These falafel-inspired broccoli balls are perfectly crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside and loaded with vibrant fresh herbs and spices. Paired with a tangy and spicy harissa-yogurt sauce, they can be perfect guilt-free hors d'oeuvres for your next party, a fiber-packed vegetable side dish or a crunchy addition to a salad. Since harissa pastes can vary widely in spiciness, feel free to adjust to your liking. They freeze really well, so make a double batch and freeze some for another night.
Pour about 1 inch of water into a large skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Put the broccoli florets in a steamer basket in an even layer. Set the steamer basket over the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 8 minutes (depending on the size of the florets). Transfer the broccoli to a large plate to cool slightly.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Making sure to reserve the liquid, drain the chickpeas and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Spread the chickpeas evenly on one half of the prepared baking sheet and the broccoli florets on the other half. Pat the chickpeas and broccoli with additional paper towels to remove excess liquid.
Put the parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, baking powder, garlic, onion, 1 teaspoon salt, several grinds of pepper and 3 tablespoons of the reserved chickpea liquid into a food processor. Pulse the ingredients until finely chopped, about 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas and broccoli and pulse again, stopping and scraping down the sides as needed, until the chickpeas and broccoli are finely minced, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the panko. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, olive oil, harissa (to preferred spice level), 2 teaspoons water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a small bowl. Refrigerate to chill.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F; set a wire rack inside a baking sheet.
Using a tablespoon or medium scoop, form the chickpea-broccoli mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls, each about 1 heaping tablespoon. Evenly space the balls on the wire rack and spray generously with olive oil spray. Bake, rotating the baking sheet halfway through and coating the balls again with olive oil spray, until deep golden and crisp, about 45 minutes. Serve warm with the yogurt sauce.
You can also use frozen broccoli florets for this recipe; just follow the package instructions for steaming.
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