Baked Falafel with Lemon-Tahini Yogurt Sauce

When we were in Paris, one of my favorite meals was the falafel sandwich I had from L'as Du Falafel that I got to enjoy in the gorgeous Place de Vosges on a Sunday afternoon. The Marais neighborhood won my heart and my stomach with the great Jewish bakeries and Middle Eastern restaurants like Chez Marianne.
I have been meaning to make falafel since we got home, and I finally got around to it this weekend. I followed Mollie Katzen's recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook, with only a couple changes to the ingredients, but decided to bake rather than deep- or pan-fry the falafel.  It doesn't take any extra time to bake the falafel, and the outer crust gets nice and crispy while the center stays just tender enough.  While the falafel don't turn that gorgeous golden color of the deep-fried variety, the baked version definitely hit the spot.  These are also great to pack for lunches later in the week.
The options for serving the falafels are endless.  You can make yourself a falafel sandwich in a pocket pita and add some greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, shredded carrots, and lemon-tahini yogurt sauce. 
Another option is serving these as an appetizer with a tahini-lemon dipping sauce, or on a platter with various toppings.

Baked Falafel (Makes about 25, allow 4-6 per serving)
4 medium cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/2 small yellow onion, cut into large 1-inch chunks
2 15-oz cans organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (about half of a smaller lemon)
a few dashes of cayenne pepper 
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon to brush the tops
about 3 1/2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour, plus more if needed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare a half sheet pan with parchment (or two smaller pans).

1. Turn on your food processor and drop the garlic through the feed tube and allow the machine to run until the garlic is minced.  Add the onion chunks and process until finely minced.

2. Add the garbanzo beans, cumin, tumeric, salt, parsley, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, water, and olive oil.  Process until the mixture has an even consistency.

3.  Remove the blade from the food processor bowl and use a spatula to mix in the flour.  Add more flour if the mixture feels too sticky to handle. You should be able to form the batter into little Tablespoon-sized balls.

4. Use a small cookie scoop or Tablespoon to form the batter into approximately 25 falafel patties. Brush the tops with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil, just to get the edges to crisp. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then flip the falafel, and bake an additional 10 minutes, until both sides are slightly browned and the outer surface is crispy.

If you want to serve the falafel in a pita pocket, use a paring knife to split open the pocket in the bread.  Then add the pita to the 425 degree oven during the last 2 minutes of cooking time. If you prefer to serve the falafel over greens, you can chop some spinach or mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and any other veggie that you have on hand.  Shredded carrots are also great with this.

If you want to make a Lemon-Tahini Yogurt Sauce, combine:
1 Tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (about half a lemon)
3 Tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon minced parsley
Pinch of salt
Dash of cayenne pepper

Whisk the ingredients together with a fork until smooth and either spoon the sauce over your sandwich or serve the sauce on the side at the table.
Nutrition facts for 5 falafel patties, assuming you get 25 total patties, which is about one dinner serving:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 174 g
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3.7g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 266mg
Total Carbohydrates 32.7g
Dietary Fiber 1.0g
Sugars 7.6g
Protein 8.4g
Vitamin A 5%Vitamin C 13%
Calcium 2%Iron 43%

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