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Versatile chickpeas are your ticket to an array of satisfying meals, including these cakes

Steve Dunn, America's Test Kitchen on

To produce a facsimile of falafel with much less work, we streamlined the chickpea mixture from our popular falafel recipe. By pulsing chickpeas, aromatics, and spices in a food processor, we easily created a cohesive blend that we shaped into disks and pan-fried. A quick sauce of yogurt, tahini, lemon and mint beautifully complemented the earthy cakes. To turn the dish into a complete meal, we added a fresh ribboned-zucchini salad with briny kalamatas, lemony yogurt, and mint.

Crispy Chickpea Cakes with Zucchini Ribbon Salad and Yogurt-Tahini Sauce

Serves: 4 to 6

Note: Niçoise olives can be used in place of kalamata. Use a vegetable peeler or a mandoline to shave the zucchini.

For the yogurt-tahini sauce:

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/3 cup tahini

1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup minced fresh mint

For the zucchini salad:

1/4 cup minced fresh mint

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon honey

3 small zucchini (6 ounces each), shaved lengthwise into ribbons

2 tablespoons finely chopped pitted Kalamata olives

For the chickpea cakes:

1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro leaves and stems

1/2 onion, chopped


1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 large egg

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and patted dry

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


1. Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate until needed. (Sauce can be made 24 hours in advance.)


1. Whisk mint, oil, lemon juice, yogurt and honey together in a medium bowl. Add zucchini ribbons and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with olives and refrigerate until needed.


1. Process cilantro, onion, coriander, cumin, salt, baking powder, and cayenne in a food processor for 5 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to process until the mixture resembles pesto, about 5 seconds longer. Add egg and process for 5 seconds. Add chickpeas and flour and pulse four times. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to pulse until chickpeas are coarsely chopped and flour is fully incorporated, about four more pulses.

2. Spray rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Remove food processor blade and, using 1/2 cup measure, drop six even portions (about scant 1/2 cup each) onto prepared sheet. Gently shape into patties about 3 inches in diameter.

3. Line cutting board with a single layer of paper towels. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Using a thin spatula, transfer patties to skillet. Cook for 4 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low; cover; and continue to cook until tops are firm to touch and patties register 185 degrees, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer patties to prepared board, browned side down. Invert cakes to browned side up and serve with sauce and salad.

(For 25 years, home cooks have relied on America’s Test Kitchen for rigorously tested recipes developed by professional test cooks and vetted by 60,000 at-home recipe testers. The family of brands — which includes Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country — offers reliable recipes for cooks of all skill levels. See more online at

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