Falafel with Lemon Tahini Dressing

On March 26, 2010, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I’m not much of a fan of Falafel so I wasn’t too excited about making this when my wife Stephanie asked if I could try it. Most Falafel I’ve had is really dry and not very flavorful, even the one’s at good Middle-Eastern restaurants. This recipe did have a different approach since the Falafel is baked, not fried, and I added a bit of curry instead of Tumeric (if you want more authentic substitute the curry I have with 1 tsp of Tumeric.)

To make it more of a meal, we used add some pita bread, humus, and tabbouleh. The flafels will crumble a bit because they are baked and I may have had my mix a bit too wet, so be careful with the water (I reduced it from the recipe I used so the reduction is accounted for in the recipe listed here. Hopefully that helps.) Stuffing the Falafels in the pita with some lemon tahini and tabbouleh really made this meal excellent and one you’ll want to add to your list, especially if you are vegetarian or want to reduce meat intake.

Falafel
Serves 6

3 Tbsp olive oil for baking
3 garlic cloves
1 small onion
1/4 cup tightly packed parsley
2 15-oz cans chick peas, drained
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp curry
1/8 tsp cayenne
black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup oat flour

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spread olive oil on it. Mince garlic in food processor. Add onion to food processor. Chop. Add parsley and chop too. Add remaining ingredients except oat flour in processor and combine. Get the batter where it is wet but will hold together. You should be able to form balls. Refrigerate batter for 1 hour to make it easier to roll balls. Recipe makes 16 2-inch falafel balls. Place on oiled, foil cookie sheet and gently press down slightly. Cook for 15 minutes, turn and cook about another 20-25 minutes. Serve with Lemon Tahini dressing.

Lemon Tahini Dressing
Makes 1 cup

1 garlic clove
1/2 cup sesame tahini
3 Tbsp lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 cayenne

Puree garlic in food processor. Add lemon juice and tahnini to blend, pour in water a little at a time to get consistency desired. Add salt, cayenne and cumin. Store in refrigerator in airtight container. Will keep for a couple weeks.

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20-Minute Tabbouleh with Chicken

On July 28, 2009, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This simple recipe is all prep. In fact, if you don’t want to cook a single thing all you have to do is substitute the chicken I use with a store-bought rotisserie chicken. This would leave you with only having to heat a cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add the bulgar wheat to thicken. Beyond that, all you have to do is chop, chop some more and keep chopping until you finish a few simple dashes of spice and some crumbled feta cheese. Easy.

The best part is that this meal is really, really good. It’s the perfect summer meal or dieting meal. There is so little to it that all you have to do is make sure you wrote down all the ingredients before making a trip to the market.

Here is the recipe using boneless-skinless chicken breasts. Like I said above you could substitute the chicken with a rotisserie store-bought and avoid cooking altogether.

Chicken and Feta Tabbouleh
Serves 4

3/4 cup uncooked bulgar
1 cup boiling water
2 cups shredded chicken breast, skinless boneless
1 cup chopped plum tomato
1 cup chopped cucumber
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic (or 2 chopped cloves)
1/2 teaspons ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Place bulgar in a medium bowl; cover with 1 cup of boiling water. Let stand for 15 mintues or until liquid is absorbed.

Slice chicken into bit-sized chunks and saute in a pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat cooking and turning for about 8 mintues. Remove from pan and set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add bulgar to mixture and toss gently to combine. Spoon out mixture on plates and top with chicken.

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Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

On July 21, 2009, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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The idea of a burger made from anything not red kind of repulsed me until today. Sure I’ve had garden burgers, but they always leave something to be desired like, oh I don’t know, animal? Recently, there has been a bit of a movement for turkey burgers as an alternative to beef hamburgers.

It wasn’t until this weekend that my wife found a recipe that looked appealing. Why? Because we both agreed it was a recipe that didn’t try to replicate a traditional burger with bun, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, onion and tomato but was made with ground turkey. Why not just make beef burgers if you are going to do that? Instead this recipe uses pita bread, tzatziki and arugula. It looked refreshing and fit well with a lighter meat.

Mediterranean Turkey Burgers
Serves 4

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/4 cup (1 oz) crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon minced red onion
2 tablespoons commercial pesto
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups arugula or mixed greens
4 pitas, toasted and halved

Tzatiki:
1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped, seeded cucumber
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a bowl; mix until combined. Divide mixture and shape into four patties about 1/2-inch thick.

Mix Tzatiki ingredients by combining all into a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat grill and add patties cooking about 6 minutes on each side until done.

Slice patties and pita bread in half. Stuff pitas with Tzatiki sauce, arugula, and turkey patty. Serve.

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