“Falagers” is the nickname we gave to falafels made from legumes soaked in lager beer before cooking. Making them from scratch is a bit of a give-and-take game. Too wet, add flour. Too dry, add more water or oil. It’s all about a feeling and making sure the mixture holds together while still staying moist.
Want a heartier serving? Shape the falager mixture into burger-sized patties and, once baked, tuck each patty into a toasted bun, pita bread or lettuce wrap with avocado slices, creamy hummus and Smoky Tomato Sauce. As for any leftover Smoky Tomato Sauce, it’s delicious with pasta!
1 cup dry green lentils
12 oz bottle lager beer
5 cups water, divided
1 small garlic head
2 tsp avocado oil, divided
1 small cooking onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp chickpea flour, plus extra if needed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
Smoky Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
Slider buns (optional)
Smoky Tomato Sauce
2 Tbsp avocado oil
1 cooking onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, smashed and minced
1/2 cup lager beer
1 canned chipotle pepper in sauce, minced, plus extra sauce to taste
28 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp maple syrup
Finely grated zest from 1 orange
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
In large bowl, place lentils, beer and 2 cups water. Stir together. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Slice just enough top off garlic head to expose cloves. Place in loosely fitted bed of foil. Drizzle with 1 tsp avocado oil and a bit of water. Bake in oven until cloves are soft when pressed, about 40 minutes. Remove and cool. Place roasted garlic in small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
Once lentils have fully soaked, drain and place in large saucepan along with 3 cups fresh water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and, with lid ajar, simmer for 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain well and set aside to cool.
Once cooled, place lentils in food processor along with onion, cilantro, chickpea flour, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and cayenne. Pop roasted garlic cloves from their skins and add. Pulse until a coarse meal forms, occasionally scraping down sides of food processor with spatula. Texture should be like a firm, slightly chunky cookie dough. Do not overprocess to a smooth paste.
Transfer mixture to large bowl. Cover bowl and refrigerate for about 2 hours to slightly firm.
Preheat oven to 400 F. With damp palms, shape mixture into 2 inch balls and slightly flatten into patties. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet in single layer.
If mixture is too loose, return to bowl and stir in a little more flour, a tablespoon at a time, just until it will hold together. Be careful, as too much flour will make patties dense. Lightly brush patties with remaining 1 tsp avocado oil.
Bake in oven for 10 minutes per side, or until golden. Serve with Smoky Tomato Sauce and toppings of choice (arugula and sliced avocados work well!) on slider buns, if using.
Smoky tomato sauce
In medium saucepan, heat oil. Add diced onion and sauté over medium heat until soft. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add beer to deglaze pan. Continue to cook over medium heat until beer is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes for flavors to blend. Add a little more chipotle sauce if you wish. Serve sauce chunky or puree in blender if you wish. Spoon over baked Falagers.