Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Homemade Baked Falafel with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Lizzy's Vegan Tzatziki

Monday, July 7, 2008

Homemade Baked Falafel with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Lizzy's Vegan Tzatziki

It feels really weird to do two posts in one day, but I am getting behind and don't want to get "backlogged". I wouldn't get used to as many food posts as you will see this week on a regular basis. I've had a long weekend and naturally I have done more in the kitchen.

I wish I could describe how good this meal was, so simple, nothing special, but a real treat nonetheless. It probably looks like I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, as there is a lot of stuff here, but I didn't. This is an easy meal, and pretty much everyone likes falafel.

I made some roasted red pepper hummus, as this is Brett's favorite kind (he got really excited when he found out I was making the hummus, I love seeing him happy like that!) to go with it, and now I'll have easy lunches when I go back to work Wednesday and there will be food here he likes enough that I can be confident he'll actually eat (I wonder how he survived before me...).

I also made Lizzy's Vegan Tzatziki. I love tzatziki, Brett loves tzatziki. That tangy cucumber-yogurt sauce is a wonderful compliment to Middle Eastern meals. The only problem, well most yogurt is dairy and for Jennifer that = very stuffy, snuffly, it's not pretty. The last time I had tzatziki (incidentally, I believe also the last time I intentionally had dairy), was when I was on vacation. Shortly after I enjoyed my delectable treat, I was standing in Union Station in Washington, DC sounding as if I had some sort of disgusting, very communicable disease. People were literally shying away from me, I couldn't help it! My nose was runny, I was coughing, sneezing, it was awful. Anyways, so I've always longed for a vegan version of the sauce, but have never been too much of a fan of any soy products or "replacements", so I thought it just wasn't going to happen. When I saw that Lizzy had made some tzatziki using soy yogurt, and said it was good, I knew she wouldn't let me down, so took down the recipe. This weekend, I got some soy yogurt, some local cucumber, and made her tzatziki. I am very serious when I tell you I could not tell the difference. It was amazing, and so simple. Thank you so much Lizzy, you have livened this meal like you wouldn't believe!

This was also my first time making falafel from scratch. I've been finding out lately that many of these culinary things I have been intimidated by are not really anything to be scared of, they aren't as hard as we make them seem in our minds. This was no exception. I just kind of went with what I learned via Brett from a cool dude from Jordan he used to work with, what I've had, and what I found online.

Enough yammering, here are the pictures and the recipes. And I seriously, strongly urge you all to try Lizzy's Tzatziki, it was really good.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
3-4 cups of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), cooked*
1/2 cup water*
1 large fresh red bell pepper, roasted and stem removed (trust me, fresh is better)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 tbsp good olive oil (optional, but recommended)
cumin (to taste)
salt (to taste)
cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, adding water until hummus has reached desired consistency.

Refrigerate for about an hour to allow flavors to meld.

*If cooking beans from dried, reserve about 1/2 cup of the bean cooking liquid.

Falafel batter.

Basic Baked Falafel
1 cup garbanzo beans (chickpeas), soaked in water for 12-24 hours, drained
1/2 yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp good olive oil
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
ground coriander
parsley (fresh is best, just a little bit)
cayenne pepper (seriously, I put this stuff in everything)
black pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor until blended and of a fine grain.

Lightly oil a baking sheet (or line with parchment paper).

Form falafel into golf ball sized balls and lightly flatten out.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking time.

With the falafel, hummus, and tzatziki, we also had fresh local lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber slices, whole wheat pita bread, kalamata olives, and pickled peppers.

'Til next time.


selina said...

i love falafel!

Bianca said...

You are sauce queen. I don't think a meal goes by where you don't make a fabulous homemade sauce to accompany it. Yum!

ChickPea said...

Wow! Two amazing posts in a row! I could get used to this two posts per day thing...
I really like the idea of a vegan tzaziki dip--never something I would have thought of on my own but sounds like a great recipe to try.

CeciLiA said...

yum yum yum! Love the food on this page!! Wow, I'm so gonna try out that tzatziki recipe now, thank you so much for pointing yummy eats out to me :0) By the way, do you think I can substitute the soy yogurt with silken tofu? The soy yogurts sold here are all sweetened, flavored and so NOT nice :0(

Falafel!! That is yummy right?! I made falafel once - from a box mix, it was so gross!

Finally the hummus - it looks really good, I might give this recipe a try - the previous recipe I tried was not that great - hopefully this one will be good!!

Hehehe... you're such an awesome cook - you should post up more yummy eats - that way I can steal (and savor) all your yummy recipes :0) Have a great day!!

Lizzy said...

EEK! *grabs everything from the table and runnnnnssss* Oh my, look at all the goodness on your table =O And your falafel look perfect, I will definitely make these in the future (as I'm more fond of baking than frying anyway).
And awww you are too sweet, I feel very honoured and of course am glad it worked out well for you and fit to the meal =)
Seriously, I was all blushing and hiding (duh, as if anyone could look through the screen, ha ha) when I read your praise =p *bows*

Lizzy said...

Oh by the way, I joined the Quit Now Challenge - finally =)

Cookiemouse said...

Middle Eastern food is terrific. I love both falafel and hummus, and I like the idea of adding the peppers.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Selina - Me too, we don't have it often enough.

Bianca - Hahaha! Well you are our Southern Queen so I guess I'm in good company. I have a thing with sauces, an obsession perhaps, but you can make something very simple, very special with the right sauce.

Chickpea - :-) I never really liked soymilk, or soy "cheeze", I've never tried the soy cream "cheeze" or anything like that, so I assumed the soy yogurt would be gross. But this dip was awesome, it tasted very much like the real thing. Even Brett said he could hardly tell the difference.

Cecilia - Aw, thank you! To be completely honest, I have no idea. You may need to thin it down a bit, add a hint of lemon juice to give it the "tang" it needs, that might work. It would be worth a shot! Sorry I can't be of more help. I only know how to do one thing with silken tofu - make tofu sour cream, and Brett actually does that.

Haha! Well, I think falafel is yummy at least. I would try some homemade falafel before judging, the boxed stuff can be pretty bad.

Hummus recipes can also be bad. My most common complaint is that they are too thin, or too much tahini is used. Ick!

You are so sweet! Haha, I put the recipes up for others to enjoy, so have at 'em!

Thanks, you too!

Lizzy - Hahaha! Thank you for the recipe. I was so excited when you posted about it, so I was stoked to finally have the opportunity to try.

AWESOME! I love the things you are choosing to quit. I think I should have cutting back on smoking be one I do next month as well. I got down to half a pack a long time ago and just kinda stopped there. Oh, and the smoking in the AM, I love it! Haha! I wish I could, but if I did, I wouldn't end up going to work. On the weekends though, it's one of the best ways to start the day. ;-)

Cookiemouse - I haven't experimented too much. I'm trying to figure out what would be a good "stuffing" for a vegan dolma (the stuffed grapeleaves), beyond that, I don't really know. I've only had Middle Eastern food a few times and always stick with the same things.

Haha, you noticed! I have figured out a way to incorporate something spicy, like a pepper, or cayenne pepper into almost every one of my meals. I think I have a problem with the spicy food.

Anonymous said...

Those falafel look great! I make my own quite often, and I do it the same way--just soak the chickpeas and don't cook them. I am glad it worked out for you! Your meal looks like a special treat indeed!


Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

Your food is really inspiring. I haven't made falafel at home, and your spread looks like a simple feast! And I like that your recipe is baked.

Anonymous said...

I haven't made falafel in ages, and it's one of my favourites, so you've inspired me- thanks! And I love making tzatziki with soy yogurt! Love it! I sometimes cheat and add a bunch of cilantro because I'm a cilantro freak, so good!
Your dairy reaction story made me laugh! Not in a mean way, more like picturing it as a scene in a movie with Brenden Frasier and Jennifer Aniston way :)

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Courtney - Thank you. It seemed to me that was the way to go. All those recipes that used cooked garbanzo beans, I just couldn't imagine the texture being right.

Lisa - Aw, thank you! It was really easy, so you should. I personally prefer the texture falafel get when baked to that of the fried variety. I am also horrible at frying, oil is expensive and hard to dispose of, and well, deep fried things aren't that good for you.

Shellyfish - YOU SHOULD! I would have never thought to use cilantro in it, that might be good, a replacement for the parsley I used.

HAHAHA! It was a lot funnier after the fact. I think Brett was a little embarrassed but knew I couldn't help it.

Alice (in Veganland) said...

I'm definitely going to try homemade falafel with this recipe. I thought the dry chickpeas were supposed to be ground, but soaking them makes so much more sense... I'll let you know how it goes! And quit smoking! ;-)

Erin said...

What an awesome spread! I'd like to take a bit of everything. I'm planning to try making my first falafel soon, but mine will have to be from canned chickpeas cause that's what I've got.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Alice - I had the vague idea that uncooked garbanzos (chickpeas) were used in falafel too, but I couldn't figure out how the food processor was supposed to crush the beans in dried form, I thought it might break my food processor. But with a little research, I found out that people soaked but did not cook the beans, that made A LOT more sense. Can't wait to hear.

:-) I will quit smoking one day. Trust me, I get all sorts of shit for it, things along the lines of "how can you be such a health freak and still smoke?" "Why are you an environmentalist that smokes, isn't smoking bad for the environment?" All very valid questions, but dammit, one thing at a time! I can only change so much at once. Smoking is one of those things that I started when I was in high school - what a stupid ass I am, and now I'm addicted so it's a difficult habit to break.

Brett smokes too and we've decided that we would like to quit together somewhere in the near future. We've both cut down significantly, though, so hopefully, one day, after I've been smoke free for long enough that I don't feel like I'd be jinxing things to say something, I will happily tell the blogosphere - though I'm sure many will be surprised to find out I ever smoked.

By the way, smoking is a bad, dirty, disgusting, and expensive habit to any of you kids out there that may be reading this (for whatever reason). It doesn't make you cool, it makes you smelly! (That was my public service announcement for the day.)

Erin - Thank you! Haha, we had leftovers to share. Well, you gotta work with what you have on hand, but especially if you bake them, I think the texture should be close enough!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Thank you so much, Jennifr, for your amazingly sweet comments on my blog. You truly are a wonderful friend.

And because of you, I've just now put "falafel mix" on my grocery list because I realized it's been tooo long since I've made them.

Jamie the Foodie said...

that feast looks wonderful! that's how my table looks on mexican your own! i think i will make some falafel soon & some lentil salad, too! thanks for sharing!

Alice (in Veganland) said...

Hi! I just made your baked falafel! yum!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Alice - I hope you liked them!

Nikki said...

I had JUST put some falafel in the oven when I came across your blog! The recipes were similar, so I hope mine turn out as well as yours did.

If you haven't quit smoking yet, I'll tell you the way I quit - I read a book. The EasyWay to Stop Smoking by Alan Carr. I read that book on Thanksgiving weekend, threw away my lighter and cigs when I finished, and I haven't smoked since. That was 7 YEARS AGO come this Thanksgiving. Believe me, there's NOTHING to lose (at least if you're a bibliophile like I am!)

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Nikki - Sadly, we haven't quit smoking yet. Thank you very much for the encouragement as well as the book suggestion, I will look for that at the library.

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