A couple of weeks ago Katy asked me if I could send her some recipes for vegetarian burgers. Meat is very expensive in Spain and she is getting tired of a diet mostly consisting of fish and chicken. A couple hours of research turned up a handful of recipes that looked promising so I emailed them to her. Katy printed off the recipes and headed to the store to see if she could find the ingredients. She went with the Falafel burgers since she could get garbanzo beans and the appropriate spices. The recipe called for parsley which the store didn’t have so she subbed cilantro – which added a lot more flavor. She sent me an email letting me know that the results were outstanding! Katy couldn’t find a potato masher and she doesn’t have a food processor so she developed a wooden spoon mashing technique. Necessity is the mother of invention!
I decided to make myself some falafel burgers. I took Katy’s changes and added a few of my own to create a very pleasing falafel burger. Slightly crispy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside with all of the pungent flavors of cumin, ground coriander, garlic and cilantro coming through. Sandwiched between a whole grain sprouted bun and topped with tomatoes and organic baby greens it was fabulous! What a nice change of pace. Thank you Katy for the inspiration! Shown is my version of a falafel burger on an Alvarado ST. Bakery sprouted burger bun. These buns are sold at Whole Foods, Health Food Stores and some Health Food sections of grocery stores. I loved this burger!
Falafel (fuh-la-full) is a Middle Eastern food that is typically made with either ground fava beans or garbanzo beans and seasoned with cumin, ground coriander and garlic, made into balls or patties and deep fat fried. Often sold as street food in the Middle East, falafel are stuffed into pita bread or wrapped in a flat bread and topped with cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce and drizzled with tahini or tsaziki sauce.
Skip the bun and serve it over salad greens with your favorite vinaigrette for a fiber packed lunch. If you are following the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus program these little gems are only 3 points!
There are so many ways to eat falafel burgers. Put it on a bun, pack it into a pita, fold it up in a flat bread, chop it up in a salad, eat it over a whole grain like barley, farro, couscous or brown rice. Add some cucumbers, tomatoes, hummus, Greek yogurt or even some Ranch dressing!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onions – minced
- 4 cloves garlic – minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder (I might use 1 Tablespoon next time, I love the earthy flavor)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 cup carrots – finely chopped (I put them through a food processor)
- 2 cans garbanzo beans, drained
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini or peanut butter
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (sub parsley if you don’t like cilantro)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or flour of your choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Fresh lemon wedges
- 1. In a skillet, heat up 1 tbsp olive oil, when hot add the onions and saute over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin. coridander and carrot, and cook until soft 3-4 minutes more. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
- 2. Drain the garbanzo beans and process them in a food processor until they are chopped but not pureed.If you process them too much you will have hummus! If you don’t have a food processor use a potato masher. Add the chopped or mashed beans to the onion mixture, add tahini or peanut butter and cilantro or parsley. In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Add flour mixture to the bean mixture and stir well.
- 3. With floured hands, form eight patties from the chickpea mixture. If they are soft and too delicate to handle easily cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before cooking.
- 4. Heat a skillet over medium-heat, add 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil and a spray on nonstick olive oil spray to pan, turn the heat to medium-low, and add 4 of the patties.
- When the first side is lightly brown (about 2-3 minutes) gently turn them over and brown the other side. About 2 -3 minutes. Remove from pan and repeat process with remaining 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil and the remaining 4 patties.
- Before serving squeeze each burger with a little fresh lemon juice.
Note: Katy said these freeze well and just need to be gently reheated in the microwave.
Yield: 8 burgers
Servings Size: 1 burger
Nutritional Information (per burger not including bun) updated and corrected as of 12/15/12
Amount Per Serving
Calories From Fat (34%) 50.2
% Daily Value
Total Fat 5.81g 9%
Saturated Fat 0.78g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 554.81mg 23%
Potassium 215.8mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 20.55g 7%
Fiber 3.84g 15%
Protein 4.3g 9%
I had my first taste of falafel and Middle Eastern food about 23 years ago. We lived in Iowa then and the pastor of our church offered to help my womens group make a Middle Eastern dinner. He had been to the Middle East and had a fondness for the food and wanted us to experience it as well.
As we were mixing up the falafel and making hummus I wasn’t too sure about how it was all going to turn out. The ingredients were all so foreign to me. I had never had anything like hummus before, never tasted cumin or cilantro.
As soon as I took my first taste I fell head over heals for it. The pungent earthy flavor of the cumin and the fresh taste of cilantro won me over! It was also my first time to taste a fresh fig which I found to be delightfully sweet. I remember taking home lots of leftovers and enjoying the new flavors again the next day.
This recipe is a wonderful way to enjoy the flavors of falafel with out all the fat and calories.
Add Your Thoughts
Are you adventurous in your eating?
Have your tried any new food lately that you liked?