While these delectable morsels are not verifiably true authentic falafel as we might know it, the flavor and texture is very reminiscent of falafel and to be honest Red Lentil Falafel sounded better than Red Lentil Balls. Right?
When Gary and I first took a bite, we knew this was going to be a recipe that stuck on our regular rotation. As a matter of fact, I made a second batch the very next day so that I could freeze a bunch.
These babies are DAMN delicious.
A light and crispy exterior hiding the tender sunny yellow middle with just the right consistency of smooth lentils mixed with hearty bits of barley and onion and singing with the fragrant taste of turmeric and parsley.
These beautiful baby red lentil falafel can be eaten a la carte as an awesome party snack, thrown over a Greek salad or made into the perfect pita sandwich for a quick lunch or paired with soup for an easy dinner.
They can be eaten solo but why would you want to do that when you can smother them in a Creamy Basil Sauce that can be made with thick Greek yogurt, basil, and lemon zest in a flash.
Unlike traditional falafel, this red lentil version is not temperamental to work with. The batter sticks together to form perfect little balls that do not break apart in the pan.
Prepare ahead by flash freezing the falafel balls individually and then popping them into a freezer bag. Then all you have to do is defrost them and dinner takes 5 minutes… fry them up and build your sandwich.
- For the Red Lentil Falafel:
- ½ cup cooked red lentils
- ½ cup cooked pearl barley
- 1 small onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- ¾ cup chopped parsley (curly or flat)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- a pinch of ground cardamom (or 3 crushed seeds, shell removed)
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 egg
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons flour
- vegetable oil for frying
- For the Creamy Basil Sauce:
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup packed basil leaves
- a pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- zest of half a lemon
- Put the onion and garlic into the food processor and pulse until chopped finely.
- Add the lentils, barley, parsley and all the spices and pulse until just combined.
- Pour the mix into a bowl and add the egg, bread crumbs and flour and mix well.
- Form into tablespoon sized balls.
- Heat a small frying pan over medium heat with vegetable oil about ¼ thick in the pan.
- When shimmering, add 6 balls at a time and fry on all sides for about a minute until crisp and golden.
- Drain and serve.
- To make the Creamy Basil Sauce, puree all ingredients until smooth