Homemade Falafel with Tahini and Tzatziki

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Every so often we get burned out on our standard rotation of pasta, salmon, chicken, and salads and get inspired to look for something new. Carinn was in the mood for something Mediterranean which reminded Elliott of his college days on the Ave. ordering falafel sandwiches from Aladdin’s at 2 a.m. These things were on a totally different planet than the dried-out, bland patties that were served at the cafeteria. Each falafel had a hot, crispy exterior and a steamy, aromatic center, all stuffed inside a fresh pita with tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and the garliciest tzatziki this side of the Euphrates. After an hour of research on the internet and YouTube, we set off to recreate this somewhat hazy, but scrumptious memory.

Ingredients:
2 cups dried garbanzo beans (soaked overnight or for at least 7 hours)
1 small onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 /4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder

In a food processor, add the first 10 ingredients and pulse until roughly blended but still chunky. Sprinkle the flour and baking powder over the mixture and pulse until evenly combined but still a bit course. Using a small scoop or spoon, mold the falafel into walnut sized balls. We prefer to make ours slightly oblong. Set on a pan and refrigerate for at least an hour. In a dutch oven, heat a few inches of oil to 350˚ (we used grape seed). Fry the falafel in small batches until golden, about 6 minutes apiece. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.

Tzatziki Sauce:
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 garlic clove, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh mint
Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice the cucumber and add to a colander. Add a 1/2 tbsp. of salt and let stand for 30 minutes to release some of their liquid. Quickly rinse and let drip dry for a couple of minutes more. In a food processor add the cucumber, garlic, and herbs and pulse until finely chopped. Add in the yogurt and lemon juice and blend until combined. Salt and pepper, to taste.

Spray a pan with some olive oil and warm the pitas until heated though. Fill them with a bit of tahini, the falafel, some tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, and topped with the tzatziki. We recommend bringing some extra tzatziki to the table to spoon onto each bite.

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