Falafel Pita Salad

Falafels are a Mediterranean staple food. If you’ve never had a falafel, it’s basically a fried ball of garbanzo bean puree, herbs, and spices and served in a pita bread with veggies and a yogurt sauce. I’ve taken the traditional falafel recipe and tweaked some of the ingredients to really amp up the flavor and decided to bake it instead of fry it to lower the fat and calories.

Falafel Pita Salad (serves 4)

  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tbs. chopped green onions
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large egg or 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • pinch of ground red pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded, seeded peeled cucumber
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 (6 inch) whole wheat pitas, sliced into 8 triangles each
  • 4 cups butter lettuce leaves
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomato
  • 1/2 cup roasted red and yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
  1. Combine first 10 ingredients in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Divide mixture into 8-12 equal portions; shape each portion into a 1/2-inch thick patty.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan; cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
  3. Combine cucumber, yogurt, garlic paste, and lemon juice in a small bowl.
  4. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400F. Place pita triangles on baking sheet and bake in oven for 10 minutes or until crispy.
  5. Divide lettuce, tomato, roasted bell pepper, and cucumber evenly among 4 plates; add 2-3 falafel patties on top of each salad and top with 1-2 tbs. of yogurt mixture. Place 4 pita chips on plate with each salad.

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