falafel and condimentsI was vegetarian for 10 years.

When I was in year 10 I went off to school camp, Wollangarra, a camp in East Gippsland, Victoria, where there is a flying fox to get in and no electricity, and came home vegetarian.  I announced this to my parents upon my arrival home, they both looked unsurprise, and responded with, “we’ve been waiting for this”.

falafel with tabouli and yoghurtMy reasons weren’t for that of animal welfare, my harsh opinion was that they were bread to be eaten (and the other variety of bi-products), my passion was for the environment.  I’d finally come to the realisation that we could be eating grain that is fed to the animals, that trees (that cleaned the air we needed to BREATH) were being logged to create farm land and the amount of methane caused and water used was beyond even my colourful imagination.

falafel wrapsI had also found something I believed in, and at 16, it was nice to have that.  I loved Wollangarra with fierce totality, and just desperately wanted to be a part of it, I later went on to work there for a year, and it then shaped a lot of my major life decisions.

Vegetarianism however, came and went.  After about 8 years, each Christmas I would eat a little ham and turkey, then I started eating fish, then one Christmas I just never stopped after the festive season had come to a close.

tabouli and falafelThese days, I try to make about 50% of our meals meat free.  I struggle to think of what I ate for those 10 years, I no longer find it so easy to imagine meals without meat as the main protein. But falafel are fabulous! So easy and fresh and wonderful!

Did you have a passion at 16 that shaped your life? Have you ever been vegetarian? Do you love to eat meat free?

Author: Clare Reilly
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
  • 1 brown onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 2x400gm tins of chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Turkish bread, tabouli, youghurt to serve
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz until combined, a few chickpea chunks are ok.
  2. Shape into patties (I used about a tablespoon of mix per pattie).
  3. Preheat oven to 180*C.
  4. Place into pan with hot oil, and push down slightly, to make a flatter pattie.
  5. Once browned, put on oven tray and cook for about 30 mins, until inside is cooked (if need be break one in 1/2 to check).
  6. Serve with Turkish bread, tabouli and yoghurt.



28 thoughts on “Falafel

  1. I love falafels, although sadly I’m the only one in our house who does. Luckily they freeze beautifully. I’m a vegetarian and have been so for over half my life now. I’m vegan at home where I can control the ingredient list, but it’s much easier to be a bit flexible when I’m out of the house.

    My husband is a huge meat eater. We make it work by eating in themes – e.g. we will have mexican night and he will have mince and I will have beans. The toddler delights in it and eats from all options. We both joke about how funny it would be if my milk monster nursing turns out to be vegetarian! 🙂

    1. We did the themed thing for a while, or J would just add sausages or bacon to our vego meal if he felt the need.

  2. I know quite a few people who in their teenage years became vegetarian for a period of time. But you were vegetarian for a lot longer than my friends. I love the look of your falafel xx

  3. Yum, falafels, I have always wanted to make my own so I can’t wait to give these a go. I was a vegan for a year and a vegetarian for three years. Turns out I was made to eat meat. Being a vego is hard work and getting the right amount of protein is so important. I was so use to red meat that it didn’t really work for me. These days we still have several vego meals at our table too, we have also reduced the amount of meat we eat in a dish too, for the both of us about 100-150g.

    1. I think being a vegan is impressive! But like you, I thrive when eating meat, and now we don’t eat a lot per meal.

  4. I was vegetarian for about 10 years too but I really am not sure what my reasons were at the time. Now, like you, I am vegetarian a good part of the time. I probably only eat meat about 2-3 times per week. I love felafel too, in an odd turn of events I have a recipe popping up on my blog (scheduled) today too 🙂

  5. Yummo. Love falafel! I also became a vegetarian in my teens, from 15… through until 30. Over that time I never missed having meat or fish in my diet, ever. Then my husband reintroduced meat to his diet (after 10yrs of vegetarianism) and all of a sudden it was in our house all the time. Gradually, over time, I started sampling his meals and it crept back into both our diets. Then we honeymooned in Argentina… and that was that! Several years have passed and, while we still have a what you might call a largely plant-based diet, I too wonder what all my non-meat meals where sometimes. Adaptation!

  6. wow after 10 years you didn’t know how to source flavoursome “non-meat” or vegetarian meals ?
    What does the 50% of veggie meals taste like now days?
    Faflafel …

    1. Of course I know how to source delicious, fulfilling and flavoursome meat free meals Jo, but I definitely repeat a lot of recipes. When I was vegetarian I was living with other vegetarians, and was young and carefree. Now, although still pretty carefree, I have less time on my hands and reuse a lot of recipes. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  7. there must be something about 16 – that was when I became vegetarian. Still am! The HUngry Family eats falafel like they are going out of style. These look great.

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