I can’t remember the last time I had Falafel – college maybe? It seems there is always some wonderful place near a college in every city I’ve lived in…but who wants to take a drive just to have the experience? Surprisingly easy to make at home, you can customize them just the way you’d like.
The key to this dish is planning ahead…maybe on a weekend, start the process – then, even on a busy weeknight, your falafel will be ready to pull out of the fridge and cook; dinner can be on the table in a jiffy. Let everyone garnish as they like, wrap the sandwiches street vendor style in foil or parchment – and take them to the yard, the deck, the beach. I swear they taste even better outside!
As far as prep: You’ll want your tomatoes and avocados perfectly ripe. For your Tzatziki sauce (cucumber yogurt – which is basically the same as Cacik), you’ll want to use a Greek yogurt or strain your regular yogurt overnight.
The falafel themselves will take some planning, too. If you’d like to use dried beans, they’ll need to be soaked overnight and cooked for at least an hour – canned beans are much quicker and won’t break the bank. Either way, after a quick whirl in the food processor, the falafel dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes before cooking – it helps to hold them together.
If you’re interested in making your own flat bread or pita, and depending on where you live, you’ll save a lot of dough. (Ooops, sorry, couldn’t help myself!) Flat bread is super easy, and costs well under a dollar to make – pita uses the same dough, but the cooking process is a little tedious. Pita is a bit more of a process.
If I buy either in my grocery store, it’s not nearly as fresh and runs about $4.99 for a package of 6 to 8. Some lucky people live near markets or restaurants where they can pick up either flat bread or pita for a song…
A red slaw would be rather wonderful with the falafel, and with money left in the budget, an easy, healthy, colorful salad would be just the ticket…this Red Cabbage Slaw has a Mexican flair, but can easily be changed up – substitute lemon for the lime, leave in the cumin and eliminate the jalapeno and radish.
- 2 1/4 cups cooked chick peas
- 3 green onions, or half a small onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
- 1 egg
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 cup flour, plus another 1/2 cup for shaping Falafel
- Vegetable Oil for frying
- Flat Bread or Pita Bread
- Garnish of your choice – I chose Cucumber Yogurt Sauce, Red Onion, Avocado and Tomato.
In a food processor, combine chick peas, onion, garlic, cumin, cayenne, parsley, egg, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Pulse to combine. The mixture won’t be perfectly smooth, but shouldn’t have large chunks..
Add in the flour and baking powder and pulse to combine. Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes.
Add enough oil to a large saute pan to reach 1/2 inch up the sides and heat over a medium high heat until it reaches 360 degrees.
Meanwhile, drop spoonfuls (a one tablespoon measuring scoop with a sweep works well) of the chick pea mixture onto a plate with remaining flour. Roll into balls and press gently into patties. Fry in batches 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.
Assemble your sandwiches using Flat Bread (or Pita.) Placing the cucumber yogurt sauce on the bottom helps to hold everything in place. Add tomato, avocado and red onion.
from the kitchen of www.frugalhausfrau.com
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
- Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
- Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
- Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
- Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
Tzatziki: Just another name variation for Cucumber Yogurt Sauce: Cazik. I checked my pricing from last time I made it and it’s pretty much the same; cost about 50 cents.
Put Your own Spin on it:
- Falafel are super versatile – you can vary the flavor a bit to fit your taste – some find the heavy spice overwhelming, so cut back if you’d like, or add more spice if you’d like
- Garnish how ever you’d like: lettuce, onion, tomato, cole slaw, peppers – it’s all up to you.
- I love the cucumber yogurt sauce – but why not try hummus, tahini, or a dressing instead?