Falafel with Piquillo Yogurt Sauce

Falafel is one of my favorite foods to order when at a middle eastern restaurant.  Of course they are deep fried, so they aren’t too healthy of an option.  Mum and I decided to try our own, and they turned out to be a pretty delicious and healthy dinner.  We served it with couscous, sliced cucumber and some naan.  I would surely make this dinner again, it was delicious!

for the falafel:
2 cups chick peas
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 or 2 serrano chiles, chopped
2 green onions (white and green part) finely chopped
3 tablespoons each chopped fresh parsley, mint & cilantro
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400° with the rack in the upper third.  Drain the chickpeas through a colander then place on a baking sheet line with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture; they should be totally dry.  Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and serrano chile and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the chickpeas to a food processor, add the garlic mixture, green onions, parsley, mint, cilantro, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, baking powder, salt and pepper and process until the mixture if finely ground, stopping to crape the bowl every 30 seconds.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

Form the mixture into balls the size of ping pong balls and place on a large baking sheet.  Brush with olive oil and place in oven for 15 minutes.  Flip them over, brushing with a bit more oil, and continue to bake until golden, about 15 more minutes.

piquillo pepper yogurt sauce:
2 cups thick greek yogurt
3 piquillo peppers
1 teaspoon smoke paprika
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
salt & freshly ground pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth; season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a small bowl.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, covered, to allow the flavors to meld.

makes: about 20 falafel & 2½ cups yogurt sauce
time: 45 min prep + 30 min cooking
adapted from: Bobby Flay

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