My very favorite falafel came from street carts in Italy; they were so good I had to try to recreate them at home. I made the dough from scratch by putting chickpeas, onions, and spices in the food processor, refrigerating the mixture, then cooking them in a pan. I try to make a vegetarian meal once a week, and this is such a great option since chickpeas are a great source of protein and they are very filling. Make it even more healthy and delicious by using whole wheat pitas, lots of fresh veggies, and the yogurt sauce to top it off!
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and dried
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper (makes it a little spicy, use only half if you like things more mild)
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons flour
Coconut oil or sunflower seed oil for lightly frying
Diced green bell pepper
For the sauce:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cucumber, grated
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon good olive oil
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
Place the drained chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for an hour or over night.
Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat and add a tablespoon (maybe a little more) of oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the falafel and cook 6-8 at a time, for a few minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. Let cool slightly on a paper towel lined plate.
To make the sauce, sprinkle a little salt on the grated cucumber, then wrap in a paper towel or cheese cloth and squeeze as much liquid from it as you can. Add the cucumber to the yogurt in a small bowl. Stir in the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Fill half each pita with falafel, chopped tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and lettuce. Drizzle with Tzatziki sauce. Enjoy!