Go Meatless Tonight with Falafels

Go Meatless Tonight!

Have you ever tried falafels? I feel like they’re underrated when it comes to healthy, vegetarian meal options. I love them. They taste like they should be bad for you, but they’re not (except if deep-fried).

They’re basically little patties made from chick peas, herbs and spices. They’re perfect for dinner or as lunch lefties with a salad or raw chopped veggies. You can buy Blue Menu frozen falafels, which are ok if you’re in a pinch, but it’s always better to go homemade if possible. I made some on Sunday with a super easy Tzatziki, and they didn’t disappoint.

Before I share the recipe, here are a few health benefits of falafels:

  • Chick peas are a great source of folic acid (prevents birth defects, good for healthy sperm, can reduce risk of stroke, and can be a natural anti-depressant), zinc (good for a healthy immune system), fiber and protein. They are also low in fat and calories.
  • Eating vegetarian one to two times per week is really good for you; meat is difficult to digest, can be inflammatory and fatty meat is high in saturated fat. Bottom line: Eating vegetarian meals is easier on your body.

Homemade Falafels with Tzatziki

Ingredients
1 can chick peas (drain and rinse)
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ red onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
3 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Ingredients for Tzatziki
1 cup plain full-fat yogurt (organic or Canadian dairy)
1 dill pickle diced
½ cup diced cucumber
Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 350 F

Chop herbs and onion, and drain and rinse chick peas (reserve ¼ cup whole peas in separate bowl)

In your food processor, combine chick peas, herbs, onion, minced garlic and lemon juice. Pulse a few times until just combined; you want to maintain texture; not turn it into hummus.

In the separate bowl with remaining chick peas, add mixture from the food processor. Stir in cumin, red pepper flakes, flaxseed and salt and pepper until mixture is combined.

Using a baking sheet (line with Silpat), scoop out one heaping tbsp of the mixture, and form into one-inch- thick patties

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (the bigger the patties, the longer the cooking time). Let cool for 10 minutes (will continue to cook).

Pan-fry Method:

Heat one tbsp grapeseed oil, and cook for five minutes on each side

Serve with a salad and Tzatziki*

*Whip up your own homemade Tzatziki:
Combine 1 cup of plain 2% or Greek yogurt with diced dill pickle and cucumber. Stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper.

 

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