Falafel with a Lemon Tahini Sauce

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We LOVE LOVE LOVE Middle Eastern food around here.  Like – love it.  There’s a great restaurant in Fort Lauderdale that we go to… they have the BEST hummus and falafel.  I love everything about Middle Eastern food.  The spices… the HUMMUS…the meat and rice… I’m really not even a big rice eater, but for some reason I love the spices they put on it.  If you’re not into all the meat, there’s always great vegetarian/vegan options.  And now that I’ve made Falafel – it’s my new favorite thing to eat.I made this last night in honor of “Meatless Monday”.  For the last month (give or take) I’ve been going vegan about 2- 3 days a week.  My hubs isn’t 100% on board with me yet.  BUT… I’m pretty sure that after our meal last night he won’t mind one bit if I don’t serve him any meat for one night as long as I give him THIS!  Now, I do realize Falafel is traditionally made in balls.  I made mine in little patties/cakes (kind of like a crab cake).  Make yours however you choose!  I didn’t make balls because I didn’t want to deep-vat fry mine, but I did want a little crust.  So, I pan-fried them in a little bit of olive oil, then placed them on a wire rack on top of a sheet pan and finished baking them in the oven for about 10 minutes.  Hello, perfection!!!  I have no idea if this is the traditional way of making Falafel… I’m guessing it’s probably not.  BUT… It worked and we LOVED it!  And to make it even better – it’s super easy to make!

Give your belly a break from meat one night this week and make THESE!!!  ❤

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Yields:  8 patties or 4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

For the Falafel:

  • 15 oz can organic chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • a big handful of parsley
  • a big handful of cilantro
  • 2 – 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper
  • olive oil for pan-searing
  • toasted pita bread

For the Tahini Sauce:

  • 2 heaping tbsp organic Tahini  (“Heaping” just means I didn’t really measure it… just kind of eyeballed it.)
  • 2 heaping tbsp organic full fat Greek yogurt
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • water for thinning out if it’s too thick

Cucumber & Tomato Salad

  • 1 organic seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • a handful of fresh chopped parsley and cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Throw all of the “Tahini” ingredients into a small bowl, whisk together and set aside.  If the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of water until you’re able to pour it.
  3. Make the Cucumber & Tomato Salad so it can be ready as soon as you need it.  Put everything in a bowl, mix together, and let it hang!
  4. For the Falafel:  This part is optional, but it’s what I did.  Saute the onions and garlic in a little olive oil on medium heat until soft.  If you like your onions and garlic raw, by all means, add it raw.  I’m not a fan.  So, I cooked mine first.
  5. Now… Put all of the Falafel ingredients into the blender/food processor and blend until everything comes together.  If it’s too loose, add more flour.  You want it to be pretty thick or else you’ll have a falafel pancake.
  6. Heat up a skillet on medium heat.  Add just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  You’re just pan-searing – NOT deep vat frying.
  7. Add a spoonful of the falafel mixture to the pan.  Let it brown, flip it, then put it on your prepared sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes.  You should be able to get 8 patties.
  8. While the Falafel is in the oven, toast your pita too.  Now, assemble!  Open up the pita bread just enough to fill it with the Falafel, cucumber and tomato salad, then drizzle the Tahini sauce all over it.  I wrapped each sandwich in parchment paper just to hold it all together while you devour it.  O-M-G!!!!  AMAZING!!!!!!!!!  falafel

 

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