August 13, 2015
I love falafels. They are bite-sized pieces of deliciousness filled with my favorite Mediterranean flavors. The other day, I made some for dinner, and I happened to get lucky and have leftovers for the next day. For lunch, I turned a couple of the falafels into a delicious lunch idea: stuffed flatbreads with tzatziki sauce.
When I lived in Berlin, many years ago (1994), I indulged in a lot of Turkish and Greek food. By far, my favorite of these delicious foods was these handheld flatbreads stuffed with falafels.
They were sold in street kiosks and were made fresh to order. The flatbreads were stuffed with fresh veggies, falafels, and lots of tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki sauce is a Greek yogurt and cucumber based sauce that is good on everything. When I say everything, I mean, everything!
Now, as an adult, I make my own falafels at home. I love them by themselves and I usually use them to top a large green salad drizzled with tzatziki sauce on top. Of course, my husband needs a little more substance so I stuffed some whole-wheat Toufayan flatbreads with his falafels.
While the original falafels I enjoyed long ago had a lot of parsley, I had to pick my battles when creating a version to make at home. Oh you know, parsley is green and my kids are not fond of green speckles in their food. Even without the parsley, however, I feel that these falafels are a close competitor to the ones I enjoyed many years ago.
Once you have all your ingredients, making these falafel stuffed pitas is a breeze. Now you know why I love leftovers! It’s instant fast -and healthy- food. Make these falafels the night before and they become a healthy grab-and-go lunch option.
For that reason, I included the recipe in my first cookbook, The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet. How could I have a lunches book without my beloved falafels? And then, I realized that I forgot to include the Greek sauce! Yes, there is something that happens to an author after the book goes to print that drives me crazy: the realization that you “forgot” to add something (nevermind that there are over 200 recipes in the book).
Luckily, I wrote a second cookbook called The Best Homemade Kids’ Snacks on the Planet where I made sure I included my tzatziki sauce (in the book I called it Yanni’s Greek Dip). And in case you are wondering, I also remembered recipes from the past I forgot to add to that book as well. Go figure.
In the end, the recipes are there, inside my cookbooks for many years to come reminding me of my amazing adventures back in 1994 where I ate my fair share of street-made falafel stuffed flatbreads.
Have you tried falafels? Do you use flatbreads at home? If so, what do you stuff them with?
Falafel Stuffed Flatbreads
- ½ cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight , or 1 cup canned chickpeas
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 fresh parsley sprig, minced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil to pan fry
Greek Yogurt Sauce:
- 1 cucumber, peeled
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon dried dill
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 flatbreads, for serving
- Green lettuce leaves or salad greens
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- ½ cucumber, thinly sliced
- Drain and rinse chickpeas from soaking overnight or canned chickpeas.
- In a food processor, mix chickpeas with all ingredients until it becomes a smooth thick paste.
- With wet hands, form dough into small balls, the size of a large walnut. Press down to form 1 ½ inch patties. If the mixture is too sticky, add a little bit more breadcrumbs. If it’s too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water.
- Pan-fry falafels in an oiled pot over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes each side, or until sides are brown. Remove falafel onto a paper towel-lined plate and blot excess oil with additional paper towels.
The Tzatziki sauce:
- Grate the cucumber on top of a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth. Ring out the excess water over the sink, then transfer it inside a medium bowl.
- To the cucumber, add the garlic, yogurt, lemon juice, dill, and salt. Mix to combine.
- Refrigerate, covered, up to 2 days or until ready to serve.
- Place a flatbread on a flat surface, layer greens, tomatoes, and a few slices of cucumbers. Place 1-2 falafels on top, and drizzle with tzatziki sauce. Fold the flatbread and enjoy.
From time to time, I work with awesome companies to develop recipes for this website. Today’s post was brought to you by Toufayan Bakeries . All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that encourage my creativity.