This is my (slight) adaptation of this recipe from the Sainsbury’s Little Ones site. The first time I made them (following the recipe exactly), I wasn’t very impressed. They tasted quite bland and dry. However, Nicholas loved them, wolfing down five in quick succession. This reminded me not to make assumptions about my child’s taste buds and that I’ve always found falafels too crumbly in texture. Anyway, I’ve since tried them out on other babies and they’ve been a success every time. There you go!
Unlike authentic falafel recipes, these are baked in the oven rather than fried (much healthier for our munchkins although that’s why they’re drier in texture). I’ve increased the cheese and added a little bit of spice to give more of the Middle Eastern flavour and to start introducing some spices to Nicholas. If you’re not sure about the spice, just leave it out.
I can imagine that slightly older little ones would have fun shaping the falafel mixture into balls (or other shapes), maybe even using the food processor (supervised of course). I can’t wait for Nicholas to be old enough to start helping me in the kitchen. If you haven’t watched Junior MasterChef Australia, you must! Eight to thirteen-year-olds making soufflés, tempering chocolate, inventing dishes, all more calmly and with more imagination than most adults. My child making me dinner in a few years? Yes please!
These cheesy falafels are a fabulous finger food, high in protein, freeze really well and are a different snack to have in your bag. Why not give them a try?
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Makes about 30
2 x 420g tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp plain flour
100g cheddar, grated
3 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of salt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC, fan 160ºC. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and whizz together until combined.
Shape the mixture into small balls (about 3cm in diameter) and place on the prepared baking tray.
Bake for 20 minutes until the falafels turn a golden colour.
Transfer to a rack to cool.
- add finely diced red onion or shallot
- add 1 tsp ground coriander
- add chopped fresh coriander
- serve in a pita bread or wrapped in a flatbread with salad
- dip them into a tomato salsa
- dip them into houmous
- make a herby yogurt dip (plain yogurt with chopped herbs mixed in)
Tip: wet your hands before shaping the mixture to avoid it sticking badly to your hands. After making two or three, wet them again.
How do you feel about adding spices to your baby’s food? At what age would you start?