I Cooked a Falafel Burger and I Liked it!

If you told me a year ago that I would try my hand at making a Falafel Burger, I would say… “a what?” What the heck is a Falafel Burger? As you may know, I’ve been slowly losing weight, eating healthier and juicing. I am eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans – less meat and chicken. I was a meat lover. Loved steak, chicken, processes, grilled… you name it, I loved meat.

Did you notice I said loved? What changed? Well, I still kind of sorta like it, but there are few things coming in between me and my meat. One thing is simply that I’m finding new protein sources that both taste good AND are healthier alternatives to meat. I had subconsciously cut back on eating meat or chicken to just a few times a week and realized I was okay with that. I was still getting protein from juices, nuts and beans.

The other thing is a bit more complicated. My love affair with meat began to unravel when I watched the documentary Food Inc.. Then, last month, GiGi made me I watched a horrific documentary called Earthlings. You can click on the link to watch for free. Anyway, it’s horrific in that it’s a true documentary of everything animal-related and it unveils some really horrible things that I could not have imagined even in my worst dreams. It’s THAT bad. It covers “pet stores, puppy mills and animals shelters, as well as factory farms, the leather and fur trades, sports and entertainment industries, and finally the medical and scientific profession”. Even now, I can’t eat a piece of  meat without thinking about it. The thing is, I H.A.T.E.D. it, BUT, to not watch would be like putting my head in the ground and I am not about putting my head in the ground. I now truly appreciate words like cage free, hormone free, pasture raised. Argh.

When I went to Epcot a few weeks ago – I was starving, but determined to eat healthy. I had just watched Earthlings and anything with meat was not an option. GiGi ordered a Falafel burger – she’s a vegetarian. I was feeling a bit adventurous, and said “I’ll take one too!”. At that point, all I knew was it was green and looked like a burger. then I discovered it tasted pretty darn good. I really, really liked it. Turns out it’s a made of chick peas/garbanzo beans, onion, parsley and a few other ingredients. I thought it would be a fun recipe to try at home.

This past Friday night I asked my parents to have dinner with Mike and I. Little did they all know they were guinea pigs for my new recipe 🙂

Here’s what was on my table and the recipes…

Falafel Burgers with Cucumber Sauce and Strawberry Spinach Salad with a balsamic dressing

FALAFEL BURGERS W/CUCUMBER SAUCE: Recipe adapted from AllRecipes

Cucumber Sauce (prepare first and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving)

  • 1 (6 ounce) container plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber – peeled, seeded, and finely shredded
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise or grapeseed vegenaise (vegenaise is a delicious alternative to mayonnaise found in the refrigerator section of Whole Foods)
In a small bowl combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Falafel Burgers

  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs

In a large bowl mash chickpeas until thick and pasty; don’t use a blender, as the consistency will be too thin.

In a food processor, process onion, parsley and garlic until smooth.

Note: It really didn’t get smooth, just finely mixed. I added extra parsley, I would not do that again. It was too much.

Stir the mixture into mashed chickpeas.

In a small bowl combine egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking powder. Stir into chickpea mixture along with olive oil. Slowly add bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together; add more or less bread crumbs, as needed…

Form 6 balls and then flatten into patties. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil and place patties on sheet. Lightly spray top of burgers as well. Note: Mine is lined with a Silicone Baking Liner.

Yes, those are some chick peas that you see… some didn’t get mashed. It still tasted good, so don’t stress if you miss a few!
 Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes –  flipping them halfway through.
While they are baking, prepare the salad:
Strawberry Spinach Salad
Layer the following:
  • Romaine torn into pieces
  • A few handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Chopped onions
  • Sliced avocados
  • Dried cranberries
  • Almond slices
Serve with a balsamic or strawberry vinegarette
Since I knew my husband was going to be difficult, once the burgers were done baking, I threw them into a pan with a spritz of olive oil and lightly browned them on each side so they would look more like fried burgers.
 
Note: If you would rather fry them, the original recipe says: Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties in hot oil until brown on both sides.
Serve on a bun with the cucumber sauce, lettuce, onion, tomato and a sprinkle of freshly shredded cheddar cheese…
The Verdict:
Mike: “The salad was good”. He didn’t say, but basically didn’t say it, but he never wants to eat them again. He bet me that even the dog wouldn’t eat them, but my dog loved them, haha! He would have been more verbal, but it was our anniversary and he was trying to be nice… smart man, yes?
My Dad: He thought they were good, a bit different. He ate every last drop… mostly I think, because he loves me.
My Mom: She really liked them… admitted she was a bit worried when she heard what I was baking, but was pleasantly surprised.
Me: I really loved them. I added a bit too much parsley and that was a mistake, but overall, I really loved them!
So, what do you think? Are you going to try them? Let me know what you think if you do! xo Amy
P.S. Stay -tuned for some organizing idea, wedding news and more this week!
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