Falafel with tzatziki sauce

I remember the first time I ever made falafel. Our friends brought over all the ingredients; we blended them together in our food processor, rolled and fried away, and could not stop eating them. I like to think of falafel as fried savory donut holes that count as dinner. But if fried donut holes don’t immediately emote a picture of health for you, consider this alternative: baked chickpea vegetarian nuggets. Any better? All this to say, I will give you two ways to prepare your falafel, fried or baked.

I usually find an excuse to eat falafel at any time of the day or with any meal- I’ll even break them up and mix them in with my scrambled eggs. You can add them to a salad, or more “traditionally,” eat them in a pita with veggies and tzatziki sauce. These are incredibly filling and delicious! I’ve added a little bit of spice and upped the garlic (no surprises there), but you can play around with the recipe and make it your own.

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FALAFEL WITH TZATZIKI SAUCE
adapted from Melissa d’Arabian on the Food Network

makes approximately 20, one and a half inch falafel balls

falafel ingredients:
approximately 2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and dried
4 green onions, coarsely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1.5 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1/2 for less heat, 3/4 for medium spice)
heaping 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
heaping 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 egg
1 teaspoon sea salt
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
all-purpose flour (or gluten-free substitute) as needed to thicken batter, plus 1/3 cup for coating the falafel balls
canola oil, for frying (not needed if you are going to bake the falafel)

tzatziki sauce:
3/4 cups (173g) full fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup (60g) full fat sour cream
1/2 cup grated cucumber (not peeled, but de-seeded after cutting in half lengthwise)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
sea salt and pepper to taste

assembly ideas:
pita bread, cut in half
onion
tomato
lettuce
cilantro
feta
lemon wedges
tzatziki sauce

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F if you are going to bake the falafel instead of frying. Prepare a baking sheet by greasing lightly or lining with parchment paper.

Blend together all falafel ingredients (except flour and canola oil) in a large food processor. If the dough seems sticky, add a little flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix. If you have the time, refrigerate the batter for 30 min before forming the falafel balls.

Scoop 1/3 cup flour onto a plate or shallow bowl. Form falafel batter into approximately 1.5 inch rounds and roll lightly in the flour to coat the outside. TIP: I find it’s easier to scoop some batter with a spoon and drop it into the flour before attempting to roll into a ball.

BAKED FALAFEL: Place falafel on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 min, flipping them over halfway through. They should be golden brown when finished cooking.

FRIED FALAFEL:  Pour canola oil into a sturdy fry pan until it is 1/2 inch deep. Heat* the oil over medium-high for 5-10 minutes. Fry the falafel for 3-4 minutes on each side and place on a plate to cool.

To ASSEMBLE: Mix your tzatziki sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the falafel in a pita (or otherwise) with toppings of choice.

*The frying temperature of canola oil is roughly 350 to 375 degrees F. You can use a thermometer, or go “rouge” like I do and just let your oil heat for 5-10 minutes before using.

3 thoughts on “Falafel with tzatziki sauce

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