Mushroom-falafel!  (Yes, the exclamation point is necessary there.)  It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, I’ll admit.  But, what was I supposed to call it?  Mushlafel?  Falafshroom? See? Those are even worse sounding.  But, like the kid with the weird name who is so awesome that by the end of the year all the other kids also want to be named Kermit too, this mushroom-falafel is so fabulous it straight-up owns its name.

I’m a little embarrassed that I get as excited as I do when I make something really good.  But, I do.  I get quite delighted with myself, in fact, and can’t wait to share how delicious said really good thing is.  This dish definitely falls into that category.

It started with a falafel craving.

One of the most unfortunate things about having discovered an intolerance to a sprouting inhibitor enzyme (besides not being able to eat almonds, but I’ll save that complaint for another day) is that I no longer eat falafel because of the chickpeas.  It’s a huge loss because I used to practically live off of falafel.  I was obsessed with the stuff.

Through college and for a couple of years after, I would make falafel from one of those box mixes at least once, if not twice a week.  And, the favorite destination for a late night snack with friends was “Falafel Palace.”  They serve a $4 falafel sandwich until 3 am!  What more could a 20-something ask for?!

But, after I figured out that storage legumes- chickpeas being a prime example – were part of what was making me feel sick all the time, the falafel binges became a thing of the past.

But, the desire to eat falafel has not faded.  And last week, it hit me hard, like a grand piano falling out of the sky.  (By the by, there’s a moving company in this city called Deathwish Piano Movers.  That’s neither here nor there, but I think it’s funny.)  Something had to be done!

Then, early Saturday morning, after seeing a recipe for mushroom patties that were meant as a stand in for sausage patties, I thought to myself, ‘hey!  I wonder if I could make falafel-like patties out of mushrooms. I bet I could!’  And then I proceeded to feel quite gleeful the entire rest of the day because of this thought.

I gave it a try, and it worked beautifully!  The distinctly Middle Eastern flavor profile, packed with garlic and lemon and herbs, of falafel came through just as I had hoped and was as delicious as I always remember it being.  A sizzle in the frying pan followed by a brief turn in the oven gives the patties the crunch on the outside that gives way to a tender, flavorful inside that is also characteristic of a falafel.

But, they’re even better than falafels.  Because, where in falafel you get your bulk from chickpeas (same thing as garbanzo beans, just in case anyone is confused), which are great and all but generally not super flavorful, here you get your bulk from sauteed mushrooms which are, in a word, sauteed mushrooms.  That is to say, they are one of the best foods in the universe!  The earthy musk of the mushrooms doesn’t steal the show, but it definitely has a voice and really plays its part wonderfully, adding some depth to contrast with the freshness from the herbs.

A cooling tzatziki sauce of yogurt, cucumber and mint is the perfect creamy compliment.  And, because yours truly is a bit of a nutcase and frequently feels like it’s a good idea to have some dough rising if she happens to be working from home that day and needs to take a break from ploughing through texts on organizational theory, I made fresh homemade flatbread to serve with the mushroom-falafel.  It was amazing.  Seriously amazing.  I’m still feeling rather impressed with myself.

You, of course, can buy pitas or flatbread to save that step.  And the rest of the meal, though it takes a decent amount of chopping, comes together pretty easily.  If you have a food processor, it’ll be a breeze.  The mushroom-falafel are best served warm with all the accompaniments, but they’re also pretty darn tasty as cold leftovers.  Tasty enough, in fact, that a friend who raided one from our fridge copped to the fact that he had, ahem, borrowed some of our food because he just had to ask me, “what was that amazing little round thing that was in your fridge?!”

Mushroom-falafels (serves about 4)

  • 20 oz. of sliced mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shallot or yellow onion, very finely diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, very finely minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro or flat-leafed parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin, optional (I say optional because I meant to add cumin and totally forgot, and it was still great without it.  However, the cumin will give it a more falafel-y flavor)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella (I threw this in because I happened to have it, and I really liked the flavor and texture it added, but it’s possible you could skip it)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • salt
  • 3 eggs
  • tzatziki sauce, for serving (see below)
  • pitas or flatbreads, for serving
  • lettuce or spinach and chopped tomato, for serving
  1. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the pan to a large frying pan.  Heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until the moisture they release has evaporated and they are tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  2. Transfer the mushrooms to a cutting board and let them cool for a while.  When they are cool enough to handle, chop them well.  (You could probably pulse them in a food processor to do this, but you don’t want to accidentally process them into a mush.  The shallot, garlic and herbs you can definitely chop up in a food processor.)
  3. In a large bowl mix together the mushrooms, chopped shallot/onion, garlic, herbs, mozzarella, lemon juice, and panko breadcrumbs.  Season to taste with salt.  Then, stir in the eggs.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone pad.  Use your hands to scoop up small handfuls of the mushroom mixture and press them into little patties about 1 1/2-2 inches across.  You should get about 10 patties.  Transfer the patties to the lined baking sheet as you make them.  Then, put them in the refrigerator for an hour.  This allows them to set and firm up so they don’t just fall to pieces when you cook them.
  5. While the mushroom-falafel are in the fridge you should have plenty of time to make the tzatziki and slice tomatoes, and get some other work done too!  When you’re ready to cook the falafels, preheat your oven to 350F.  Heat a couple of Tbs. of olive oil in a large frying pan then add as many patties as you can fit into the pan.  Cook for about 3 minutes per side, until nicely browned.  As they are done frying, transfer the patties to another baking sheet (or the same one with the parchment removed).  Finish frying and transferring all the patties.  Then, put the baking sheet of mushroom-falafels into the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and serve warm.  Put a couple of patties on a pita/flatbread, add spinach and tomato pieces and dollop generously with tzatziki.
Tzatziki sauce
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into tiny pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup mint, chopped
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice (from the half of the lemon that you didn’t use for the mushroom-falafels)
  • 1 cup Greek-style yogurt
  • salt to taste
  1. Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.  This gives you a chunky version of the sauce, which I like.  For a smooth version, blend everything together in a food processor until smooth.  Voila!
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42 Responses to Mushroom-falafel!

  1. It must be hard avoiding legumes. But if you come up with substitutes like this often, maybe it’s easier than I would think. These sound really amazing. I’ve never thought of making a mushroom patty of any kind, let alone one to serve like falafel. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      It’s hard, and frustrating, sometimes. But, for the most part I’ve gotten used to it. And, it opens the door for some creative substitutions! :)

  2. Now THIS is cool. Such a creative recipe to work around using beans. I love falafel and can’t wait to try this.

  3. Shumaila says:

    This sounds really good. Going to try it over the weekend. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Madeleine says:

    Done and done! This will officially be the first recipe I try when I have a working oven again!! The oven died on me while making a second batch of your jammy scones – the first batch was awesome, but I recommend cooking them properly – the second batch was not so good… Atm I only have a toaster, kettle and microwave, which does not inspire the most exciting culinary experiences. The only thing I used to use a microwave for was to melt chocolate for my baking..

    A falafel kebab with mint and garlic sauce was my favorite lunch in Australia, but it’s harder to come by here in Norway. I even had problems finding chickpeas in the supermarkets to make them myself when I first moved back!! I’ve been known to drop by IKEA (who would have thought that was the place to go for falafel) on the way back from work just to get a falafel fix..

    Can’t wait to try this!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Oh dear! A non-working stove is such a pain. Mine died once halfway through a batch of muffins, so I totally know what you mean about how baked just don’t work when they are only half-baked! And that’s so funny about going to IKEA for falafel. It’s true I haven’t really ever noticed chickpeas in the grocery store in Norway, though I haven’t really looked. I hope your stove gets fixed quickly and that you enjoy these when you make them!

  5. Peggy says:

    I can’t imagine avoiding legumes! But so awesome that you found a substitute – this mushroom falafel looks straight up amazing =)

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Thanks! And, it is a bit of a pain to avoid legumes, but, it’s doable. :) (and I must admit, sometimes I just eat them and deal with the stomach pain later, but that’s not really a good strategy!)

  6. Charissa says:

    I’ve only had these once, it would be so fun to make it myself. Thanks for the inspiration! I’m always looking for vegan forms of protein!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      I hope you give them a try. These do have egg in them, so they aren’t vegan, but I’d bet you could use some type of vegan egg substitute.

  7. ziabaki says:

    Wow, these are great! I don’t eat chickpeas either, but I don’t eat grains as well. I will have to sub something for the panko. Maybe almond flour? This will be great. Thanks. I use to make a sweet potato falafel that I did a post on, but it does have chickpea flour in it. Delish! http://danazia.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/out-with-the-squash/

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Hmm, the panko helps to bind them, but it’s definitely possible that almond flour or another nut flour could work. You’d probably need less. Something that sort of gelatinizes, like ground chia or flax might also work, though I definitely don’t know for sure. It could be a fun experiment!

  8. ziabaki says:

    PS Is there yogurt in your Tzatziki sauce?

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Oops! Yes there is! Thanks for catching that. I’ve corrected the recipe. These would also be good with a tahini sauce.

  9. Mika says:

    I’m vegetarian so I live of legumes…I can’t imagine avoiding them. I love the name falafshroom, you should give it a second chance ^_^
    Great recipe.

  10. [...] came across this mushroom falafel recipe and though Emily doesn’t like the ring to Mushlafel, I love it (yes, I have a thing [...]

  11. Lovely recipe – thanks for sharing!

  12. I love falafel… and mushrooms. Sounds like a great combo, and I think you picked the right name!

  13. [...] Mushroom-falafel!  (Yes, the exclamation point is necessary there.)  It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, I'll admit.  But, what was I supposed to call it?  Mushlafel?  Falafshroom? See? Those are even worse sounding.  But, like the kid with the weird name who is so awesome that by the end of the year all the other kids also want to be named Kermit too, this mushroom-falafel is so fabulous it straight-up owns its name. I'm a little embarrassed … Read More [...]

  14. They look perfect! My mum’s just been diagnosed with a legume intolerance as well; I know I’m making these for her real soon!

  15. Griff says:

    These are magic. I was staying with you when they were invented, and although I missed dinner that night, I snuck one out of the fridge at 2am. Then I ate another, hoping you wouldn’t notice. You did notice, and someone didn’t have much of a lunch the next day. Finally getting around to trying these on my own!

  16. I absolutely love falafels but have never felt comfortable trying to recreate them, until your recipe!! Can’t wait to try them.

  17. Poppy says:

    I’m so excited to make these!

  18. [...] you like Falafel? How about Falafel without chickpeas? If you are intersted you should try Mushroom-falafel! You won’t be [...]

  19. Dellavon says:

    A random search for a syrian flatbread recipe is what lead me to your fantastic blog. For the last few hours I’ve been perusing your postings and have bookmarked many recipes to try. These mushroom falafels sound incredible! I love chickpea falafels but can’t wait to try these.

    You have a gift with words and a delightful sense of humor. Someone made a comment that you should write a cookbook ~ I completely concur! Thank you for sharing!! I’m so glad I’ve discovered you.

  20. Mary says:

    Reblogged this on Cooking in København and commented:
    Need to try :)

  21. brickiepedia says:

    Oh wow!!! This looks awwwwwwwwwesome!!!

  22. I’m not just intolerant, but straight-up allergic to legumes. Although I’m not in the mood for mushrooms, this recipe’s inspired me to try using sweet potato instead of chickpeas to make some falafels. The consistency’s pretty similar and I do love savory sweet potato dishes (as I see you do, too). Thanks for stirring up some ideas!

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