Today – 12 June – marks International Falafel Day! Deep-fried and composed of chickpeas or fava beans, this Middle Eastern food is often found wrapped up in a pita bread, or served with salad and sauces. A favorite among meat-eaters and vegetarians alike, the latter of whom will often find it presented as an alternative to meat, falafel is one food that certainly deserves its own day of recognition.
To celebrate your favourite chickpea treat, we are sharing a special, new recipe from Iida van der Byl-Knoefel, author of A Kitchen Fairytale. This falafel recipe, complete with Tahini miso dressing, is brand new, made especially for International Falafel Day. Enjoy!
1 heaping cup of cooked, drained and patted dry chickpeas
3 tbsp oat flour (blend oats on their own for a few seconds to get oat flour)
0.5 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Turn the oven to 200C (400F).
Set aside 2 tbsp of chickpeas.
Place the rest of the ingredients in a food processed and blend until you have a nice, crumbly consistency, about 1 minute. When done, add the remaining 2 tbsp of chickpeas and blend for another few seconds as it is nice to have some varying textures in there.
Put the mixture in the fridge for an hour to allow it to set.
After an hour, using your hands, make small round balls with the dough, about 2 tbsp each, and pat down on a non-stick ovenproof sheet – or baking paper – in an ovenproof dish. You will get eight of them.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Serve in pita bread/your choice of gluten free bread with generous amounts of shredded lettuce, sliced onion, tomato and cucumber and this heavenly dressing drizzled on top:
2 tbsp Tahini
1-2 tsp brown rice miso paste
2 tsp maple syrup
4-5 tbsp of near-boiling water
Add the tahini, 1 tsp of miso paste and the maple syrup to a mug.
Start stirring in the water, one tablespoon at the time. Note that the water mustn’t boil completely, in order to retain the wonderful enzymes in the miso paste.
Keep adding water until you have a smooth dressing consistency. You can add more miso for stronger flavour.
Drizzle the dressing over your falafel creations and enjoy! This makes a big batch of dressing so you will have plenty for many more days to come.
We talked to inflammatory arthritis sufferer Iida van der Byl Knoefel about her new cookbook, A Kitchen Fairytale. Iida beat the symptoms of her crippling condition through cooking. Her book explains how switching to a plant-based diet left her free of inflammation. Her food is not only a boost for arthritis sufferers but can also help those with autoimmune conditions. Her book, A Kitchen Fairytale, is out on November 1.
What was the inspiration behind your book?
My greatest inspiration and motivation was to let others know that the symptoms of inflammatory arthritis can indeed be reversed through a change of diet; and to show what a delicious and enjoyable option it is! I have always loved cooking but knew nothing about being plant-based when I first joined the Paddison Program, so when I discovered how lovely these very humble recipes were, I started writing them all down to be able to go back and make them again. My friends and family who tried the food often asked for ideas so I kept collecting the recipes, so I could easily share them, and soon I realised I had a cookbook on my hands!
Tell us how a plant-based diet has helped you manage your arthritis?
In very simple terms, it has helped heal my gut and restore it to good order, which keeps any symptoms away. For me, getting this far was no walk in the park though and it required a lot of focus and determination. I rigorously followed the steps on the Paddison Program because simply going plant-based wouldn’t have cut it; neither would I have known why I got sick in the first place!
What was the most challenging part of writing the book?
Getting the measurements right! To achieve the same result every time I had to learn to measure all the spices, get the exact right amount of fruit and veg etc. which was very different from my usual way of cooking, where I just experiment my way through a dish!
What has been the most satisfying part of the writing process?
Getting feedback on the dishes from those who have kindly test-run recipes for me. Having someone take a photo and send it over with a happy review is the most amazing feeling!
Did anything surprise you while writing A Kitchen Fairytale?
The process of writing A Kitchen Fairytale has more or less taken three years, ever since I joined the Paddison Program. During that time, I have found that the attitude towards eating plant-based foods has changed profoundly here in the UK. People have become really interested in trying plant-based foods and lots of people have even converted completely to this way of eating. When I initially started out, it was very hard to find a vegan option on restaurant menus and I would often bring my own food when we went out to eat, or when we visited friends. These days, it is very easy to find delicious vegan food out, and my friends have become more confident in cooking things that I am also able to have. This has motivated me further in getting the book ready, because I know that many people want to get started but haven’t quite found the right inspiration. Hopefully A Kitchen Fairytale will help them on the way!
What sort of people would benefit most by reading your book?
I would like to say that it would be most beneficial for a certain group of people, but if we follow the advice from plant-based health professionals around the world, we will find that eating this way has enormous health benefits for people all over. These types of recipes can in fact reverse or prevent many common illnesses – illnesses that we currently may think are part of getting older, but that don’t necessarily have to be. This is what makes this book suitable for everyone! However, since I wrote the book while recovering from inflammatory arthritis, there is a fair bit of focus on my story, so people who have also been on the Paddison Program may recognise their own journey in the book, so it is very much suited for someone who is/has been on the program.
What’s your favourite recipe in the book?
That changes all the time! An all-time favourite is the ‘Sunshiny pancakes’ which I often make at the weekend and serve with fresh fruit, berries and coconut yoghurt. Now, with the proper autumn chill setting in, I have found myself making the ‘Sweet and easy yellow split-pea stew’ for supper a fair few times – it is just so incredibly delicious and comforting, so it is definitely a favourite!
We are giving away a copy of Iida’s fabulous new book, A Kitchen Fairytale, on our Instagram account! To win a copy of her book, just do the following: 1) Follow @HHealthBooks and @akitchenfairytale on Instagram . 2) Like this post. 3) Tag a friend in a comment. Tag as many pals as you want to get more entries. Good luck! Winner picked on Monday 22 October. UK only.