Monday, April 4, 2011

Falafel Salad with Tzatziki (Cucumber Sauce)

Featured on Meatless Monday!
Honestly, I am a falafel newbie. Don't ask me how this wonderful treat escaped my attention for so long, I simply do not know. Falafel, a food of humble origin, has attained status at the most discerning tables simply because it is so straightforward and honest. Despite it's being 100% vegan, falafel satisfies all of our cravings for something tasty, substantial, savory and FRIED! Frying sure takes the "skinny" out of any recipe.

We grilled this falafel, and saved a ton of calories in the process. We greased up our Griddler with a healthy layer of olive oil (top and bottom), turned it to Medium-High (panini setting with flat griddle plates), and grilled our patties for about 12 minutes.

This falafel does not use egg. Some cooks claim that traditional falafel contains neither egg nor tahini, although several recipes I looked at called for sesame seeds. Everyone knows that chick peas and sesame seeds are meant for each other, so why not save a step and just toss in the pureed sesame seeds in the form of tahini? Besides, I had some serious concerns about whether or not these patties would hold together in cooking. The tahini added just a little bid of a binding agent. Everything held together beautifully, though. Dinner was a very satisfactory success.

You will need a food processor, blender, or a bit of patience for chopping

INGREDIENTSserves 2-3 as a main dish, 4-6 as a single course

3/4 c onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbs lemon juice
Tbs tahini butter
handful fresh cilantro
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 t cumin
1 t coriander
dash cayenne pepper
dash ground black pepper
1  15oz can chickpeas, drained

Salad greens
2 oz Feta cheese, crumbled

In food processor with chopping blade, process first 4 ingredients until nearly smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and process until chick peas are chunky, but not yet pureed.

Form falafel into 6-8 patties.

Generously brush griddle plates with olive oil. Preheat Griddler to Medium-High.

Grill for about 12 minutes, or until a crunchy crust forms and patties are heated through.

Serve over fresh greens garnished with red onion, cucumber, and Feta cheese. Top with Cucumber Sauce.
Falafel is vegan. Substitute a tahini sauce in place of the yogurt based cucumber sauce and eliminate the Feta cheese for a vegan meal.

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