The first meatless Monday in our home!

And the toddler ate well!
When I first met Matt, I was still largely a vegetarian.  I enjoyed my vegetables and had a faint hope that I’d find someone with the same tastes to share my life.  This was not the case.  While Matt politely ate my parent’s meals whenever we were together, he informed me that he never wanted to see sprouts or tofu in our home.  So then, I actually had to learn how to cook food beyond steaming broccoli and brown rice.  Anyway, this Thanksgiving marks 7 years of love and many, many extra pounds.  There are days when I wish I could have my vegetarian body back… but then, I’d also be 22 years old so… 
 Anyway, I’ve been craving good, homemade falafel for a long time, but it’s a lot of work (I thought) and I didn’t have a recipe that was reliable.  A few weeks ago though, I saw a post on a friend’s Facebook page about how she had made falafel and I decided that despite Matt’s aversion to meatless foods, I’d make it.  I used the base recipe from Feeding the Whole Family and then did what I remembered from when I had made it at home.  The only complaint that I had about this recipe is that it didn’t make enough for me to have leftovers.  Matt ate and enjoyed it and Liam even ate it pretty well.  The chickpeas were sweet and there was just the right amount of seasoning.  I made pitas to go with this and I’ll be sharing the recipe tomorrow!
  • 3/4 cup dry chickpeas
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 small onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. dried cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup. whole wheat flour
In a medium sized pan, place the dry beans and cover with water.  Soak them 10-12 hours.  Drain the chickpeas and cover with water up to 1 inch over the top of the bean.  Sprinkle in about 1 tsp salt.  Bring the water to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Then reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the beans to cook until they are fork tender, 30-45 minutes.  When the beans are done, drain and rinse them.  Set them aside to cool.

Place the onion and garlic in a food processor and chop.  You can leave them in a rough chop or almost puree them.  I chose to almost puree mine so that the texture would be smooth.  Then, add in the beans and puree.  You may need to stream in some water so that the puree doesn’t become too thick and you can blend it easily.  (Once the texture is what you want, add in the spices and flour.  The original recipe does not call for flour, but I recall my parents using cooked millet in their recipe to give it some body and help it stick together.  I was very pleased with the texture of the falafels.)

In a large skillet, heat a few Tablespoons of oil so that when you sprinkle a bit of flour in, it sizzles.  Drop your falafel mixture into the oil in the shapes you’d like.  My father used to form his into rounds or patties.  I just scooped a full spoon’s worth and flattened it out once it was in the pan.  Cook until golden brown on each side.  Serve in pita with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, hummus and plain yogurt.  I like to put a thin schmere of mayo on one side of the pita and then load it up with hummus and veggies.  Yum. 

I’m posting this recipe as part of Sweet Peas and Pumpkin’s Meatless Monday Challenge!

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