This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was an incredibly welcome surprise. I say that because I tried something totally new, and I really loved it! These Baked Falafel Sandwiches, chosen by Elina of Healthy and Sane, really epitomized what being in this blogging group means to me. It's all about stepping away from making my tried and true favorite foods, and attempting to prepare things I've never made before. The bonus here is that I found something I've truly been missing out on all my life.
Seriously, how have I never tried falafel before? This stuff is yummy! Not only that, it's way easier to prepare than I expected it to be. A can of chickpeas is drained and rinsed, then added to a food processor. Next, in goes some cumin, some coriander, onion, garlic, salt, cilantro, parsley, and some olive oil. Whir it all up briefly, and there you have it! A nice, easily malleable mixture that you can shape into little falafel balls. They bake up in about 35-40 minutes, and then they're ready to be pita-fied!
So you stuff four of these little balls into one pita bread, and then you can add your other sandwich ingredients. There's the lettuce and the cucumber, and then there's tomato, which I did not have on hand. Personally, I felt like this was fine without them. Finally, you make a simple sauce of tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, and a bit of water to thin it out to the right consistency. I was a bit stingy with the sauce on my falafel (I don't know, I just didn't want mine too saucy), but my husband loooved the tahini sauce! He couldn't stop dunking his sandwich into the sauce, which he had both inside the pita and in a dish on the side.
I was so excited to find something new that we loved so much. I think in the past I shied away from falafel because it is made from chickpeas, and I was always wary of chickpeas. Now I know that I have nothing to fear! This was an extremely tasty and satisfying meal, and it went great with a simple side of orzo tossed with pine nuts, coriander, and a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Very delicious.
Thank you so very much, Elina, for this week's pick. This recipe cannot be found in Ellie's cookbooks, so I don't know if I ever would have found, let alone made, this if you hadn't chosen it. The full recipe can be found on Food Network's website, here.