Have you ever tried falafels? I feel like they’re under-rated when it comes to healthy, vegetarian meal options. They taste like they should be bad for you, but they’re not (except if deep-fried).
Falafels are basically little patties made from chick peas, herbs & spices. They’re perfect for dinner or as lunch lefties with a salad or raw chopped veggies. You can buy the Blue Menu frozen falafels or Veggie Patch falafels if you’re in a pinch, but it’s always better to make homemade if possible. I made some on Sunday with a super easy tzatziki recipe, and they didn’t disappoint.
Before I share the recipe, here’s 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), iron and zinc (good for a healthy immune system)
-Are high in fiber & protein and low in fat & calories
-Eating vegetarian 1-2 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
Easy Falafels with Tzatziki
1 can chick peas (drain & rinse)
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped cilantro (optional)
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 2% or Greek yogurt (organic or Canadian dairy)
1 dill pickle diced
½ cup diced cucumber
Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F
Chop herbs & onion, and drain & rinse chick peas (reserve ¼ cup whole peas in separate bowl)
In your food processor, combine chick peas, herbs, onion, minced garlic & 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 & pepper until mixture is combined.
Using a baking sheet (line with Silpat), scoop out 1 heaping tbsp of the mixture, and form into 1” thick patties
Bake for 25-30 minutes (the bigger the patties, the longer the cook time). Let cool for 10 minutes (will continue to cook).
Heat 1 tbsp grapeseed oil, and cook for 5 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 & pepper.