Sunday, December 11, 2011

Not So Awful Falafel...

Have any of you out there ever had falafel?  You may have seen it in the foreign foods section of your grocery store, not really knowing what it was.  It's a wonderful middle eastern dish that is made up of ground chick peas, fava beans, and spices.  So what's the awful part?
Well, its usually deep fried.  Don't get me wrong, its DELICIOUS that way...but for those of us trying to watch our waistlines...probably not the best thing to eat.  (Also, I hate frying food just because of the BIG MESS it seems to make and it's kind of hard with little kiddos whirling around you in the kitchen).  Well it turns out that rather than rolling the falafel into balls and deep frying them, you can form them into patties and broil them!  So here is a recipe for a wonderfully delicious, vegetarian meal that I put together one night.  Note that this recipe incorporates Chickpea Couscous, which is a Martha Stewart recipe you can find here.

Not So Awful Falafel
Serves 2
Ingredients
  • One box of dry falafel mix
  • 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 6-8 large lettuce leaves
  • Chickpea Couscous
  • Few tablespoons of low-fat sour cream
  • Hot sauce, if desired
Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees, lightly brush the two acorn squash halves with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place face down in a large baking dish and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes

While the acorn squash is roasting, mix the falafel up as directed on the package.  Usually this involves adding water to the dry mix and allowing it all to absorb for 10-15 minutes
Above you'll see what the falafel looks like when the water is just added.  It's really runny and sloppy.  Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and you'll come back to find:
See how much water it absorbed?  Now you can begin to form the falafel into patties with your hands
As you form the patties place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  It's a good idea to spray the parchment with some cooking spray first. 
You'll probably get about six patties out of one box, which is more than enough for two people.  These patties are VERY filling!  Brush the tops of the patties lightly with olive oil.  Once the acorn squash is finished roasting, remove it from the oven and switch the heat to broil.  Then place the patties into the oven and broil for a few minutes (about 5 minutes at most).
But wait! We're not done yet!  While your squash is roasting and your falafel is absorbing, begin making the Chickpea Couscous!  First, you mix all the ingredients except for the couscous in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Once it boils, stir in your couscous, remove from heat and cover.  Allow it to sit for 5 minutes so that the couscous can absorb all the water.
Now that all the main elements to your meal are done, it's time to put it all together!  Place one falafel pattie per lettuce wrap, and top with low-fat sour cream.  Fill the cavity of the acorn squash with the chickpea couscous.  Now you are ready to eat:
I personally like to drizzle a little hot sauce on mine!  This is an extremely healthy and filling dish!  A great alternative to traditional fried falafel balls.  This is also an extremely fast dinner to make.  The whole thing takes about 30-40 minutes to make and put together.  A great meal for a busy week night!

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