Falafel Pitas with Tzatziki Sauce

It feels so good to be back! If you missed my post from yesterday, I hope you take the time to read it, as it explains where I have been this past week!

I know I am probably going to sound pathetic, but as I’m writing this post, I am also watching The Real Housewives of New York City. I’m sorry but as much as I hate all the drama, I just can’t stop watching! I think it’s something about the Bravo channel but I am literally enamored with all their reality TV shows; Millionaire Matchmaker, Top Chef, The Housewives (every city but Atlanta), etc. And watch reruns?? You betcha! Are there any shows that you hate to admit you watch??

Okay, now that it’s a commercial, I suppose I should mention that I have been in a lunch box funk lately. My appetite for the usual sandwiches and sides has been null. For the longest time all I would pack was hummus and veggies stuffed into a pita with carrots and yogurt. I am a creature of habit, so this lunch really did the job! But after packing this for so many years, my taste buds have been craving something more! Creativity Erin!! Besides, eating a WIDE variety of foods will better meet your nutritional needs. I read somewhere that you should be consuming AT LEAST 23 different foods a day. Something we all should strive harder for! Are there any foods you have eaten so much that you just can’t eat them anymore? Do you eat 23 individual foods daily??

Regardless of my “lunch box funk,” I am still pretty obsessed with Mediterranean food. I will always have a strong affection for hummus, and falafel will always have a special place in my heart. Falafel brings me back to my college days when I would frequent Pita Pit and order the falafel pita! Does anyone else love Pita Pit??

I suppose I did not stray very far from the norm when I decided I wanted to try and make falafel patties from scratch and then use them in my lunches. Hey, I didn’t say I needed THAT much change. Baby steps.

I came across this recipe for falafel in a magazine a few years ago and JUST used it this past Sunday. Are there any recipes you have just sitting around collecting dust?

The ingredients were easy to throw together and most I already had on hand. EASY!! I whipped the ingredients up in a blender and created a thick, play dough-like mound of falafel. It didn’t look or taste like Pita Pit’s, that’s for sure. Nonetheless, they were still filling and the flavor tasted similar to hummus (lacking in the description department). I liked the little guys and they actually made excellent leftovers for my lunch box!

The tzatziki sauce was another simple addition to this recipe. Instead of spending $10 on tahini though, I just crushed up some sesame seeds and added that instead. The sauce is truly the key player in this sandwich!! It’s a very cool, light dressing with a subtle lemony sweetness. There are numerous variations but the following recipe is effortless. MMmmmmMMM.

FALAFEL PATTIES

Makes 16 patties

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs (whole wheat if you choose)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne

2 garlic cloves

1 large egg (2 egg whites could probably work too)

1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained/rinsed

1 T olive oil (optional, I used cooking spray)

Sauce:

1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

2 T fresh lemon juice

2 T Tahini paste

1 garlic cloves, minced

Directions:

Place first 8 ingredients in a food processor or blender; process mixture until smooth. Divide mixture into 16 equal portions, and shape into a 1/4″ thick patty. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the patties, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until the patties are browned.

To prepare the sauce, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, tahini, and garlic, stirring with a whisk.

Make into pita sandwich: 1 half of a whole wheat pita, 1 1/2 T Tzatziki sauce, 2-4 falafel patties with lettuce and tomato.

Nutritional Profile (1 patty): 35 calories, 0.8g Fat (0.1g sat.), Cholesterol: 13.3 mg, 143mg sodium, Potassium: 44mg, Carbohydrates: 5.6 g, Protein: 1.6g, Fiber: 1.0g

Nutritional Profile (1 T Tzatziki Sauce): 22 calories, 1.5 g Fat (0.3 g sat.), 10 mg sodium, 1.6 g carbohydrate, 1.0 g protein

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