Healthy falafel? Yes, please! This chickpea-based dish makes a filling post-run snack.

If the only thing you use a muffin pan for is to bake up a batch of, well, muffins, boy are you selling this versatile kitchen tool short. Whether you’re looking for make-ahead meal options to keep you sane on busy weeknights, want to spend less time in the kitchen putting a meal on the table or need something that is easily portable or perfectly portioned, the muffin pan can get the job done. Start out with this muffin-pan main and get ready to have fun with your food.

Think of these as essentially un-fried falafels so you can reap the nutritional virtues of chickpeas, namely plant-based protein and off-the-charts fiber levels, without the calorie baggage that comes when a deep fryer is involved. Serve these for a meat-free dinner or pack in your lunch to break out of the sandwich doldrums.

Falafel Cakes

Ingredients

Makes 4 servings

  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup chickpea flour
  • ¾ cup parsley
  • ½ cup red onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt

Directions

In a food processor, pulse cooked or canned chickpeas until they are broken down. Pulse in large egg, chickpea flour, parsley, chopped red onion, juice of one lemon, minced garlic cloves, tahini, baking powder, ground cumin and salt.

Pack mixture into 12 standard-sized greased muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees or until set and golden on top. Serve topped with prepared hummus.

Matthew Kadey, M.S., R.D., is an author and journalist who specializes in sports nutrition and is the recipient of the 2013 James Beard Award for Food Journalism.