Middle Eastern cuisine is incredibly flavorful with tons of spices, herbs, and fresh vegetables. I grew up eating falafel, but it was always fried. Is it just me, or does it not make sense when a vegetable is fried? If you're going to the trouble of eating a healthy item, why fry it?
For those of you who have never had falafel, it's almost like a meatball using chickpeas or garbanzo beans instead of meat. It is also just as easy to make, if not easier!
The recipe I use is Ellie Krieger's Baked Felafel with some minor modifications, including no chopping (yay!), shaping the falafel differently, and using hummus instead of tahini. Enjoy!
Adapted from Ellie Krieger
Total Time: 50 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 40 min
1/4 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cayenne (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup parsley leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
Romaine lettuce, chopped
Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Cucumber, seeded, peeled and chopped
Whole-wheat pita pocket breads, sliced open
1) Preheat oven to 425 F.
2) Pulse the onion and garlic in a food processor until roughly chopped.
3) Add the rest of the ingredients except 1 tablespoon olive oil. Pulse until the mixture is slightly coarse and grainy. Stop and scrape down the sides of bowl as needed.
4) Form balls with 1/4 cup of the mixture.
5) Press the balls slightly to resemble a cookie.
6) Brush the "cookies" with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
7) Bake on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes, flip the "cookies" and bake an additional 20 minutes, until crisp and brown.
8) Toss the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl.
9) Fill warmed pitas with 3-4 falafel balls, hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber.
|My pita just before I wolfed it down. I didn't even wait for the good camera, so a phone picture will have to do!|
This is surprisingly filling and satisfying without being heavy. The spices add a lot of depth of flavor and a slight kick (if you add the cayenne). It comes together so quickly, so it is well suited for a weeknight dinner (and leftovers for the next day's lunch)!
Before anyone mentions it, pressing it into a cookie shape is optional, but I do it for two reasons. First, I dislike when the inside of a falafel ball is still raw and the outside is dry and grainy. Second, it's a bit difficult to eat a large ball in the middle of your sandwich. You invariably end up with one side of the pita with all the balls, and the other with only vegetables. The flat shapes don't shift while eating, and every bite has a piece of the falafel!
What is your favorite quick weeknight meal?