A Mediterranean Holiday Falafel Meal

I love Mediterranean food.  One of my favorite foods is Falafel.  I like it so much I learned how to cook it at home.  Many years ago I made it fairly frequently but, as time passed, I left it in the recipe book and time ran away with me … so no falafel.  

 A friend and I went to a Lebanese restaurant – Ellie’s – earlier this week and  I was reminded what great falafel was like.  

I decided to pull my recipe out and make some myself and my son lunch yesterday… complete with Christmas music, decorations, and a good Mediterranean set meal.  After tossing the feta salad, I made a quick Tzatziki Sauce and left it to chill.  Made a simple but nice balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing with spices, and put together the Falafel mix to chill.  Though this is an easy recipe to make, there is some chilling that needs to take place for both the Falafel and the Taztziki Sauce to bring out the flavors.  Note, as well, that there are those who would not put lemon in either of these though I love that flavor in both.  

Pierce and I enjoyed the meal immensely and I learned from him that Falafel in pita bread was one of the things he ate often when in New York earlier this year.   This is going to be a regular tradition from now on in my home, especially with my son. 

 Enjoy! 

 Joellen’s Falafel

from “Recipes With a Story Collection”

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and patted very dry

1 small onion, roughly chopped or 2 table spoons of onion flakes

2 cloves garlic or freshly grated garlic – 1 good teaspoon

1/4 teaspoon red pepper or cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons ground cumin1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour1 teaspoon grated sea salt

lemon to taste – I use more than less

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves or cilantro or 2 tablespoons of  either of these dried

Olive oil or canola oil, for frying

1. Take dried garbanzo beans and onion and grind in food processor (I have a small food processor so split the mixture up into thirds). Take beans and onion and  combine all of the falafel ingredients, except oil, in the bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed. The mixture will look course.  Refrigerate, covered, for several hours (I just did mine for 30 minutes and they seemed fine to me).

2. Form the falafel mixture into balls about the size of walnuts. Flatten if desired.

3. You may cook these several ways.  You can cook in a hot pan on top of the stove – turning for even cooking. You can also heat 4 inches of oil to 375 degrees F in a deep pot or deep fryer – frying about 6 balls at once for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

4. Serve in pita pocket with grated lettuce, fresh sliced cucumbers, feta, and Joellen’s homemade Tzatziki sauce. 

Joellen’s Tzatziki Sauce

1 cup sour cream – drain excess liquid off

1 clove crushed garlic or 1 tsp fresh grated garlic

1/4 tsp grated sea salt

1/4 tsp grated black pepper

1/2 large cucumber – peeled, seeded, and shredded

Press excess liquid out of the shredded cucumber. In a small bowl, stir together cucumber and sour cream. Mix garlic, salt and pepper into the mixture.  Chill mixture for 1 – 2 hours. 

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