as possible.
Chickpeas are great for this, packed full or protein and super filling they are one of my favourite ingredients to use. I found the recipe for this is one of the weight watchers magazines from last year as a lunch idea and I knew I had to try it. While the recipe for the falafel itself looked fab, I wasn't as keep on what they served it with so I decided to just work out the smartpoints for the falafel and then I could serve it with what ever I wanted.
The recipe makes 12 little falafel patties for 21 Smartpoints. It is meant to serve 4 as a lunch, but both times I have had this I've eaten 6 of them and counted 10 smartpoints. I usually have 3 in a wrap and the other 3 on a bed of the salads I have made to go along with it and its a great dinner.
Serves 4 (or 2 hungry people)
Smartpoints per serving: 5 sp
Smartpoints on No Count: 2sp (3sp for 2 servings)
350g Broad Beans (fresh or frozen)
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
1.5 tbsp cumin seeds
1.5 tsp ground coriander
0.25 tsp chilli flakes
1 tin of chickpeas drained
3 tbsp plain flour
0.5 egg white
salt & pepper
Finely chop the onion & crush the garlic. Blanch the broad beans for 1-2 minutes and pop them out of their greyish pods.
Spray a pan with cooking oil and cook the onion over a low heat for around 8 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
Put the onion mix in a food processer and add the chickpeas, broad beans, flour and egg white. Season well and blend until it forms a thick paste. Shape into 12 falafel and pop in the fridge for 15/20 minutes to firm up (at this point you can put together the sides to go with).
When the patties are firm, wipe the frying pan and again mist with oil. Fry the patties on a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. You may want to do this in batches so have the oven on to 70C to keep these warm while the rest are cooking. Serve immediately.
I served these with some 'quick pickled' red cabbage, some spicy chipotle salsa and coriander greek yoghurt for an extra 2 smartpoints and one flatbread wrap for 4 smartpoints.
'Quick Pickled' Red Cabbage
Smartpoints per serving: 0sp
Free on No Count
Half a head of red cabbage
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
0.5 tsp caster sugar
Fresh ground black pepper
Thinly slice the red cabbage, I like to use my food processor for this but whatever works for you. Mix through the rest of the ingredients and put in the fridge for 20/30 seconds until the cabbage just starts to break down/soften and serve.
Spicy Chipotle Salsa
Smartpoints per serving: 1 sp (2 for the whole recipe)
Smartpoints on No Count: 1sp
Small punnet of cherry tomatoes finely chopped
1 tsp chipotle paste
0.5 tbsp tomato puree
Salt & Black pepper
Mix all the ingredients together and season to taste. You can add as much or as little tobasco as you like, and also increase/decrease the amount of chipotle used depending on how hot you like things.
Herby Greek Yoghurt
Smarpoints per serving: 1sp (2 for whole recipe)
Free on No Count
150g 0% fat greek yoghurt
0.5 tbsp extra light mayo
small bunch of fresh coriander chopped
small bunch of flat leave parsley chopped
salt and back pepper
Mix all the ingredients together and season to taste.