Wanting something crunchy to add to your summer salads might be a Pitta dosha thing.
And this recipe hits the spot.
It has the perfect combination of ingredients and spices to calm the fiery nature of Summer — or Pitta — within the body, while also offering a nice, high-protein, high-fiber topping to your summer veggies.
A healthy, plant-based, nutritious kick that will make your salad game everything but, boring.
What is falafel?
Falafel is a popular and delicious Middle Eastern dish.
It’s traditionally made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, or a mix of both. From this, you make balls or patties and deep-fried them until they have a crispy exterior and a soft, flavorful interior. Falafel’s flavor comes from ingredients such as garlic, onions, cilantro, and various spices, including cumin and coriander.
The history of falafel is quite fascinating.
While it’s often associated with Israeli cuisine, it probably originated in Egypt, where it was called “ta’amiya” and made with fava beans.
Some food historians suggest that falafel could date back to biblical times, attributing its origins to the Copts, an Egyptian Christian sect, who may have eaten it as a meat replacement during Lent.
From Egypt, falafel spread throughout the Middle East, with different regions adopting variations of the dish. When the dish reached the Levant area (modern-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine), chickpeas became the primary ingredient due to their abundant growth in the region.
It has since become a staple in Israeli cuisine and is typically served in pita bread with fresh vegetables, pickles, hummus, and tahini sauce.
However, no matter its exact origins, there’s no denying the impact and influence of falafel on global cuisine.
From street food stalls to gourmet restaurants, this humble chickpea fritter has transcended borders and become a symbol of shared culinary heritage in the Middle East.
The ayurvedic version of falafel
As we saw, falafel is traditionally deep-fried.
A cooking method that doesn’t align well with the principles of Ayurveda. In particular for summer and for those with predominant Pitta dosha, as both are associated with the fire element.
Pitta dosha governs digestion and metabolism. It is hot, oily, and intense.
Hence, eating fried foods in the summer or when Pitta is aggravated can exacerbate these qualities. Which leads to imbalances like inflammation, indigestion, and skin issues. Furthermore, fried foods can feel heavy and can overload the digestive system, preventing optimal nutrient absorption and causing lethargy.
Instead, we are going to use a different cooking method — baking.
Baking the falafel rather than frying them not only reduces the oil content, but also creates a lighter, more digestible meal.
It keeps the essence of the traditional recipe intact, while making it more aligned with Ayurvedic principles.
Baked foods are more sattvic, or pure. Plus they retain more nutrients compared to frying, as it requires lower temperatures and does not break down as many nutrients. They are easier to digest and create less ama, or toxins, in the body.
For this recipe, we will maintain the core ingredients: the chickpeas, olive oil, and cilantro—since they are beneficial for Pitta in moderation.
However, we will reduce the quantity of garlic and spices and include more cooling herbs like dill and parsley.
This recipe of baked falafel has exotic fresh flavors, tons of protein and fiber.
☞ Read my Ayurvedic Tips for Summer to learn more strategies to stay in balance during this season.
Baked falafel — Ayurvedic version
- 1 cups Cooked chickpeas
- 1 tbsp Almond flour
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1/2 Lemon
- 1 Garlic clove
- ¼ cup Fresh parsley
- ¼ cup Fresh cilantro
- 1/8 cup Fresh dill
- 1 tbsp Tahini
- 1/8 tsp Baking soda
- 1 tbsp Nutritional yeast
- Ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Lightly coat a baking tray with cooking spray.
- Blend the chickpeas, fresh lemon juice, garlic clove, parsley, dill, and cilantro in a food processor. You are looking for a somewhat smooth texture but not a paste. Place mixture in a large bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and spices. Mix well.
- Gather about 2 packed tablespoons of mixture per falafel, gently shape into a ball and place in the baking tray.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, carefully flipping the falafels halfway through baking, until the falafels are deeply golden on both sides.
- Remove them from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.
Pair the baked falafel with this Pitta-pacifying sweet potato summer salad.
Consider this: as you delve into the world of Ayurvedic cooking, which ingredients or recipes have become a staple in your kitchen? Do you notice the difference in how you feel when consuming foods that are in harmony with your dosha and the season?
Share your experiences below.
I am eager to hear how this journey is transforming your relationship with food.