Cookbooks: Chickpea Fritters and Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin

Michael Natkin’s Herbivoracious A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes is filled with creative and global vegetarian cuisine. He really expands the definition of vegetarian and  offers a new perspective to the vegetarian dialogue.

After browsing through the galley copy I received from the Boston Brunchers and Harvard Common Press event, I marked off several recipes I had to try. From inspired nori seasoning for popcorn, chanterelle banh mi bites, banh xeo (Vietnamese crepes), pozole rojo de frijol, shitake tacos with Asian pear slaw, Chiang Mai curry noodles and bunuelos, the Herbivoracious cookbook excites one to expand the idea of what vegetarians eat.

Over the holidays, I made the chickpea fritters to have a dish which would be inclusive of our resident vegetarians. In addition, the meat eaters liked the flavor of the fritter. They said they tasted like non-meat nuggets. We also made a tzatziki sauce, which made the fritters more Mediterranean and even more special.

Michael describes his chickpea fritters as a pan-fried falafel without the crust and I couldn’t agree more. The lemon and light chive notes really enhance the little chickpea patties. By using a cast iron pan, it developed a light crust on the exterior.

Adapted from Herbivoracious A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes by Michael Natkin

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (one 15 ounce cans, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/4 cup chives, very thinly sliced (original recipe uses scallions)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/8 cup bread crumbs (I used panko)
  • 1/8 cup sesame seeds (I omitted them, because I did not have them on hand)
  • oil for shallow frying
  • flakey sea salt

Combine the chickpeas, chives, garlic, kosher salt, lemon zest and juice, egg, flour, breadcrumbs and sesame seeds in a food processor and buzz until you have a fairly uniform mixture, but stop before you make a smooth puree; you want to leave some texture. You should be able to form it into a ball that holds its shape. It should be neither crumbly nor a batter. Add liquid or bread crumbs as necessary to reach the right moisture level.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Take a golf-ball sized piece of dough, press it in your hands into a flattened patty, and place in the skillet. Repeat with as many as will fit comfortably. Fry on one side until golden brown, about 3 minutes, then flip and brown the other  side, about 2 more minutes. Transfer to paper towels and continue frying the patties, adding more oil as necessary. Serve hot, sprinkled with a bit of sea salt.

I would highly suggest a tzatziki dipping sauce, included below.

Adapted from All Recipes

  • 1 (8 ounce) containers plain yogurt or whipped cream cheese
  • 1 cucumber peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
In a food processor or blender, combine yogurt, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill and garlic. Process until well-combined. Add slices of cucumbers. Transfer to a separate dish, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour for best flavor.

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