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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Falafel with yogurt sauce

Beans are a great source of nutrition that doesn't cost a lot of money. This delicious recipe for Falafel comes from Food Network's Guy Fieri, with a few changes from me. I made Falafels for years while reading the recipe from a magazine. It wasn't until I was talking with a friend that I realized I was pronouncing it wrong. So, in case you too are unsure of the pronuncitation, it is:
Fa-La- Full
Not, Fal-a-fell, as I went around calling them.
Oh well, my friend got a good laugh and I learned a new word. Falafels are made from chickpeas and fried in little patties. They can be eaten in pita with lettuce, tomatoes, or even cucumbers, or wrapped in lettuce. This recipe is very versatile. You can leave out the bell peppers, use dried herbs instead of fresh (be sure to reduce the amount if you do), or eat the whole thing in a pita with lettuce and tomato. Chickpeas are a good source of protein and folate, high in fiber, calcium and minerals. And they taste really good.
Nourishing traditions recommends soaking chickpeas for 24 hours in a little whey (or lemon juice), and simmering for about 6 hours. I do this soak and slow cook, but then I can or freeze the beans. Freezing is better nutritionally speaking, but it's not quite as convenient to have to thaw a container as it is to get one out of the pantry and pop it open. For that reason, I usually prefer canned. Dried beans are much less expensive than (store bought) canned also, so a little planning ahead will save some money.
I'd seen many recipes for yogurt sauce, and it just never sounded good. I tried this one with my homemade yogurt and, in the words of my father in law, "it'll knock your socks off." It's so good I use the leftovers (if there are any) as a salad dressing.

Falafel (Fa-la-full)

Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 14 oz. cans chickpeas, drained
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 egg
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4-1/2 cup flour
2 cups chopped parsley leaves
3/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Lettuce, separated into cups


In medium skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil and sweat onions and peppers 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until translucent, 5 minutes more.
In a food processor, pulse together chickpeas, ground cumin, egg, salt and pepper. Add flour, parsley and cilantro. Pulse until the mixture starts pulling away from the sides of the food processor. If it doesn't, you need to add more flour until it does.
Remove mixture to a large bowl and mix in the onion mixture. (I usually do a rough chop on the onions and pepper, and then chop it finer in the food processor since it's already out.)
Scoop falafel into one inch rounds.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, flipping occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt while still hot.
Serve in lettuce cups (or pita bread) with yogurt sauce.

Yogurt Dipping Sauce

1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. freshly sqeezed lemon juice
1 Tbs. salt
1 Tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley leaves
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Mix ingredients together in a small bowl and chill until ready to use.


  1. Yum! We love these, I'm going to make them again soon. I find them to be so filling, too!

  2. I first heard about these on old episodes of Early Edition. Sounds good! And nice and frugal! I may have to try that out soon! Thanks!

  3. Oh that sounds so good! I'm always trying new recipes and this will go on my list. Yum!