Falafel Patties with Rice and Lemon Tahini Sauce

Savour the flavours of this updated Middle-Eastern classic falafel recipe with Tahini sauce. The addition of rice to the traditional ingredients of chick peas, herbs and spices, creates a lighter textured patty. These falafels can be served as single portions – perfect for appetizers or children or as a main meal for those with heartier appetites.

Meal Type:
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Ingredients
  • 1 cup (250 mL) dried chickpeas
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) each salt, baking powder and paprika
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) chickpea (gram) flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (250 mL) cooked and cooled U.S. brown rice
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) (approx) vegetable oil
  • 5 pita breads
  • 2 or 3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • half cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) finely diced red onion (optional)

Lemon Tahini Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) tahini
  • 6 tbsp (90 mL) lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp (90 mL) water
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt, freshly ground pepper and ground cumin
Directions
  1. In large bowl, pour enough cold water over chickpeas to cover by 2 inches (5 cm); let stand for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Drain well.
  2. In food processor, coarsely chop chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, salt, baking powder, paprika and cayenne, stopping to scrape down sides once or twice. Add flour until blended, about 5 seconds. Add rice, pulsing just until incorporated with some grains remaining. Let stand for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Lemon Tahini Sauce:

  1. In small bowl, whisk tahini with lemon juice until smooth. Whisk in enough water to make pourable sauce.
  2. Pour enough oil in heavy-bottomed skillet to come 1/4 inch (5 mm) up side of pan; heat over medium heat. Shape mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls into balls; flatten to 1/2 –inch (1 cm) thickness. In batches, fry falafel patties, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Transfer to baking tray and keep warm in 200°F (100°C) oven while cooking remaining patties.
  3. Cut each pita in half; open to form pocket. Stuff each with 3 falafel patties, plus some of the tomatoes and cucumber. Drizzle with lemon tahini sauce; sprinkle with red onion, if using.