Upgrade Your Falafel with Vegetarian Main Dish

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chickpea-fritters croppedOne of our latest recipes, Chickpea and Butternut Squash Fritters, is a  restaurant-quality vegetarian dish that uses a unique combination of healthy cancer-preventive ingredients.

A lot of people are familiar with chickpeas in the deep-fried chickpea balls called falafels. But they are usually high in fat and calories. Chickpeas themselves are naturally low in fat; nutty and buttery-tasting. Like all legumes, they provide protein, vitamins, fiber and minerals that make them a staple in dishes ranging from Indian channa masala to Middle Eastern hummus.

Butternut squash is also rich in fiber as well as the antioxidant phytochemical beta-carotene, another cancer-preventive compound. The other ingredients – green onions, garlic, sage, cumin and red pepper flakes – taste great with the nutty chickpeas and subtly sweet squash and offer their own phytochemicals. Add the egg and whole-wheat flour and you get perfect fritters.

Contrast the taste of these lightly sautéed and crunchy fritters with mixed greens, toasted hazelnuts and a lemon juice flavored yogurt dressing drizzled on top, all part of this Health-e-Recipe.

Note that some hazelnuts come with their skins still on. You should remove the skins prior to eating because they taste bitter. To remove the hazelnut skins easily, in a saucepan bring four cups of water to a boil. Add a quarter cup of baking soda and hazelnuts while the water is bubbling and fizzing. Cook the hazelnuts for about four minutes. Then drain them in a colander over the sink. Run cold water over the hazelnuts and rub them with your fingers. The skins will easily come off. Give the hazelnuts a final rinse before toasting.

Here’s the recipe.

You can find more delicious AICR Healthy Recipes to reduce cancer risk and subscribe to our weekly recipe on our main recipe page.

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Author: Cathy Wolz

Catherine Wolz is a writer, editor, and publications consultant for AICR.

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