#TASTYBITS: Homemade Falafels & Cucumber Sauce
Gristle & Gossip’s “TastyBits” feature quick and delicious meatless or seafood recipes that we love! This edition is dedicated to my favorite “Meatless Monday” dish – Homemade Falafels & Cucumber Sauce!
Falafels are one of my favorite deep-fried items to prepare and serve to my family. They make great appetizers and are also yummy as wraps and even falafel burgers. Below I have outlined the steps (with pictures) to help you make your very own “DIY” Falafels and Cucumber Sauce.
STEP ONE: PREPARE YOUR CUCUMBER SAUCE
- 1/2 of a cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- (1) 6 oz. container of plain Greek yogurt ( I use Greek for the consistency)
- 1 tsp of Dried dill weed
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions: Mix all ingredients together and let refrigerate/chill for 30 minutes. It’s usually ready to eat by the time the falafels are done!
STEP TWO: PREPPING YOUR GARBANZO BEANS
I only eat fresh legumes and the Garbanzo Bean (chickpea) happens to be my top favorite. When you buy them bagged there are a couple steps you need to follow before using.
- Open the bag and sort the beans. Removing all broken beans and other items (rocks, sticks etc..)
- Rinse the beans
- Put washed beans in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit for 24 hours
You will notice that your beans have grown in size, absorbed most of the water and are now ready to use. Chickpeas can now be boiled for a hot dish or used cold in recipes such as this one.
STEP THREE: “MASH IT UP”
Once your chickpeas are ready to use, pour about 2 cups (16 oz.) into a mini chopper (or mash by hand) and pulse until the beans are fine, with a little weight to them. You are looking for a “paste” like consistency. Over pulsing (mashing) will leave the beans too thin, forcing you to use more breadcrumbs to thicken it up.
Pour bean mixture into a medium sized container, preferably with a lid for any left over falafel mix.
STEP THREE: CHOPPING YOUR VEGGIES
Add onion, parsley, garlic to mini chopper and pulse until your mixture looks like the above photo. Not too mushy. Vegetables should still be identifiable. Add this to the chickpea container and mix together with a spoon.
STEP FOUR: WET INGREDIENTS & SPICES
In a small bowl combine egg, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, pepper, baking powder & lemon juice. Stir all of these ingredients together and add to the chickpea and vegetable mixture.
Chickpeas, vegetable mixture, wet ingredients and spices — before mixing
After mixing all of the ingredients together you should have an idea of whether or not you will need more or less breadcrumbs as this recipe calls for 1 cup. Sometimes, if you have “over-chopped” your beans the mixture will be wet and a little soupy. DON’T PANIC, a 1/2 cup of additional bread crumbs will save your dish.
After mixing ALL INGREDIENTS add your olive oil. This is like the binder or “glue” for your falafels and work well to hold it all together. Following this step you will see the difference when you begin to stir the mixture. Allow your mixture to rest while you get ready for the final steps.
You should be able to form a soft ball with your spoon along the side of your the container/bowl. To get the true texture put about 2 tablespoons in your palm and roll into a ball. If they fall apart add more breadcrumbs, if they hold you are rocking baby!!
Form a round ball
Flatten like a burger or smaller if you wish
STEP FOUR: IT’S TIME TO FRY
Pour oil into a frying pan, about 1 – 1 1/2 inches. I prefer sunflower oil. It tastes better to me and keeps my food from being super greasy and heavy. There are other health benefits to using sunflower vs. other oils that you can check out here.
Heat oil on medium-low and test the grease by dropping in a little bit of the falafel mixture. If it sizzles, it’s ready. I use a slotted spoon to drop the flattened balls into the oil. This method keeps me from “getting popped.” Hot grease burns SUCK.
Fry the falafels about 2 minutes on each side, checking them to ensure they don’t burn. Once the edges are brown flip them over and allow 2 more minutes of cooking time.
Once the falafels are done take them out of the oil and drain them on a paper towel. If you are making a big batch, I would suggest warming your oven and allowing those to hang out in there while you finish. Or just eat them as you make more. That’s what I do. Your sauce is ready by now, so get to dipping!!
As I mentioned, falafels are great in the form of a wrap or burger. I prefer wraps because I am a sucker for HEB’s fresh, soft tortillas. I could eat the whole pack by myself. Making a falafel wrap is simple and allows you to be creative with what goes in it!
Warm your tortillas. I prefer the oven because they get a little crispy and I like that crunch. Once the toritallas are warm and puffy, remove the from the oven and place them on separate pieces of foil to keep warm and to keep the stuff inside from falling out…. now the fun part…assembly.
I like to add fresh avocado (lots of it), fresh roma tomatoes and green lettuce. This part you can do how ever you like, but I put the cucumber sauce at the bottom of the tortillas, added my veggies and top with a falafel or two. I finish it off with a dollop of extra sauce on top.
That’s it! NOW EAT… while everything is still hot! #FalafelFun
- 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 dash pepper
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup dry bread crumbs
- oil for frying
- 2-4 Fresh, warm, soft tortillas (warm at 350 for 4-5 minutes)
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 chopped avocado
- 1/2 cup chopped green leaf lettuce