Meatless Monday: The BEST Baked Falafel

I know what you’re thinking, “really Linds…the best baked falafel…the best?” Yes, THE BEST falafel I have ever put in my mouth – don’t patronize me!

Before this recipe I wouldn’t have said I was a big fan of falafel. When I’d tried it in the past I would find it dry and not particularly flavourful unless it was dosed with tzatziki. But one day I came across this recipe from How Sweet Eats and I don’t know what came over me but I just felt like this was IT, the falafel I’d be waiting for my entire life…and I was right! This is some life changing falafel!

falafel

Even if you think you don’t like falafel give this recipe a go – it’s quick and actually kind of fun to make AND you can make a super cool falafel ‘bar’ like I did and have some fun building your own delicious falafel sandwiches. Here’s what you need for this home run Meatless Monday dish:

For the Falafel:

  • 2 (14 oz) Cans of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4 Cloves of Garlic, roughly chopped
  • 4 Green Onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Lemon, zest and juice
  • Big Handful of Parsley
  • Big Handful of Cilantro (could use mint instead if you’re not into cilantro)
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • ¼ c Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tsp of Baking Powder

For the Falafel Bar:

  • Mini Pita Pockets
  • Feta
  • Romaine Lettuce, shredded
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Red Bell Pepper, Sliced
  • Tzatziki
  • Hummus

Alright, that might seem like a lot of ingredients but it’ll be totes worth it, I promise!

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Throw your chickpeas, green onions, garlic, egg, lemon zest and juice, oil, herbs and spices into a food processor or blender and pulse until you get a crumbly mixture that still has some chunkiness to it. Add to that half of the flour and baking powder and pulse until combined then toss in the rest of the flour and baking powder whizzing everything up until smooth-ish, you can also leave this a little chunkier if you prefer.

Now all you do is line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and form the mixture into balls with your hands (I used a super heaping tablespoon amount) – this is messy so take of your jewelry and enjoy it! If you have the time I like to chilled the formed falafel in the fridge for 15-20 minutes so they can firm up a bit (this is also a great opportunity to fix yourself a cocktail) but if you’re short on time you can skip this step.

Now bake these guys for about 10 minutes per side, I like them to have a nice crisp on the outside so to help them brown up a little more I drizzle with some EVOO before I pop them in the oven.

falafel bar

While the falafels are baking you can cut up and arrange your accoutrements and then serve with the warm falafel.

Cheers!

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Mini Shrimp Tacos for Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

What’s not to love about a celebration that typically includes margaritas?!

Wikipedia tells me that Cinco dy Mayo is a Mexican-American celebration held on May 5th to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the early years of the American Civil War.  Wikipedia goes on to say:

The American Cinco de Mayo celebration originated in the Mexican-American communities of the American West, Southwest, and Northwest in the 1860s. Mexicans and Latinos living in California during the American Civil War are credited with being the first to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States. It grew in popularity and evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, first in areas with large Mexican-American populations, like Los Angeles,  Chicago, and Houston. Eventually it expanded across the United States. On June 7, 2005, the U.S. Congress issued a Concurrent Resolution calling on the President of the United States to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe Cinco de Mayo with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

So there’s the educational content for today. Moving on, Mini Shrimp Tacos!

Mini Tacos

These little darlings have a couple different components to them but are still pretty easy to pull together. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Chili Lime Shrimp:

  • Shrimp (fresh, frozen…all good!), 1 shrimp per taco
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • Cayenne (a pinch -1 tsp.)
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Chipotle Cream:

  • ½c Greek Yogurt
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Chipotle Hot Sauce (or the liquid from a can of Chilies in Adobo)
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Avocado Mash:

  • 1-2 Avocados
  • Salt
  • 1 Bag of Scoops Tortilla chips
  • Cilantro to garnish

Turn the broiler on high and mix up the spices for the Chili Lime Shrimp.  If using frozen shrimp, thaw them according to package directions. Lay the shrimp out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the seasoning mixture. If using fresh shrimp broil until they turn pink and are cooked through (3 minutes a side or so), if using frozen shrimp give them a minute under the broiler and then pour off any excess liquid that has accumulated in the baking sheet – continue cooking (and draining if needed) until they are warm through.

Mash the avocado with a pinch of salt.

Mix the Greek yogurt with the chipotle sauce of your choosing, cumin, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble spread out the tortilla chips on your serving platter and fill each one with a ½ tsp. or so of the Avocado Mash, lay a Chili Lime Shrimp on top of that and then drizzle with some of the Chipotle Cream. Top each Mini Shrimp Taco with a small sprinkle of fresh cilantro and serve…preferably with a lime margarita on the rocks!

Mini Shrimp Taco

You can check out the inspiration for these delicious morsels by clicking here.

Cheers!

Greek Chicken Gyros, OPA!

Oh boy do I love me a gyro! More broadly I LOVE Greek food; tzatziki, hummus, feta, pita – all delicious, and this slow cooker version of the classic Greek gyro is no exception, it will surely bring a fervent ‘OPA’ to your lips.

I know some folks are wary of a slow cooker; it’s true at some point we’ve all ended up with some beige, bland, and watery mystery meat but I assure you this recipe will yield fabulous results! Still skeptical? Check out these tips for the best slow cooker results.

The main part of this recipe is the Slow Cooker Shredded Greek Chicken but with some extra toppings and additions you can transform this delicious meat into one mean Greek Chicken Gyro! Here’s how it all goes down:

For the Slow Cooker Shredded Greek Chicken you’ll need:

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (could use thighs)
  • The juice of 1 lemon (FRESH SQUEEZED ONLY!)
  • ¼ c water
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • A heavy drizzle of red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed (or more if you’re not in a smooching mood)
  • ½  an onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • A pinch of allspice
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt ‘n’ pepper
  • You can also sprinkle some fresh oregano into the finished product if you have it on hand, however it’s not necessary

Shredded Greek Chicken

Toppings & Extras:

  • Pita/Naan
  • Tzatziki
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Tomato, chopped
  • Cucumber, chopped
  • Red onion, finely sliced
  • Feta, crumbled

Toppings for Gyros

Mix all of the ingredients for the shredded chicken in a bowl (minus the chicken itself). Place the chicken in your slow cooker and pour the mixture over chicken. Cook on low for 8-9 hours. SO EASY!

You can also do this the night before and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to go, in the morning just pop the uncooked chicken and marinate in your slow cooker and cook all day. I actually prefer to do it this way as it serves as some extra marinating time for the chicken and keeps it extra juicy.

Once your chicken is cooked through shred it up with a couple of forks and pour out any excess liquid. Now all you have to do is assemble, layer a pita with tzatziki (or hummus for dairy free), chicken, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, and sprinkle with feta.  Eat up!

Greek Chicken Gyros

Oh and consider making your own tzatziki! All you need to do is chopped some fresh mint and dill, shred a ¼ of a cucumber (just on a box grater – depending on the type of cucumber you have you may want to seed it first by running the tip of a spoon along the seeds to remove), crush some garlic and add all that to some plain Greek yogurt. I also like to add in some lemon juice and salt ‘n’ pepper.

Cheers!

Recipe adapted from Six Sisters Stuff.