Uh hi, hello, Paris?
I’m sorry, I’m trying to reach France – the country not the Hilton.
Sure, I’ll wait. I understand the confusion.
Oh hi, hello there! My name is Andrea Mitchell and I just wanted to speak with someone about the food there.
No, not the crepes. Uh uh not the croissants or the escargot or even the croque monsieur (though I would like to speak about that at a later date). No, I’m actually calling because…well…you see…hah…it’s a funny thing…I – well – I came there about five years ago around this time in early spring and…ha…oh you see, I just haven’t for the life of me been able to forget that one hot and greasy falafel sandwich I bought at a little shop in your Latin Quarter.
Right, sorry, this is not about the crepes. No, ma’am, please. I don’t mean to insult your finer sensibilities. I have no doubt that the beouf bourguignon is all that. (I’m bringing that phrase back, thankyouverymuch.) Listen, I saw Julie and Julia. I get it.
I just really need to speak to someone about the falafel.
Yes, I realize it’s not French.
Sure, I’d be happy to explain: it’s that hot buttered flatbread filled with crispy fried garbanzo bean patties, crumbled feta, velvety tahini, chopped lettuce, tomato, and sharp red onion.
Right, there’s a shop- it’s actually quite close to Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Mmm hmm just a stone’s throw from Notre Dame.
You’re sure you don’t know which one?
Hmm…well…okay. I guess it’s a lost cause. Thanks for your time.
I’ll just be over here…ya know…thinking about falafel and trying my damndest to ah… recreate a meal I ate five years ago.
No I have nothing better to do.
Nope, no siree bob, not a thing.
Oh! And actually, can you put Paris back on the phone?
Yup, Hilton this time.
This falafel recipe, though not quite as lovely as the one that’s deep fried and waiting for me in the streets of Paris, is absolutely delicious. It’s one of those dinners that really makes me giddy. I like to wrap it in foil or parchment, load it with extra feta and creamy, smooth tahini sauce and eat with my eyes closed and smiling.
The patties are richly spiced with cumin, coriander, and a hit of spicy chili powder. Each one crumbles and almost melts into the silky tahini. There’s a sharpness from the garlic and onion, a brightness from fresh parsley and lemon, and then a cool, satisfying tang from crumbled feta. Find the best, most authentic pita bread you can for this recipe. I recommend a buttery flatbread, warmed in the oven for a few minutes to soften and blister.
Healthy baked falafel drizzled with a fresh tahini sauce all wrapped up in a pita with lettuce, tomato, and feta cheese!
- 2 tablespoons tahini paste
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
- 15oz can chickpeas, drained
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 pita breads (5” diameter)
- 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 pita breads (I like Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran, and Whole Wheat Pita
- In a small bowl, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, and parsley. If needed, add a tablespoon of room temperature water (or more), to thin the sauce to a pourable consistency. Cover and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, combine all falafel ingredients and pulse until well blended. Use your hands to form 8 equal patties and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the patties with cooking spray and bake for 16 to 18 minutes.
- Lay the pitas on a work surface and top each with the lettuce, tomato, and red onion. Divide the hot falafel among the pitas along with 2 tablespoons of feta and 2 tablespoons of lemon-tahini sauce. Fold up and serve!
Nutrition Information (with 60-calorie Joseph’s Flax, Oat Bran, Whole Wheat Pita): Calories 531, Fat 18g, Carb 73g, Fiber 17g, Sugars 1g, Protein 26g
Nutrition Information (without pita): Calories 471, Fat 16g, Carb 65g, Fiber 13g, Sugars 1g, Protein 20g