Friday, January 21, 2011

Southwest Falafels

Maybe you are interested in trying to eat more vegetarian meals. Maybe you already love falafels and think a new twist sounds fun and exciting. Or, maybe you just like good food! Either way, this is the recipe for you!

Falafels are a traditional food eaten in the Middle East and are typically balls or patties of ground chick peas (aka garbanzo beans) and spices, fried, and then placed in a pita pocket and served with crisp greens, pickled veggies or yogurt-based sauces. They are scrumptious!

Well, this version is not Middle Eastern--in fact, they are nice southwest version using pinto beans and a guacamole spread. We eat them in pita pockets, as a wrap (shown above), or even as a salad (with flat bread on the bottom, followed by salad greens and the falafels on top.)

I like this meal because you can prepare the mixture ahead of time and then cook the patties at dinner time; cuts down on that pre-dinner rush that can be so exhausting.

Hope you enjoy trying something new! Here's the recipe.

1 15-oz. can into beans, rinsed and drained
½ c. shredded Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese
¼ c. finely crushed baked tortilla chips
2 Tbsp. finely chopped green onions
1 bsp. finely chopped cilantro
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1 large egg white
1 ½ tsp. canola oil

Favorite Guacamole or make your own:
¼ c. mashed avocado
3 Tbsp. salsa
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp. salt

Remaining ingredients:
Pita pocket bread
4 thin red onion slices
Fresh greens

1. To prepare falafels, place pinto beans in a medium bowl; partially mash with a fork. Add cheese and next 5 ingredients (through egg white). Stir until well combined. Shape into 6 ½ inch thick oval patties.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until patties are browned and thoroughly heated.
3. Place falafels in pita bread. Spread avocado spread over, and top with onions and greens.

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