It's unusual to see a meatless recipe like falafel being touted by someone who regularly refers to herself as The Meatasaurus. I grew up in a household in which we did not eat unusually or adventurously; meat, potato and one veg at 6pm every night, that was us.
But you have probably noticed that, with a nod to both good health and fearless cooking, I have been trying to add more meatless dinners to my weekly menu. And not just more pasta, which has always been my meatless crutch.
However, any meatless or vegetarian choices must still meet The Ninj's stringent dinnertime recipe criteria: easy to make and free of unpronounceable, difficult-to-procure ingredients. These falafel patties check both those boxes (seriously -- they only take about 15 minutes from start to finish!) and, with an entire can of chick peas in the ingredient list, are a great source of protein. Plus, adding extra veggies like carrots, peas or even some finely chopped spinach to the falafel, together with a quick pan saute in place of the more traditional deep frying, makes them light and wholesome without sacrificing any of the classic Mediterranean flavor.
I like to wrap a couple falafel patties in flatbread or naan onto which I've melted some sharp cheddar or creamy havarti cheese and top them with shredded lettuce, but you can also serve them more simply with tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber sauce).
Do you try to eat meatless meals occasionally? What are your go-to recipes? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to know.
Quick Weeknight Falafel (inspired by Better Homes and Gardens)
1 16-ounce can chick peas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped spinach
2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
flatbread, shredded lettuce, cheddar or havarti cheese, tzatziki (optional – for serving)
Place all the ingredients except the peas in a food processor and process until well pureed. Fold in the peas and then form the chick pea mixture into eight small patties.
Heat a little additional olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the patties in the skillet and cook about 2-3 minutes per side until nicely browned. Serve on plates with tzatziki or layer 2 patties on a flatbread onto which cheese has been melted and top with shredded lettuce.