Yesterday at work my boss was telling me about her sons birthday dinner request from the night before. She said he had requested Falafel and she was really unsure about it - until she tried it! She fell in love with those little pillows of garbanzo bean goodness but wasn't so thrilled with the greasy texture that comes with frying. Now, I know there are some Falafel enthusiasts out there that are going to cringe at the idea of baking a Falafel, but it's a healthier, lower calorie way for some of us to enjoy this delicious dish.
I thought about those Falafel all day and decided that we just had to have them for dinner tonight. I have included the recipe that I modified from Hungry Girl Lisa Lillien's 300 under 300 cookbook and the recipe for Fatoush - a mixed vegetable salad. This dinner was crazy good and even the Fireman liked it ! He liked it so much, that no pictures were taken before all the Falafel where a thing of the past !
About 4-5 servings
15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
4 green onions, thinly sliced, green and white parts
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon paprika
Dash black pepper
Whole wheat pita pockets
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place all the ingredients for Falafel except the pitas and cooking spray in a large bowl, and give them a good mash with a potato masher or a fork. Mixture should remain slightly chunky, not smooth.
Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
Make about 15 balls, approximately the size of a ping pong ball or walnut in the shell, and place them on the baking sheet. Spray the top of each ball with cooking spray.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Turn the Falafel balls over and continue cooking for 10-15 more minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Let cool for 5 minutes before eating.
Place 3 Falafel in each whole wheat pita half that has been warmed or toasted and serve with your favorite sauce. Some ideas include tahini sauce, tzatziki, or ranch dressing.
2-3 cups Romaine Lettuce, chopped
1/2 Orange or Yellow bell pepper, chopped
Grape tomatoes or 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 English cucumber, cut in quarters and sliced
4 green onions sliced,
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1/8 - 1/4 cups mint, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
pinch ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Mix dressing and toss with vegetables. Traditional Fatoush also has toasted pita chips added to the salad - much like croutons.
The next time you're looking for a quick, meat free, economical dinner, take a trip to the Middle East and enjoy a Falafel and some Fatoush. You'll be glad you did !!