When I first started preparing vegetarian meals, I had the most difficult time thinking of creative dishes. As a meat lover, I tend to get hungry quickly if I don't have enough protein in a vegetarian dish. Over the years, I have fine-tuned recipes and now can proudly say that making a meatless dish is a cinch. These chickpea fritters with salsa verde and queso fresco are the perfect example of a vegetarian meal that delivers on flavor and substance; I almost (keyword here is almost) don't miss the meat!
Chickpea Fritters with Salsa Verde and Queso Fresco
- 1 cup parsley
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground toasted fennel
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper
- 14 oz chickpeas
- 4 tablespoon flour
- 3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoon salsa verde
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- ¼ cup crumbled queso fresco
- Prepare the salsa verde. Add the parsley, olive oil, garlic, fennel, coriander, red chili flakes, and juice and zest of 1 lemon in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is roughly chopped and combined. Season with salt and pepper. Alternatively, chop the herbs and garlic by hand and combine with the remaining ingredients. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the chickpea fritters. In the same food processor, pulse the chickpeas until roughly chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined but not completely pureed. You still want some texture in the chickpea fritters.
- Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Form chickpea mixture into balls about 2 tablespoon big. Lay in the pan and pan fry until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining chickpea mixture.
- Drizzle salsa verde on top of chickpea fritters. Top with crumbled queso fresco. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
The inspiration behind these chickpea fritters with salsa verde was one of my favorite vegetarian side dishes, falafels. I decided to give the original falafel a twist by adding chili flakes, lemon zest, and fresh herbs. Finish with homemade salsa verde and crumbled queso fresco and you suddenly have a Latin dish.
The easiest method to prepare the chickpea fritters is by using a food processor. Pulse the chickpeas until they resemble a paste. Do not over mix since you want a little texture in the fritters.
Combine the rest of the ingredients with the chickpeas and you are ready to get cooking. You can either pan-fry the fritters or bake them in the oven.
If baking in the oven, spray a lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape the patties and lay them on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the fritters with cooking spray and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
You can prepare the chickpea fritter mix and salsa verde the day before. I actually prefer to make the salsa verde at least 24 hours in advance to allow the flavors to blend together.
Serve alongside a fresh salad or top a quinoa bowl with these chickpea fritters. Delicious if I do say so myself!
For more vegetarian inspiration check out these mushroom meatballs in tomato chermoula sauce!