Cooking Corner_ Falafel

Cooking Corner: Falafel

There is a common misconception that vegetarian food means bland food. While there are definitely vegetarian foods that can be bland, there are also plenty of meats that can be bland if cooked badly. One of the most delicious types of vegetarian food that can be very tasty and have great flavor is Falafel. Falafel is a Middle Eastern food made from chickpeas or garbanzo beans(same thing just two different names for them). This is a food that is very high in protein due to the beans used to make it. As a result, they are a perfect substitute for meat because it still provides a good source of protein. There are several ways in which falafel can be made, such as deep fried balls or as patties that can be eaten like burgers. Often times, falafel will be eaten with pita, which is a flat bread, hummus, a dip or spread made from smashed chickpeas or garbanzo beans, or a yogurt sauce. What better to eat than garbanzo beans with a side of more garbanzo beans? Falafel is a delicious, nutritious, and very filling meal that will be sure to leave everyone’s stomach happy, full and content.

1 (15 oz) can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
½ cup fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped (I only used 1)
1 egg
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 dash pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup dry bread crumbs
oil for frying

1 (6 oz) container plain yogurt (recommended to use Greek yogurt)
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint (rough estimate)
½ clove garlic, minced (rough estimate)
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl mash chickpeas until thick and pasty; don’t use a blender as the consistency will be too thin.
2. In a blender or food processor, process onion, parsley and garlic until smooth. Stir into mashed chickpeas.
3. In a small bowl combine egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking soda. Stir into chickpea mixture along with olive oil.
4. Slowly add bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together; add more or less bread crumbs as needed.
5. Form 8 balls or 4ish patties.
6. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties or balls in hot oil until brown on both sides.
7. In a small bowl combine all ingredients for sauce. Chill for at least 30 minutes, or as long as willing to wait.
8. Eat and enjoy

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