3/13/12

Falafel Pie


Last Wednesday, my husband and I celebrated our third anniversary. Since I'm so sentimental, of course I had forgotten the significance of March 7 when I was scheduling hair cut appointments six weeks earlier so instead of going out to dinner we got our hair cut at our stylist's house. Yes, I'm a hopeless romantic. My husband kept the e-mail I sent him asking, "Shoot, March 7 is our anniversary, right?" as protection against blame when he forgets some important date in the future. 

Luckily for us, there is a restaurant in the top floor of the building where I work and my husband was able to come up and join me for lunch on our anniversary. I'd like to say we each had a gourmet meal by candlelight, but in truth he ate a big cookie while I chowed down on a giant sweet potato and an equally giant salad. For those of you who have been to meals at our house, you know this is pretty normal. Still, I'm starting to worry a little about what our anniversary will be like twenty years from now. Hot dogs from the microwave?  

What is sad is that although I forgot to plan ahead for our anniversary, somehow I remembered that tomorrow is Pi day (3/14) and made sure to make a pie for the occasion. In my defense, I just remembered a few days ago, and this pie has been on my mind for a week so it really was just an excuse to make it. Also, I'm pregnant. I'll throw that in there as an excuse, too, because I might as well get some kind of leverage out of having a giant belly and strange leg cramps in the middle of the night. 


For those of you who haven't been introduced to falafels yet, they are little bites of deliciousness. They are a Middle Eastern food usually made from ground chickpeas, herbs and spices that is rolled into a ball, fried, and served in a pita with different toppings. The toppings can vary depending on the source, but generally include some cucumber and yogurt or a thin tahini sauce. 

I've never tried making my own falafels since I tend to avoid recipes that involve frying out of sheer laziness, but when I ran across a recipe for a falafel pie I realized that was something even my lazy self could handle. Baking the falafel mix in a pie pan instead of making it into balls and frying it takes out a lot of the work that goes into making them but keeps the delicious flavor. It also healthies it up a bit, which I like. Since making falafel mix from scratch involves just adding ingredients to a food processor and a little chopping (the hardest part might be remembering to soak the beans ahead of time), it turns out to be a fairly quick and easy meal to make. Once the falafel base is baked you can add your preferred falafel toppings. In my case I added a little hummus, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and a cucumber yogurt sauce, but it's something you can customize to your tastes. I liked the falafel part of the first two pies I made so much that I cooked a double thick falafel base in a second batch and ate it dipped in cucumber sauce. 

Whether you already love falafels and want an easy way to make them at home, or have yet to fall in love with them, falafel pie is an easy, delicious, non-intimidating way to enjoy great falafel flavor. You can make it to celebrate Pi day, an anniversary, or just a regular Wednesday night.



Falafel Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (or about 2 1/2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 large cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 3/4 cup Hummus
  • Cucumber Sauce (see below for recipe)

Directions

  1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. (Skip this step if using canned chickpeas)
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onion half in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed. (Watch for over-processing with canned chickpeas)
  4. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough can form a small ball. Add extra flour if necessary.
  5. Liberally oil the bottom of 1 or 2 9" pie pans. (If you want an extra thick layer of falafel, use just a single pie pan. The pictures in this post show the thickness when divided among two pie pans.) Add the falafel mix into the pie pan(s) and pat it down until it is uniformly flat. Brush the top of the falafel with more oil. Bake just until the top appears dry and the falafel is firm to the touch, about 15-17 min if using 2 pie pans and 20-23 min if using one.
  6. Top falafel with hummus, cucumbers and tomatoes. Drizzle with cucumber sauce and sprinkle with chopped olives. Serve.
Prep Time: 5 min (not including soaking) Cook Time: 20 min Serves: 6


Cucumber Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 T lemon juice
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Grate cucumber with a box grater set over several layers of paper towels. Using the paper towels, squeeze out excess water from the cucumber.
  2. Add cucumber to the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Refrigerate if not using immediately.


Recipe Sources: adapted from The Foods of Israel Today by Joan Nathan (via epicurious.com) and theveganstoner.blogspot.com


23 Click For Comments:

Haha! That's a sweet story about how you celebrated your anniversary. Sometimes they just happen like that. Happy belated anniversary nonetheless! This pie looks like it made for a perfect celebration. My husband's birthday is tomorrow, and he loves Greek anything so I just might make this for him ;)

This is SUCH a cute idea! And a tasty one too ;)

Your stories are always so funny. :) I love it when you post. When are you writing a book?! I have eaten falafel three times in my life, all out of desperation ("there's nothing else at this venue to eat!"). That said, now that I see the ingredients, I see that they aren't really all that strange! I should really try making them at home! 

Nothing wrong with cookies and sweet potatoes! Ha! :) Happy anniversary! I love this spin on falafels...I can't wait to give it a try! :)

I really like falafels too, but not so much that they are fried.  What a great alternative!  

If it makes you feel better about your anniversary our Valentine's tradition is the heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's :)

I developed a love affair with falafel while in school, but I've never seen it this way. Such a great idea. I'll be making this for sure!

You're so nice, Paula. I even thought as I wrote the post that you must be really bored when you read my posts because I've already told you most things I write about. :)

You're right, the ingredient list isn't all that scary. I remember being surprised that there weren't more strange things that went into a falafel.

I love that Valentine's tradition! We should adopt it ourselves because my husband loves pizza more than any other food on the planet.

Awww happy belated anniversary - love your story!  That sounds like exactly the kind of lunch my husband and I would share :)  There was a great falafel place on my college campus, but I really haven't had falafel since graduating.  I need to change that!

This recipe is brilliant!  I rarely make falafel because all those little balls are time consuming and remember pita bread at the store is highly unlikely.  With this, I can just pop it in the oven and pile on the toppings!  Love!

What a fantastic idea! :) Looks delicious!!!

Yum yum yum I LOVE falafel so this is an amazing idea, definitely will be trying it!

I literally gasped out loud when I saw this. I LOVE LOVE falafel, but hate frying those little buggers. This idea is brilliant!!

bookmarking! love falafel and have never seen anything like this!

Ah! I'm so excited to make this!

Yes! I love Falafel! Actually, I always just bake the falafel balls instead of frying-turns out great for a falafel sandwich. I have a falafel sandwich recipe on my blog if you want to check it out. :) http://newlybread.wordpress.com/?s=falafel

This is genius & looks absolutely amazing! I love falafel, have never made it at home. Must try this!

First time here! Your blog & recipe was shared w me on twitter when I asked "best thing you ate this weekend?" btw... :)

Sorry I'm so late on the commenting! Trying to cut down on web-browsing at work, hehe. 

I will be trying this recipe VERY soon...i'm so excited because I love falafel but refuse to deep fry them. So excited for this tasty solution!!!

Falafel sandwich is a popular recipe
from Middle East, consists of chickpeas that are shaped into patties.


 


Falafel sandwich
 




Excellent Article Falafel sandwich

Baklava,
sweet potato, rice pudding, Chocolate pudding and many more items that allow
the customers to visit mostly to the store.





Baklava

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