Lentil Falafel for the Holidays?

LENTIL FALAFEL HAS OUR HEART

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new and interesting ways to please my small crowd and I to date, this is our families favorite recipe. Plant-based savory comfort food at its best. I had the pleasure of receiving the base recipe for Lentil Falafel from my friend Sharon Matz, who learned it from her mother. I never imagined this would be a recipe that I would make time and again because it seemed too labor intensive.  But I have to tell you, it really isn’t a lot of work and the tahini dressing can be made ahead and the salad can be prepared while the falafel are frying. We have brought this into our monthly dinner menu rotation, sometimes twice per month. It is a meal that the whole family can get involved with, making patties, heating pita on the stove, drizzling the Tahini, chopping vegetables.

This is my variation on Sharon’s recipe with just a few minor changes. I  use more parsley and I use coconut oil to fry. For gluten free options, replace wheat bread crumbs with Gluten free version which can be found at your local health food store or made from stale or toasted gluten free bread in the food processor.

About The Main Ingredient

Falafel are traditionally made with either fava beans or chick peas, but I have found that lentils are a perfect replacement for a lighter version of this traditional Jewish/Israeli comfort food.

Lentils are naturally high in fiber and a great source of complex carbohydrate.  The reason I use lentils versus the traditional chick pea, is purely because my body digests these legumes more efficiently than chick peas. I have naturally chosen lentils as my legume of choice across the board. Can’t do beans? Try using raw, shredded sweet potatoes in place of lentils.  Let me know your favorite falafel ingredients, maybe we can have a party!?


FALAFEL


INGREDIENTS

1 cup green or brown lentils, soaked for at least 2 hours or over night.  

1 medium white onion, chopped

1-2 handfuls parsley leaves

½ - 1 teaspoon sea salt, start with less and add more  after testing the batter

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Breadcrumbs, I like Ian’s Gluten Free Bread Crumbs

Pita bread

Oil for frying, I like using coconut oil

Pickles, for garnish

Prepare

Place lentils and onion in food processor.  Blend until mushy but do not liquify, should be lumpy, some lentils can remain whole. Add parsley, salt, pepper and cumin. Place batter into bowl and add breadcrumbs or matzo meal to bulk it up, about ¼ cup should do. Make flat patties with batter.  Fry in oil, until nicely brown.


SALAD


INGREDIENTS

1-2 ripe tomatoes, chopped

¼  red onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon parsley leaves, finely chopped

Pinch of salt

Juice from ½ lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

PREPARE

Add ingredients to a small serving bowl, toss with lemon juice and olive oil


TAHINI DRESSING


INGREDIENTS

⅓  cup tahini

⅓  cup water

¼  cup lemon juice.

2 garlic cloves, chopped.

½  teaspoon salt

10 parsley leaves

PREPARE

Add all ingredients, except water to a food processor, while everything is processing, begin drizzling in water until you have the perfect consistency.


ASSEMBLING YOUR FALAFEL


Take a slice of pita and warm it directly on the stove burner, making sure not to burn it.  You can cut off the top and stuff your pita or just place the salad and falafel directly on top, drizzle with tahini, fold and eat.