Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Feeling awful? Try some FALAFEL! (Groan.)

I belong to a Facebook group called Healthy Eating on a Budget that one of my dear friends from college coordinates. One of her friends recently posted such a delicious-looking falafel and tzatziki recipe that I felt compelled me to give it a whirl. We LOVED this! My roommate called it a "vegetarian hamburger," and commanded me to make it again and often! This is pretty quick and easy to make, and would surely spice up your Meatless Mondays (though we enjoyed ours on a Tuesday).

I read a lot of reviews of this recipe before I made it, and I have a few notes. Unlike some reviewers, I had no trouble with the little patties falling apart (made as written), and I did not even have to refrigerate them. I used panko crumbs, though, so maybe that made a difference?

I have a few other recommendations as well, including cutting the salt in the falafel mixture by at least half and taking the cumin down by half as well (it's powerful juju!), and using fresh dill and a couple of cloves of minced garlic in the tzatziki. (I already made those changes in the recipe to follow). Lastly, I suggest doubling the recipe and freezing the second batch between pieces of waxed paper for a very quick fix the next time you crave falafel!

Sean's Falafel with Cucumber Sauce (Tzatziki)
(Source: adapted from All Recipes)

For Sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt (I like Greek for this)
1/2 cucumber - peeled, seeded, and
finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried dill weed (I prefer 2T fresh)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
For Falafel:
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo
beans), drained
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry bread crumbs (I used panko)
oil for frying
2 pita breads, cut in half (optional)
1 cup chopped tomatoes (optional)
1.In a small bowl combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, salt, pepper and mayonnaise and mix well. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
2.In a large bowl mash chickpeas until thick and pasty; don't use a blender, as the consistency will be too thin. In a blender, process onion, parsley and garlic until smooth. Stir into mashed chickpeas.
3.In a small bowl combine egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking powder. Stir into chickpea mixture along with olive oil. Slowly add bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together; add more or less bread crumbs, as needed. Form 8 balls and then flatten into patties.
4.Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties in hot oil until brown on both sides. Serve two falafels in each pita half topped with chopped tomatoes and cucumber sauce.

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