Recipe – DWB Falafel with Cucumber Sauce

For this month’s Dinner without Borders (DWB), we decided to make one of our favorite dishes – falafel. As Cristin and I are veggies (and Daniel and Kayla have veggie tendencies), we have always loved the complexity and heartiness of falafel. Yet somehow, despite being somewhat of an amateur chef, I’ve always shied away from this dish as it has always seemed difficult to make. I’ve left it up to my favorite Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants to keep me filled and happy.

Until last night!

I’ve decolonized falafel. No longer are they feared in my kitchen! With Cristin and Daniel’s virtual assistance, Kayla and I had an enjoyable adventure in the kitchen in preparing this meal. It was easier than we both expected and will definitely be a much-accepted addition to your kitchen repertoire. Our falafel turned out delicious with an undeniable homemade quality you can’t find in local restaurants. These tasted healthier, lighter, and just as good. We used several recipes we found online and altered them accordingly. We added a kick of sriracha to ours to give them an extra kick. For the cucumber sauce, we used Greek yogurt for extra protein and a tangy addition to the meal.

Prep Time – 20 Minutes
Cook Time – 10 Minutes per batch

For Cucumber Sauce:
– 1 (6 ounce) container plain Greek yogurt
– ½ cucumber – peeled and finely chopped
– 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
– Dash lemon juice
– Salt and pepper to taste

For Falafel:
– 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained
– 1 onion, chopped
– ½ cup fresh parsley
– 1 tablespoon sriracha
– 3 cloves garlic
– 1 egg
– 2 teaspoons ground cumin
– 1 teaspoon ground coriander
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 dash pepper
– 1 dash red pepper flakes
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 cups dry Panko bread crumbs
– Oil for fying

Optional
– Pita bread
– 1 cup chopped tomatoes
– Hummus

Directions

1. In a small bowl combine yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill.

2. In a large bowl mash chickpeas; don’t use a blend because the consistency will be too thin. In a blender, process onion, sriracha, parsley, and garlic until smooth. Stir into mashed chickpeas.

3. In a small bowl combine egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and baking powder. Stir into chickpea mixture along with olive oil. Slowly add bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together. Add more or less bread crumbs as needed. Form balls and then flatten them into patties.

4. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties in hot oil until brown on both sides.

5. Serve falafels in pita topped with cucumber sauce and chopped tomatoes.

Healthier option – Instead of frying, bake the falafels in the oven at 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet and the falafel patties with vegetable oil cooking spray. Bake 10 minutes on each side. Then broil each side for 2 minutes.

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