Mediterranean Week begins: Baked Falafel in Pita Pockets

This week, Sam and I are cooking Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. We have stocked our pantry and fridge with eggplant, grape tomatoes, chickpeas, yogurt, dill, and feta, and plan to use these things for all of our meals this week, with meals building off of one another. I kicked things off on Sunday night with baked falafel that I stuffed in freshly baked whole wheat pita, and garnished with a simple mix of pickles and cabbage, hummusbaba ganoush, and tzatziki, all homemade. We’ll be having leftovers tonight!

Baked Falafel

Falafel is traditionally deep fried, but I chose to bake these as a healthier alternative. I stuffed them in freshly made warm whole wheat pita, and garnished them with a simple pickle salad made from chopped pickles, chopped peperoncino, red cabbage, and diced red onion. Top with your choice of hummus, baba ghaboush, or tzatziki.

healthy falafelINGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups of cooked chickpeas, drained (I used canned, but if you have the forethought to cook soak and cook the dried beans, it’s probably the superior alternative.)
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground coriander
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Ground Cayenne or chili to taste (I actually used about 1/4 teaspoon of a crushed, dried bhot jolokia, or ghost pepper, and they were quite spicy.)
  • Salt to taste
  • about 1/4 cup of flour or bulgar

Preheat the oven to 375. Add chickpeas, garlic, onion, cilantro, cumin, coriander and lemon juice to a food processor, and pulse until mixture comes together, but is not pureed. Add salt and chili to taste. Add flour or bulgar, one tablespoon at a time, until mixture is a consistency that allows small balls or patties to be formed. Form into small balls/ patties, and place on a lightly oiled baking pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until lightly browned on each side, flipping halfway through.

Serve in pita with your favorite toppings.