I was so excited when fellow food blogger and insta-friend, Ksenia from the lovely blog At The Immigrant’s Table, asked me to review her new e-book, Middle Eastern Small Plates, which was released April 15th. Not only did I get a sneak peak at the beautiful cookbook, which is full delicious vegetarian finger foods, but I was also able to pick one of the delicious recipes to share with you here! (Check the end of the post for a discount code!!)
Being from the pacific islands, I grew up with mostly Asian and tropical inspired dishes. I am embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t made nor eaten many European, Middle Eastern, or Indian inspired foods until just recently, but now I can’t get enough! Needless to say, I loved browsing through Ksenia’s cookbook and had a hard time picking just one recipe to make!
I decided I’d make her Baked Green Falafel recipe, because although I’ve never had falafel before, it’s one of the things I’ve been wanting to try for a while now. Falafel is traditionally deep fried, but I liked that this recipe is baked, making it a much healthier option.
Ksenia says the key to good falafel is to use raw, soaked chickpeas. Just be sure to soak them for several hours (overnight is best) in which the chickpeas will absorb the water and double in size. Strain well before blending to avoid an overly wet mixture.
I made homemade pita bread (link in recipe below) which was much easier than I had expected! It was also VERY delicious, so much more than store-bought bread, but what else is new 😉
You can eat the falafel alone with some tahini drizzled on top or you can make a yummy pita bread sandwich! I obviously opted for the latter, which I am convinced is the most delicious choice!
You can fold the pita like a taco or slice in half to create a pita pocket. Either way, just stuff with the falafel, fresh veggies and don’t forget to drizzle some tahini or the creamy cucumber dill sauce I added below!
- Pita Bread Sandwiches:
- pita bread or gluten-free flat bread wraps (I used this whole wheat recipe from As Easy As Apple Pie)
- baked green falafel
- lettuce or spinach leaves
- thinly sliced tomatoes
- thinly sliced English cucumber
- thinly sliced red onion, optional
- cucumber dill sauce (recipe below) or tahini to drizzle
- 1 cup uncooked, dried chickpeas, soaked in purified water overnight and drained
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 medium onion
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small bunch cilantro, rinsed and dried
- 1 small bunch parsley, rinsed and dried
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch of ground coriander
- pinch of black pepper
- ½ cup mayonnaise or plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt (vegan mayo works well!)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup finely shredded cucumber, liquid strained
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-2 teaspoons honey, to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons dried dill, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Place drained, pre-soaked chickpeas, along with remaining ingredients, into a food processor and blend until mixture is well combined and chickpeas are finely ground. Shape into balls. Mine used about 2-3 tablespoons worth of mixture each. (Ksenia recommends refrigerating the raw falafel for two hours, but because of time I immediately baked them and they seemed to be fine. If you have the time though go ahead and refrigerate.)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place falafel onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, flatten slightly, and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Flip and bake 5-10 minutes longer, until lightly brown.
- Into a small bowl, combine mayo, cilantro, strained cucumber, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of dill. Mix until well combined. Taste and add additional honey and dill, if needed, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate until needed. Can also be made ahead.
- You can slice your pita in half to make a pocket or fold the pita like a taco. I made fresh pita bread, but if you're using store bought, you can warm the pita in a 350ºF oven for 5 or so minutes.
- Place a few lettuce leaves, 2-3 falafel balls, some cucumber, red onion, and tomato slices into each pocket and drizzle with cucumber dill sauce. Serve immediately.
Ksenia is offering to give away a copy of her e-book to one of you! Just leave a comment below stating what your favorite way to eat falafel is! ****GIVEAWAY CLOSED**** Congrats to Leigh-Ann for winning a copy of Middle Eastern Small Plates!
She’s also offering to give 15% off to any Wifemamafoodie readers interested in purchasing her e-book! Just use the code #WIFEMAMAFOODIENLOVE at checkout. Learn more about Ksenia’s e-book by clicking here.