Fennel Frond Falafel
Fragrant, gluten-free bites for lovers of extra moist falafel
Fennel is a slightly sweet, anise-flavored vegetable with an edible bulb, stalks and fronds. If the unique flavor doesn’t turn you off (I love it), then figuring out how to cook and eat it is the next challenge. I called on my friends for advice, and most recommended simple and delicious recipes for roasting the flavorful bulbs. But what was I to do with all those tasty fennel fronds?
Since I’ve been investing in seasonal produce, I’m trying harder to use the whole plant. You know, things like fennel fronds that deliver a number of valuable nutrients, including pyridoxine – vitamin B6 – which helps the body produce serotonin and melatonin. Hello, healthy mood and sleeping cycles!
I’ve found myself asking, “Why not?” a lot more these days trying to find creative uses for whole vegetables. Why not make a pesto or chimichurri out of leftover vegetable leaves, greens and stems? Why not toss them in a smoothie? But I wanted to try something new this time. Why not falafel?
I always put ground coriander in my falafel, and (fun fact) coriander seeds come from mature cilantro — the herb I use most in my go-to falafel recipes. So, why not sub fennel fronds for fresh cilantro? I did, and the result is a super rich and savory grain-free treat! Yay, chickpea flour! 😀 These buddies smell amazing while they’re cooking, and taste even better paired with a little tzatziki sauce. I cooled mine down with a simple mixture of sour cream, fresh dill and lemon juice, plus raw, seasonal radish for some extra crunch.
- 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained
- 1 cup loosely packed fennel fronds
- 1 cup loosely packed parsley (I prefer flat leaf)
- ½ cup onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup chickpea flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon EVOO (plus extra for panfrying)
Yields 8-10 patties, depending on their size.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all of the ingredients using a food processor. The finished batter will be slightly thicker and grainier than hummus. In a nonstick pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of EVOO on medium-high heat. Add rounded tablespoons of batter to the pan, and allow a couple inches of spread room between each scoop. Use the back of the spoon to flatten the rounds into ½ inch thick patties. Fry for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes on each side, or until set.