Friday, July 30, 2010

What's a Falafel?!

Well....I am here to tell you what it is and how wonderful it really is.  We had it for dinner last night, and it was divine!  Okay, okay, I will tell you what it is.... it's a pan fried patty made from chickpeas (otherwise known as garbanzo beans) and vegetables and other yummy stuff.  You put it in a pita pocket with hummus and all kinds of fresh veggies and tahini sauce.....oh, heavenly!  I am also including a recipe I have for Spinach Hummus.  So branch out of your meat and potatoes box and try something different!  I am sure you will enjoy it!!

** I borrowed this falafel recipe from my friends Damaris and Steve, and the hummus recipe was given to me by my friend Julia.  Both are delicious**


¾ c sliced green onions
½ c sliced celery (forgot to get this, turned out alright anyway...but probably would be better with the celery)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained  (I used all garbanzos, but I can see why the recipe uses pinto now that I have made them.  Both ways turned out great!)
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, rinsed, drained
1 egg
2 T flour
2 t lemon juice
½ t salt
½ t ground cumin
¼ t pepper

Heat small skillet; spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Cook and stir onions, celery and garlic until tender;  remove from heat.  Process beans in food processor until smooth.  Combine bean mixture, egg, flour, juice, salt, cumin and pepper in a large bowl; stir in cooked vegetables.  Form mixture into about 24 patties.  Heat large skillet and pour in a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Cook patties over medium-low heat until lightly browned, about 5 min per side.

Serve in Pitas or flat bread w/ cucumber, tomato, thin sliced onion, sliced red pepper, and/or anything else that sounds good.

Spinach Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 10-oz box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 c tahini
2 tbsp garlic (about 6 cloves.....haha I really like garlic, so I go crazy)
3 tbsp lemon juice (about equal to one lemon worth)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
pepper, to taste (I used a dash)

Process in your food processor, starting with beans and garlic and spinach.  Add tahini and oil and lemon juice, then salt and pepper.  Continue to process til smooth and creamy.  Can be made up to 2 days ahead, kept in a tightly covered container in refrigerator. 

**Assembling your falafel:  Cut a pita bread in half, and separate to make pocket.  Spread hummus inside, then add tahini, veggies, and then a falafel patty.  My in-laws enjoyed adding some of the leftover tzatziki sauce I made for the gyros, but thats not really traditional.  I had sliced a red pepper, some tomato, cucumber and some thin sliced red onion.  You can use whatever floats your boat.  Once stuffed to capacity, stuff your face with it!   Haha.  It's tasty, you'll love it!!

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