Today’s post begins with a bit of a backstory (so if you just want the recipe, skip ahead).
Still with me? Let’s go back about 29 years, or so, when my mom and dad were first married. Although you wouldn’t believe it now, my Mom didn’t know the first thing about cooking back then (in fact, she tells a funny story about calling my grandmother to help her open a can of beans). Luckily, they ended up living next to a Lebanese family who cooked the most amazing meals and, over the next eight years, the wife taught my Mother how to make all kinds of delicious food. Because of this, I grew up eating stuffed grape leaves, hummus, falafel, baklava and tzatziki and, in fact, the very first meal I cooked for Stephen was Lebanese. It’s the food I associate with “home” and it’s my fail-safe for creating a meal that is both impressive and simple.
Until a year ago I had been too scared to make my own falafel but, thankfully, I decided to venture outside my comfort zone and ended up with this recipe! They are delicious on their own, dipped in hummus or tzatziki, and even more so when wrapped up in a warm pita.
To switch things up a bit, I made two different kinds of hummus; a classic garlic hummus and a beet hummus topped with goat cheese. I’m always a fan of options and the two types of hummus plus tzatziki means a lot more dipping possibilities!
This is a meal your whole family will love, it’s; colorful, healthy, satisfying and delicious!
- 2 cups diced onion
- 2 cups cooked and drained chickpeas (I used one 15.5 oz. can)
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 cup packed cilantro
- 1 cup packed parsley
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ C. all purpose flour
- Pita bread (for serving)
- ½ Cup Sesame Seeds
- 2 cans chickpeas
- ¼ cup tahini
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. cumin
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Beet Hummus:
- 1 medium-sized beet (cooked and peeled)
- ¼ cup heavy coconut cream (skimmed from the top of the can)
- ½ TBS. yellow curry
- 2 cups plain greek yogurt (or Lebnah, if you can find it)
- 2 tbs. fresh mint (roll the bunch together and cut into thin strips)
- ½ cucumber de-seeded and diced (the seeds make it runny)
- 1 tsp. honey
- To serve:
- 1 tomato thinly sliced
- Goat Cheese
- ½ cucumber sliced into spears
- In a food processor, add all of the ingredients for the falafel except the flour and sesame seeds and pulse together until combined (a chunkier texture is preferred). Slowly add the flour, and continue to pulse together until it becomes "dough-like" (if your mixture is too loose, continue to add flour 1 TBS. at a time until it thickens). Once ready, prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment and preheat the oven to 350. Use a cookie scoop (I used one that has a release mechanism) to place the falafel on the baking sheet (3 across and 4 down depending on the size of your sheet, they shouldn't be crowded). Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
- In a small pot, heat the chickpeas (don't drain the liquid) for about 5-10 minutes over a medium-high heat. Place in a food processor and add the tahini, salt, paprika, cumin, lemon juice, and garlic and pulse until smooth. Remove about half of the mixture and set aside.
- To the remaining mixture, add the beet, curry, and coconut cream. Pulse to combine. The hummus will need additional salt (because of the high water content of the beet) so adjust as you see fit. Top with goat cheese and serve.
- For the tzatziki, simply combine the yogurt, mint, cucumber and honey.
- To serve, warm pitas in the microwave (I like to place them in between two damp paper towels) and layer with as many toppings as you like!