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The secret to crisp, tender falafel is starting with soaked dried chickpeas instead of canned—dried chickpeas retain all their natural starch so the mixture can come together without any binders like egg or flour. You don’t even need to cook the chickpeas before blending. Why falafel patties instead of balls? The wide, flat surface area gets extra crisp when seared and baked, a lighter approach to shallow frying. Stuff into mini pita pockets with lettuce, tomato, and green onion, or load up as the Israelis do with a chopped cucumber, tomato, and parsley salad; pickled cabbage; and tahini sauce.
How to Make It
1. To prepare falafel, combine 6 cups water and chickpeas in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature 8 hours or overnight. Drain.
2. Preheat oven to 450°F.
3. Combine chickpeas, onion, and next 9 ingredients (through ground red pepper) in a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Divide and shape mixture into 16 (1/2-inch-thick) patties (about 1/3 cup per patty).
4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place 8 patties in pan; coat patties with cooking spray. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Place on a wire rack set on a baking sheet. Repeat procedure with cooking spray and remaining patties. Place baking sheet in oven; bake at 450°F for 10 minutes. Reserve 8 falafel patties for Falafel Pizza and Falafel, Feta, and Tomato Salad.
5. To prepare pita sliders, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, dill, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl. Cut off top fourth of each pita (reserve for another use). Spoon about 1 tablespoon yogurt mixture into each pita pocket; top with 1 falafel patty, 1 tomato slice, 1/4 cup arugula leaves, and about 1/4 cup red onion slices.