"The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine."
- Hippocrates

June 23, 2011

Falafel Sandwich

Back in university, before I decided to go vegetarian, every Saturday morning we'd all head over to the farmer's market in Fredericton and nosh on local yummies like sausages and chicken wraps. After going veg, I had to find a replacement for these sacred rituals...enter, Falafels. Yes, I know, if you've never heard of them before the name could sound scary or intimidating, but don't fear...they are simply ground chickpeas with some mild seasonings, formed into balls and fried or baked. It's a common dish in the Middle East and is usually eaten wrapped in a pita with various dressings.

I've only recently tried to make these at home, but am now kicking myself for not trying sooner! They are ridiculously easy to make, and are perfect for lunches. You can even eat them on the go with one hand if they're pre-wrapped...now that's awesome!

Falafel sandwiches are traditionally topped with lettuce, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. I decided to top mine with romaine lettuce, hummus (click here for recipe), red onion, and sliced tomatoes...but feel free to mess around with your toppings. I haven't tried the sauce listed below, but I'm sure it's yummy! Let me know if you try it!

1 can (19oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped OR 1 tbsp dry parsley
2 tbsp tahini
1-1/2 to 2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup bread crumbs (I used whole wheat)

For falafel sauce:
1 container (6-oz) plain nondairy yogurt
1-2 tbsp tahini (I used 1-1/2)
1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp dried dill

Optional ingredients:
hamburger buns or rolls, pita bread, tomato slices, lettuce

To prepare the sauce, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and chill for 30 minutes.

For the falafels, preheat the oven to 400.

Pulse the chickpeas, garlic and onions in the food processor until thick and pasty, but still a little chunky; transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Stir in parsley, tahini, cumin, corriander, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and baking powder. Slowly add the bread crumbs, until the mixture holds together well (I only needed 1/2 cup, but it will depend on the moisture of your other ingredients).

Shape into patties or balls (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup each) and place on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Flip over and bake for another 10-12 minutes.

Serve alone with sauce on the side, on a bun, or in a pita wrap.

If serving in a wrap, put the lettuce down first to shield the bread from getting soggy, then spread hummus or falafel sauce, followed by thinly sliced red onion, tomato and 2-3 falafels slightly crushed (depending on the size or your pita). Roll the pita tightly and wrap it all in plastic or aluminum foil. We use this method when preparing lunches in the evening and the sandwiches still taste perfectly fresh the next day!

I haven't tried it yet, but I'm sure they'd even be good crushed up on a salad!


This recipe is from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Vegan Table