“College taught me many things, but in the food department I’m thankful that my college cafeteria introduced me to falafel. When I walked up to the vegetarian-friendly line my freshman year, I had never heard of the little fried chickpea balls, but the obsession started immediately after I bit into my first one. It took me a while to perfect a recipe to use at home, but I’ve found that the spice mixture below brings me back to that college cafeteria experience. I like adding quinoa to my falafel because it adds extra fiber and protein, as well as a boost in texture. Instead of deep-frying my falafel, I simply bake them to firm them up, then quickly pan-fry them to give them a good crunch on the outside. The refreshing tzatziki is tangy, cool, and a perfect balance to the spiced falafel patties.” — Katie Parker, author of The High-Protein Vegetarian Cookbook
Recipe courtesy of The High-Protein Vegetarian Cookbook
Bring the water to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Pulse together the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and other spices in a food processor. Process until everything is finely chopped (it won’t become completely smooth, and that’s okay). Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the quinoa. Add the egg yolk and stir until fully incorporated.
Shape the dough into eight balls, and then flatten with your palm into about ½-inch-thick patties. Transfer to a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip each patty, and bake for another 10 minutes.
Heat half of the oil in a large nonstick fry pan. Place four of the patties in the heated oil and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining oil and remaining patties.
Place the grated cucumber in a fine-mesh strainer set over the sink or a bowl, and let drain for 10 to 15 minutes.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
Fill each pita half with two falafel patties, tzatziki, and any other toppings you like (I recommend crunchy romaine leaves, tomato slices, and red onion).