Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Baked Falafels With Lemon Tahini Sauce
On A Salad Or In A Pita
An Excellent Source Of Protein

Falafel sandwiches in pita bread make a great lunch!

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Garbanzo Beans as a Protein Source
I love garbanzos. Besides being a versatile bean that can be used in many different dishes, they contain an excellent source of complete protein which means they provide all the essential amino acids in the proper proportions. They are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, folate, and manganese.

Baked Falafel
I love a good falafel but most of them served in restaurants are fried. This recipe uses a small amount of oil and bakes them in the oven. Stuff a few of them in pita bread with chopped lettuce, cucumber, avocado and tomato. Top with some lemon-tahini sauce and you have a great lunch. Or for a lighter gluten-free meal, serve baked falafels on top of salad tossed with lemon-tahini sauce.

For a gluten-free meal, skip the pita and serve on top of salad.

Start with Dried Garbanzo Beans
Did you know that you can make falafels from dried garbanzo beans? Most cooked beans are packed in cans that are lined with BSP (bisphenol) so using dried beans, especially when they are organic, is a healthier way to go. And since you only have to soak and not cook the beans in this recipe, it's not much of a bother.

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Baked Falafels with Lemon Tahini Sauce
Vegan, Gluten Free
[makes 20 (2 inch x 1/2 inch) falafels and 1/2 cup tahini sauce, about 4 to 6 servings]
Requires a food processor, such as a Cusinart

Start soaking the beans the night before.

For the falafels
1 cup dried garbanzo beans
Water to soak beans
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon dried cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup fresh parsley
1 cup chopped onion
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the tahini sauce
1/4 cup tahini (I use raw tahini)
1 clove pressed garlic
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pick through the garbanzo beans and discard any clumps of dirt or rocks. Rinse under cold water. Place in a 1 or 2 quart bowl and cover with several inches of water. Soak overnight.

With the food processor running (I really like the 11-cup Cuisinart), place the garlic through the shoot and process until all the garlic is chopped. 

Rinse the garbanzo beans and place in the food processor along with the cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, black pepper, baking powder and parsley. Pulse until the garbanzos are coarsely chopped. Add the onions and pulse until everything is minced. Scrape down the sides when necessary. Do not over process. The resulting mixture should look like this:

Pulse until the mixture is minced, NOT pureed. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Lightly grease a cooking sheet or shallow baking pan. I like to use Silpat non-stick baking mats. These allow me to bake the falafels with the least amount of oil.

Form small balls of the mixture and pat them into 2 inch by 1/2 inch patties. Place on the prepared baking pan. Take a tablespoon of olive oil and using your finger or a brush, rub a little oil over each falafel. 

Bake until golden, about 15 minutes on each side. Remove from the oven.

Make the tahini sauce. Place the tahini in a small bowl with the pressed garlic and lemon juice. Stir until it is a smooth paste. Stir in the water until it reaches the desired consistency. Add the salt to taste and set aside.

Serve the falafels in pita bread with small diced cucumbers, avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes drizzled with the tahini sauce. 

Or place a few falafels over a salad that has been tossed in a thinner tahini sauce (add some more water) with a bit more tahini sauce drizzled over the falafels. 

Per falafel: 48 calories, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 16 mg omega-3 and 335 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, and 101 mg sodium.

Per serving of tahini sauce (about 1 1/3 teaspoons): 18 calories, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 11 mg omega-3 and 620 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g protein, 1 g carbohydrate, 0 g dietary fiber, and 60 mg sodium.

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