Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Falafel is one of my favorite vegetarian dishes- it's so flavorful and tastes great on it's own or inside a pita sandwich.  Like many other foods, this was something I didn't really like when I was a child, but I have since come across great recipes that definitely please my palette.  This one is from Guy Fieri, and I love how he adds sauteed onion and red pepper to the chick-pea mixture.  The fresh herbs are also key in getting the right flavor.  I would say this is also a healthy dish, but pan-frying it in oil takes the healthy factor down a notch. But, it does make the falafel crispy and delicious!

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus extra for frying
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chick peas, drained (or one large can)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 egg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
  • Pitas, for sandwich
  • Yogurt & cucumber for sauce
  • Other toppings such as lettuce, mint leaves, tomato, or onion (optional)    

Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet.  Cook onion and pepper with 1/2 teaspoon salt for about 5 minutes, and add the garlic.  Saute for an additional 2-3 minutes, remove from heat.

In a food processor, combine chick peas, chili flakes, cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, egg, flour, and herbs.  Pulse until it comes together in a thick paste. 

Remove mixture to a large bowl and mix in the onion and pepper mixture.  Chill until ready to cook (recommended at least one hour, or 30 minutes in the freezer).  

Before cooking, roll the falafel into round patties, 1/2 inch thick.  Guy Fieri suggests doing more of an oval shape but after trying it both ways I found those were harder to cook evenly and keep their shape.  Heat a cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet to medium heat and add 1/2 inch of oil. Cook falafel patties a few at a time, flipping when the bottom side has browned.  Drain on paper towels when both sides are fully cooked. Sprinkle with salt while still hot.

Serve several patties in a pita with yogurt cucumber dipping sauce, and other toppinsgs as desired.  For dipping sauce, combine one cucumber seeded and diced with 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt.  Optionally, add 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped mint.  These would also be delicious as vegetarian sliders, or as a main dish along side rice and vegetables.  Enjoy!

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