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Monday, June 6, 2011

Craving Falafel

Yesterday, I was really in the mood for some falafel.  My sister-in-law, Angelina, was in from NYC for a visit for the weekend, and she's also a vegan.  I decided to make some Mediterranean quinoa and top it with some falafel sticks, and it was quite yummy.  I happened to have some frozen falafel sticks on hand in my freezer, but here's a recipe for homemade ones, along with the quinoa recipe.  I'm also a huge fan of using falafel in place of meatballs when I make spaghetti.  Just add falafel balls in place of meatballs in your favorite marinara sauce and serve with spaghetti or spaghetti squash.

Falafel

1 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Chickpea flour or all-purpose flour, for dredging
Olive oil for frying

In a food processor, combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, parsley, oats, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and process to combine.  Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Form the mixture into small balls, about 2 inches in diameter.  If mixture is not firm enough, add up to 1/4 cup of garbanzo or all-purpose flour, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.  Flatten the balls into patties and dredge them in flour.

In a large skillet, heat a thin layer of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the falafel and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes total.

Alternatively, for a baked method of cooking, place patties in a smaller amount of oil in an oven-proof skillet, brown for about 3 minutes on each side, and then transfer skillet to a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 large onion, diced
1 large orange or red pepper, diced
1/2 cup chopped kalamata or black olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

Bring the broth and garlic to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.

Gently stir the onion, bell pepper, olives, parsley, chives, and salt into the quinoa. Drizzle with the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Stir until evenly mixed. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.

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