Friday, February 17, 2012

Veggie Burger, Grain Burger, Falafel—Oh My!

Hungry for a veggie burger? Don't buy those expensive ready-made ones in the frozen foods section—just make your own. It's easy and utterly delicious. One way to make a veggie burger is to make, yes, falafel. Instead of a round ball, form the batter into a small patty. Then, you don't have to deep-fry it—which uses a lot of oil. You can pan-fry in a small amount of oil—just like any other patty or croquette. No need to buy those falafel mixes, either (they're way too salty)—try making falafels once and you will be hooked! Feel free to experiment with adding other ingredients—mint, fresh oregano, peppers, onions, etc.—are all game. Yummy! And your kids will likely forget the meal is vegetarian.

Pan-fried Falafel Patties
3 cups cooked chickpeas/garbanzo beans (or two cans, drained)
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame butter)
1/3 cup minced flat leaf parsley or mint (optional)
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs (you can use Progresso bread crumbs) or flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 eggs
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Olive oil to deep fry or pan fry
½ cup sesame seeds to roll falafel-burgers in (optional)
Serves four
  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and put them, along with all the other ingredients, in a blender or food processor. (The paste needs to be thick enough to hold up as a patty, so if you have to use more bread crumbs to thicken, that’s okay.) Pulse, scraping down the side of the bowl, to form a coarse paste. Scrape the paste into a bowl.
  2. In a non-stick frying pan, heat the oil. Scoop a couple of tablespoons of the falafel mixture into your hands and smooth down to form a small patty (larger patties can be too crumbly—small is better). Roll in sesame seeds (optional).
  3. Place a few patties in the pan and fry in small batches, turning halfway through cooking, until browned and crisp and cooked through (about three minutes per side, depending on how thick they are).
  4. Drain on paper towels and serve with lemon-tahini dressing (tahini, garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, water). Also delicious cold in a pita sandwich with cucumbers and tomatoes.

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