In junior high school I had a friend who would bring a delicious looking homemade lunch every day. I would stare longingly at her lunch as I ate my daily peanut butter and honey sandwich. My mom made a lot of homemade meals, we weren’t deprived, however I was raised in a sandwich for lunch everyday kind of family. One of the things that always caught my eye was when my friend would have pita bread with vegetables and these odd little circular patties. I remember one day I asked what they were and that is the day I learned about falafel. Now I didn’t go on to try falafel for several more years, but once I did, I knew it was something I needed in my life regularly!
Now if you are like me in my junior high days wondering what the heck is falafel, let me tell you! Falafel is a Middle Eastern staple made out of chickpeas, fresh herbs, garlic, spices, and onion. Falafel is filling, full of protein, and is absolutely delicious paired with tzatziki sauce (we will get to that later), or thrown in a pita, or on a salad. Today I am going to teach you how to prepare falafel with a salad and tzatziki dressing. Traditional falafel recipes call for uncooked chickpeas, I prefer to use cooked or canned chickpeas in my falafel because I prefer a more moist falafel.
Now about that Tzatziki dressing- first, for those who have never heard of this or maybe you’ve seen it on a menu or another recipe and you thought how in the world is tzatziki pronounced, here you go: “Tah-see-key.” Tzatziki is a tangy yogurt sauce with cucumber, lemon, and dill. It is so creamy and is typically served with Greek gyros.
My recipe today will combine a green salad with crisp veggies, my baked falafel, drizzled with my tzatziki dressing, and topped with feta. Well enough is enough, let’s get cooking!
Baked falafel salad with tzatziki dressing ingredients:
Green leaf lettuce
Grape tomatoes halved
Falafel (recipe below)
Tzatziki dressing (recipe below)
Chop salad vegetables, prepare the baked falafel and tzatziki dressing. Plate everything together, drizzle with tzatziki dressing, and toss on feta if you like.
Time: 20 minutes to prepare
30 minutes in the oven
Yield: 18 falafels
3 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 cans chickpeas drained
½ C fresh parsley leaves
½ C fresh cilantro leaves
1 small yellow onion (chopped in half)
4 small cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp baking powder
¼ C flour
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1) Preheat oven to 375 F.
2) Combine chickpeas, parsley leaves, cilantro leaves, small yellow onion, 4 cloves garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil together. The easiest way I have found to do this is by using a magic bullet and using the largest cup option. If you do not have a magic bullet use a food processor. Everything combines easiest if you do it in 2-3 batches. If you try to stick all the ingredients in it will either not fit or it will give you a ton of trouble trying to blend it together. Just work with it, you will get everything well combined eventually. If some of the chickpeas and herbs are still a little chunky, no worries.
3) Once you have the above ingredients combined put it in a mixing bowl and add the baking powder, flour, cumin, paprika, turmeric, salt, and pepper and stir together.
4) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or oil it up to prevent sticking. Scoop out 1 ½ inch balls of the falafel dough and roll into a ball, set it on the baking sheet in rows (they do not expand so they can be close together), then flatten each ball slightly with your hand.
5) Bake in the oven for 30 minutes on 375. Check to make sure they are not getting brown.
Tzatziki Dressing Ingredients:
1 C Greek yogurt
1/4 of a cucumber
Juice of ½ of a lemon
1 tbs dried dill
2 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Combine all ingredients in magic bullet, blender, or food processor. Enjoy!