Recipe courtesy of Silvena Rowe

Crunchy Red Swiss Chard Falafel

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 8 hr 35 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 8 hr
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: Serves 6
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4 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 pound red Swiss chard, well washed and roughly chopped

Scant 1 cup milk 

Scant 1 cup chickpea flour

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons cooked (canned) chickpeas 

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Vegetable oil for deep frying

Ground turmeric for garnish

Tahini, Lemon and Sumac Sauce, recipe follows

Tahini, Lemon and Sumac Sauce:

3 tablespoons tahini paste

1 teaspoon ground cumin 

Juice of 2 small lemons

2 garlic cloves, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed sumac

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and saute the onion, cumin and allspice over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Set aside in a bowl. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Drop in the chard and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and, once they're cool enough to handle, squeeze dry. 
  2. In a medium nonstick saucepan, bring the milk to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Little by little, whisk in the chickpea flour until you have a smooth paste. Keep the mixture moving to avoid lumps. Then season, add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and cook over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. Like cream puff dough, the mixture will come away from the sides of the pan and become a ball as it is heated. 
  3. Cool the ball of paste, then mix in the sauteed onions, chickpeas, lemon juice and blanched chard. Using your hands, mold the mixture into golf-ball-sized balls and arrange on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. 
  4. In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of oil to 350 degrees F. Carefully place the falafel into the oil and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with the turmeric. Serve with the tahini sauce.

Tahini, Lemon and Sumac Sauce:

  1. Mix the tahini, cumin and the lemon juice in a bowl. Slowly stir in 1-2 tablespoons of water, a little at a time, until you have a consistency that resembles thick cream. Then add the garlic, and season. 
  2. Combine the sumac with the olive oil and drizzle over the sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve, with meat, poultry, vegetables or falafel.