Tuesday, March 12, 2013

40 Meatless Meals: Falafel with Tahini Sauce

You'll get the best results with a food processor, but I'm living proof that if you're patient and stubborn enough, you can make this recipe work with just a chef's knife. The results were a bit crumbly, though, so next time I'll probably try a combination of chopped and pureed chickpeas to improve the texture. Serve these with some salad greens (either on the side or tucked into the pita bread sandwiches), and you've got yourself a meal.
Serves six to eight.

  • 2 cups roughly chopped white onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
  • 1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Canola oil, for sauteing 
  • 1¼ cups plain yogurt (full fat or non-fat)
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Add the onion and garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor and pulse just until they are finely minced. Remove and set aside.

Add the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, salt, chili powder, and cumin to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until they are roughly blended but not pureed.

Return the onion mixture to the food processor, along with the baking powder and just enough flour so that when you pulse the processor, the mixture begins to form a small ball and is not sticky. (Note: Start by adding ¼ cup of flour, and then the remaining ¼ cup. You can add more if the mixture is still too wet.)Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour.

While the falafel mixture is chilling, prepare the tahini sauce by whisking together the yogurt, tahini and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, cover and chill.

Once the falafel mixture has chilled, use a small ice cream scoop or spoons to form the mixture into balls (about 3 T each). Set a large sauté pan over medium heat and add a liberal amount of canola oil so that the pan is well-coated. Let the pan pre-heat for 3 minutes then add the falafel one by one, browning them on the first side for 3 minutes, then flipping them once and browning the second side until the mixture is cooked throughout.

Transfer the falafel to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt. Repeat until you have cooked all of the falafel.

Serve inside warmed pita bread with sauce.

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