Falafel with Tzatziki

I love Greek food, and I have tried many times to make falafel just to end up with a mushy mess that falls apart while cooking.  But not today.  The trick is to start with dried chickpeas.  I always assumed that these would be hard to find, but I got mine at Walmart for about a dollar.  Definitely had to stock up!  All you have to do is soak these overnight in a bowl of water, and when you’re getting ready to make dinner, just drain and dry them well.  Oh man, these turned out absolutely amazing!  Plus they’re vegetarian, full of protein, and totally healthy.  Adding this to my Greek repertoire!

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Tzatziki

-1/3 c mayonnaise

-1 clove garlic, grated

-1 Tbsp lemon juice

-1 small cucumber

-salt and pepper

Peel, seed, and grate the cucumber.  Then combine all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper.  You can definitely substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise if you don’t need it to be dairy free–either works great!

Falafel

-1 lb dry chickpeas, soaked overnight

-1/2 yellow onion, chopped

-1/3 c parsley

-4 cloves of garlic

-2 to 3 Tbsp olive oil

-1 Tbsp flour (gluten free if needed)

-1 Tbsp ground flax*

-2 tsp baking soda

-1 tsp salt

-2 tsp cumin

-1 tsp coriander

-1 tsp red pepper flakes

-black and cayenne pepper to taste

-red onion, tomatoes, lettuce, tzatziki and pita (or gluten free tortillas) to serve

Combine all ingredients except for the chickpeas in a food processor and blend until you have a smooth paste.  Next add the chickpeas and blend until you have a mixture that’s almost smooth, but still has a bit of texture.  You don’t want it to be completely smooth or it won’t hold together well while cooking.  You also don’t want it to be too dry.  It needs to hold together in a ball but still be pretty moist to the touch.  Feel free to add a little extra olive oil or even a touch of water if you need it.  Pour this mix into a bowl and refrigerate for an hour.  Section the falafel mix into patties, 2 to 3 Tbsp in size.

Next you can either shallow fry these in about 1/4 inch of oil or bake them.  I tried both ways, and honestly the baked ones were just as good as the fried.  Preheat your oven to 450┬║ and place your falafel patties on a greased baking sheet.  Slightly oil the tops of the falafel as well–I used coconut spray for this which made it really easy.  Bake them for 10-12 minutes, give them a flip and a slight press down, and bake for another 5-7 minutes.

Serve in a pita, tortilla, or on a salad with chopped red onion, tomato, lettuce, and tzatziki.

*If you don’t have ground flax, then feel free to substitute it with flour, but the flax adds a nice hit of fiber, protein, and omega-3s which is awesome!

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Tuesday’s Table – Seared Salmon with Peas, Salad and Grilled Lemon

First things first, this recipe came from the Today Show. Last week they were doing 30 minute healthy meals, once I saw this I thought about it several times. Peas are one of my favorite things ever and the idea of “mashy peas” looked and sounded great to me. They are English peas with lots of fresh herbs, lemon and olive oil in a food processor – yum. Why hadn’t I thought about this before?!

I made this last night for dinner and it is going to be one of my new regulars. Quick, fresh and delicious. Check, check, check.

   

Here is original recipe, http://m.today.com/food/recipe-easy-healthy-salmon-peas-herbs-has-spring-written-all-2D80560514

Here is our version – 

Mashy Peas:

Package of fresh or frozen English peas. Microwave as directed on package.. Today Show suggests we shuck our own and blanch them but they are crazy, no one has time to do all of that.

Throw the peas in the food processor and add some of your favorite chopped fresh herbs. I added chives, mint, flat leaf parsley and basil.

Next add – 

Juice of 1/4 – 1/2 of a lemon depending how much lemon you like.

1/4 c. olive oil

1 clove of minced garlic (1 tsp.)

1 tsp. Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Blend in the food processor for 10-20 seconds. Not long because you want your peas to have texture and not be actual mush.

  

   

   

Seared Salmon:

Heat a  cast iron skillet to medium- high heat. Pat salmon dry, lightly season the salmon with a teeny bit of kosher salt on both sides. Add the 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to skillet. Place the salmon, skin side up. Add lemon when you add your salmon, add at least 1/2 of a lemon to sear. Reduce heat to medium. Allow salmon to cook to a golden brown. After about 4 minutes, flip the salmon and finish cooking, about 5 more minutes. 

   

Green Salad :

I couldn’t find pea shoots anywhere so I ended up making a little green salad using exactly the dressing for their said pea shoot salad. I added a few chopped, toasted pecans to the salad for a bit of crunch. I tried out a box of Baby Spring Mix with herbs and definitely recommend it! It was from Kroger and their brand.

To the greens I added:

– 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

– A drissle of extra virgin olive oil (1-2 tsp.)

-Pinch kosher salt

– Freshly ground black pepper

– A small handful of chopped toasted pecans (I had some that were spicy from Trader Joe’s in our pantry so that’s what I used. Pistachios or almonds would be great here too!)

Toss this and set aside until salmon is plated.

  

All of these Springtime flavors really are wonderful! I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Caroline