Zucchini and Chickpea Falafel with Lemon Tahini Sauce

When falafel is good, it is sooooo good. And when it's bad, it's like eating dry crunchy balls of spiced sand. And the toppings - you've got to have the toppings! Tahini sauce, tzatziki, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce - so many amazing textures all tucked into one convenient little pita pocket. Falafel is a treat for me - I don't usually eat deep fried food, so when I do, I want it to be stellar. And since we have yet to find a good falafel spot near our new home, I thought I'd try my hand at making it at home. I came across this zucchini and chickpea falafel from Snixy Kitchen and was intrigued - zucchini? In my falafel? But yes! Not only does it add great nutritional value to the falafel, it keeps them moist and prevents them from drying out in the oven. Yes, oven - these are quickly pan-fried to get a crisp outer crust, then baked the rest of the way in the oven. Once you've gathered your garnishes and pickles, all that's left to do is tuck everything into your pita and go to town! The Mr. loved these - really loved them. It's kind of fun to eat homemade take-out - it's nice to see what went into your food, plus you know you'll get to eat it while it's still hot instead of sweating away inside a styrofoam box. Fresh, healthy falafel at home - major win. 

 

A word to the wise - these are a little bit spicy. The Mr. and I like spice/heat, so we felt the heat level was perfect, but if you like things a bit less spicy, cut down on the cayenne.

Zucchini and Chickpea Falafel with Lemon Tahini Sauce

adapted from Snixy Kitchen

Serves 6

Ingredients:

Falafel:

  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup canned no-salt-added garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 8 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • olive oil spray (I used my Misto)
  • 2 1/2 whole wheat pitas, warmed
  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped lettuce
  • chopped dill pickles
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • tzatziki
Tahini sauce:
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Instructions:
  1. For the falafel: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Squeeze the shredded zucchini in a few paper towels or a clean dish towel and try to get out some of the excess water/moisture. Transfer to a bowl, and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, salt, cayenne, cumin, and paprika. Pulse until you have a slightly chunky paste. 
  3. Transfer the bean mixture to the bowl with the zucchini. Add the lemon juice, egg, baking powder, flour, and bread crumbs, and mix with a spatula (or your hands) until combined. 
  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Spray liberally with olive oil. 
  5. Form the bean/zucchini mixture into 24 small patties (about 2 Tbsp each). Add to the hot pan and fry, in batches, about 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer the browned patties to a large baking dish (you may need more than one) and bake until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes, flipping once. 
  6. Meanwhile, make the tahini sauce. In a small blender combine the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, water, and salt, and blend until smooth. Add more water if needed to get desired consistency. 
  7. Assemble the falafel: Cut each pita in half, and stuff each half with 4 patties. Drizzle with tzatziki and tahini sauce, and stuff with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and pickles. Serve immediately.

 Look at that tzatziki and tahini sauce - all drippy and creamy and tangy - good stuff. And the pickles, tomatoes, spiced falafel - you've got to try this.

Comments

Having failed miserably at making falafel once, I want to try this version, love the fact that it gets baked after the initial frying. Seems perfect to me, and nothing wrong with some zucchini either ;-)

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