Falafel pita pocket with yogurt cucumber sauce

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This ain’t no Pita Pit. This is the result of me trying to do something I’ve always wanted to do and sort-of succeeding. I enjoyed my imperfect creation, but my boyfriend loved it and went back for seconds! Not a bad vegetarian dish for a couple of major carnivores.

I wanted to make my own falafel – fried cakes of chickpeas seasoned with cumin, herbs and garlic. I love falafel and hummus, but hate chickpeas in their whole form. Weird?

I searched for a falafel recipe that was quick and easy, and came up with pretty much nothing that didn’t require soaking dried chickpeas for two hours. So I invented my own recipe, based loosely on what I “think” is in these things. In all honesty, they didn’t hold up like I had hoped (fell apart when frying), but the taste was good and not overly greasy or hard (like some I’ve had). I’ve written the recipe with a few adjustments that I thought would be better. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Whole wheat pita pockets

1 tomato, sliced

4 pieces of lettus

A few slices of red onion

One small package of crumbled feta cheese

1 can chickpeas, drained

1 handful of parsley, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped (don’t waste your money on the seedless, or English, variety)

1 T chopped cilantro (or mint!)

1 c. plain yogurt

Juice of half a lemon

Olive oil

Method:

In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, a dash of EVOO and salt and pepper to taste. Process into coarsely ground and you can form it into balls. You can mix in a little flour, if that help it come together. (Like I said, mine never really came together, but whatever). Adjust the seasonings however you like – more cumin? More salt? Experiment. Refrigerate while you prepare the other ingredients.

For the sauce, mix the yogurt with cilantro, lemon and cucumber and maybe a little onion or cumin.  Chill while you cook the falafel.

Now, heat EVOO in a nonstick skillet over medium, until hot. Form the chickpea mixture into little flattened patties about 1-2 inches across and place in the oil. Fry them without touching them until they turn brown, then gently flip them and brown the other side.

To assemble: Split the pita pocket and spread the yogurt sauce on the bottom, followed by the vegetables and feta cheese. Add the falafel and a few splashes of hot sauce, if you dare. Fold it up tight and bite in.

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