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Herbed Falafels with Tahini Sauce and Tzatziki

Falafels are incredibly versatile. They can be made into patties, burgers, meatballs, sandwiches, wraps, sliders, added as a ‘condiment’ to bowls and salads, crumbled in tacos, added to soups, included in shakshuka breakfast dishes, and even turned into savory waffles!

Falafels are of course these delightful balls or patties made out of ground cooked chickpeas that are mixed with onions, garlic, warming spices, and fresh herbs, bound by a little flour and /or breadcrumbs.

Ingredients

Scale

If making beet falafel: add 1 kilo/2 lbs golden and red beets

2 x 14.5 oz cans (450 g) organic canned or cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 small Vidalia (sweet) onion, diced small

4 large garlic cloves smashed and peeled

1 tbsp ground coriander seeds

1 tbsp ground cumin seeds

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp advieh (Persian spice mix – you can omit this if you don’t have)

a pinch of red pepper flakes

1/4 cup (40 g) walnuts

heaping 1/2 cup (80 g) panko crumbs

3 heaping tbsp rice flour, all-purpose flour or cornstarch

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup or two large handfuls each of fresh cilantro, parsley, and dill, chopped

salt, pepper to taste

For the Tahini Sauce:

1 cup vegan yogurt (I like Forager or Kite Hill’s Greek Yogurt)

1/2 cup tahini

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 garlic clove, minced

salt, pepper

For the Tzatziki:

1 cup unflavored non-dairy yogurt (I like the Kite Hill Greek yogurt)

1 small English cucumber, grated

23 garlic cloves, minced

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Handful of fresh mint and dill, finely chopped

Salt, pepper to taste

Extra fresh herbs for garnish

Drizzle of olive oil for garnish

Instructions

If using beets:

Roughly cut up the beets and run them through a food processor with the shredding blade. Use box grater if you don’t have a food processor with the necessary blade. Set shredded beets aside in a large bowl.

Continue here for both options:

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add a little olive oil, add onions and garlic with a pinch of kosher or sea salt, and sauce for 4-5 minutes until the onion starts to soften and turn translucent. Add the ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon, smoked paprika, advieh if using and red pepper flakes, and sate for another minute until fragrant.

Transfer the onion mixture into the bowl with the shredded beets (if using), lemon zest, lemon juice, chickpeas, walnuts, and a little salt and pepper and pulse until you get a rough mixture (I don’t like it too smooth as I like a little bit of texture). You might have to do this in two rounds.

Transfer the pulsed mixture to a large bowl and add in the panko, rice flour or cornstarch, baking powder. fresh herbs, salt, and pepper and combine well. You can test a small ball of the falafel dough on a saucepan to see if you’ve seasoned it appropriately.

Using your hands, scoop up some of the mixture and form it into a ball in your hands. The exact amount doesn’t matter, just make sure that all your falafel balls are roughly the same size, so they bake evenly. Place the balls on a tray lined with parchment paper and place in the fridge while you prepare the tahini sauce.

If sauteing the falafels:

Heat a little olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat and fry up 5-6 falafel balls at a time until golden on both sides. Transfer to a sheet tray lined with paper towels to drain some of the oil off. Alternatively, you can place the balls in an oven heated to 200° Fahrenheit (100° Celsius) while you finish the whole batch.

If baking the falafels:

Place the balls on a greased baking sheet, bake in the oven at 350° Fahrenheit (180°Celcius) for about 20-25 minutes, turning the balls halfway through the cooking time.

Serve the falafels with warm pita bread, drizzle with tahini sauce, and a side salad with a little tzatziki.

Tahini Sauce:

Whisk everything together in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Tzatziki:

Place the grated cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with a little kosher salt. Let sit for 10-15 minutes while you prep all the other ingredients.

Meanwhile, add all the other ingredients (minus the garnishes) in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning, you may need to add a little more lemon juice and/or vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper. Squeeze out as much water as you can from the grated cucumbers by placing it in a clean kitchen towel. Gently fold the cucumbers into the yogurt mixture, and taste for seasoning again.

Garnish with fresh herbs, a little drizzle of olive oil, and a couple of lemon wedges.