Falafels with Tahini, Yogurt Sauce, and Sweet Pickled Beets

Falafels with Tahini, Yogurt Sauce, and Sweet Pickled Beets

This dish is aimed toward older kids. For a gluten-free version, replace pitas with a bed of quinoa. You can buy pickled beets, but choose ones without artificial colours or preservatives added. You can also buy tahini sauce or make your own, along with the yogurt sauce and pickled beets in advance. The beets will taste even better after several days of marinating.

Falafels

1 cup (250 mL) uncooked dried chickpeas, or 3 1/2 cups (850 mL) cooked
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
3 garlic cloves
1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp (45 mL) fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 mL) packed fresh cilantro
1/4 cup (60 mL) packed fresh parsley
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground coriander
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt
1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground flaxseeds
1/4 cup (60 mL) chickpea or all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

Soak dried chickpeas for 8 hours or overnight in 4 cups (1 L) water. Drain and transfer to large saucepan with baking soda. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, then add 7 cups (1.75 L) water and bring to a boil. Skim the scum that rises to the surface. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer until just tender, about 25 to 50 minutes, depending on freshness of chickpeas. Drain.

In food processor, pulse drained chickpeas, garlic, onion, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt until combined. Transfer to large bowl and stir in flaxseeds and flour. Cover mixture and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Shape mixture into 20 balls and brush with olive oil. Place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate balls and bake for 10 minutes more. Rotate balls once more and cook another 10 minutes, for 30 minutes baking time in total. Balls will firm as they cool.

Tahini Sauce

1/4 cup (60 mL) tahini or sunflower butter
3 Tbsp (45 mL) water
2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
Pinch of salt

Combine all tahini sauce ingredients in small container or bowl. Stir or shake to mix. Refrigerate until needed.

Yogurt Sauce

1 cup (250 mL) Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
Stir lemon juice into yogurt in small container or bowl. Refrigerate until needed.

Sweet Pickled Beets

4 medium beets
1/2 cup (125 mL) distilled natural white vinegar
1/4 cup (60 mL) water
3 Tbsp (45 mL) honey
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) cumin seeds
1 whole clove or 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cloves

Trim beets and place in pot of water so they’re completely submerged. Bring pot to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain. When cool enough to handle, slip off skins. Halve beets and chop into 1/4 in (0.5 cm) slices.

In large pot, combine vinegar, water, honey, salt, cumin seeds, and clove. Bring to a boil to dissolve salt, then remove from heat and add beets. Let cool completely, then transfer to non-plastic container to refrigerate.

The beets may be eaten immediately, but they improve after absorbing the sweet vinegar marinade overnight. They will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

To assemble the falafels, you’ll need

8 organic whole wheat pitas
Optional garnishes: parsley, lettuce, sliced cucumber, and tomatoes

Spread 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of tahini in pita. Add 2 falafel balls, 2 Tbsp (30 mL) yogurt sauce, and 1/4 cup (60 mL) sweet pickled beets (without brine). Add chopped parsley, lettuce, tomatoes, or cucumber if desired.

Makes 8 pitas.

Each serving contains: 296 calories; 13 g protein; 9 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 45 g total carbohydrates (10 g sugars, 8 g fibre); 639 g sodium

source: “Build a Better Lunch“, alive #383, September 2014

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