Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Falafel Pitas with Tomato Cucumber Salad

I do absolutely love Middle Eastern food.  I do love a good falafel, but sometimes good ones are hard to find.  In the Greek/Lebanese restaurants many times they are very dry.  I've tried making them at home once before, but that was a disaster and they completely fell apart while cooking.  So when I saw this recipe in Fine Cooking, I wanted to try again.  Another bonus to this recipe is that it is sauteed rather than deep fried, making it a healthier option.  

My littlest (and pickiest) baby girl helped me in the kitchen.  "Baby girl" is perhaps misleading - she is 15.  We had fun cooking together.  The bonus?  She announced (after eating two pitas) that this was the best vegan meal she had ever had.  Whoo hoo!  

Here's the original recipe from the website, but I doubled the recipe and those are the amounts given below.  I did not double the amount of oil in the recipe, though.   

***NOTE*** Since I used chickpeas that I had cooked and frozen (I do this with all my beans), I just thawed them and rinsed them off.  HOWEVER, the next time I cook chickpeas, I am going to slightly undercook some for falafel, as I think this would work a little better.  My mixture was a little wet and I needed to add about 1/4 cup more breadcrumbs.  

2-15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained or the equivalent of cooked, dried chickpeas 
7 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 medium onions, finely diced
1 cup plain fine dry breadcrumbs (or more if needed)
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (or an equivalent amount of diced Roma tomatoes)
1 large cucumber, seeds removed, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/4" thick
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
8 pitas, warmed

Heat the oven to 425°F.  In a food processor, pulse chickpeas, 2 tbsp of the olive oil, cumin, coriander, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper into a chunky paste.  Add the onion and breadcrumbs and pulse until it starts to come together and you can form the mixture easily into a patty.  Add more breadcrumbs if you need to.  Form the mixture into 1/2" thick patties.  I used my large Pampered Chef scoop and it made 15 patties.  The scoop made quick work of this.  

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the patties, taking care not to overcrowd the pan, and cook until nicely browned, about 2 minutes.  Flip and cook the other side until browned, about 2 minutes more.  Transfer patties to a baking sheet.  Repeat with 2 tbsp more of oil (if needed) in the pan and brown the remaining patties.  Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until patties are heated through, about 5 minutes.  (I wrapped my pita rounds tightly in foil and put them in the oven a few minutes before I added the patties.)  

Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes and cucumber with the lemon juice and 1 tbsp of oil and lemon juice; salt to taste.  

Split the warmed pitas and stuff with falafel and tomato-cucumber salad.  


  1. Ginger,
    Ginger, Ginger. We Love You!!!

  2. Cool blog, Ginger! And these Falafel Pitas look delish! I'm enjoying my visit and looking forward to coming back. Please let me know, via MFP, when you add new posts, okay?

    If you'd like, you can visit me at:

    Oh, and this is UrbanMasala from MFP. ;-)

  3. I found your blob on MFP and I am going to try this recipe. Thank you!