August 7, 2014

B'tay Avon!

One of my favorite parts of living in Israel was the food - fresh hot pita from the bakery, savory juicy shwarma carved right in front of you, creamy hummus at every meal and crispy falafel covered in tahini sauce and salads/veggies. I've tried to recreate as many of those foods as I can on my own, and when I can't, I simply head over to any local Middle Eastern restaurant and indulge my craving. 

Since I've been on this Standard Elimination Diet (SED); however, it's not that simple. I can't eat anything from a restaurant, on the off-chance that it's been contaminated by something that will cause me to flare. Usually, I've found that nightshades are the culprit, as paprika, red pepper flakes, and cayenne are used very often as a spice...especially in falafel. Who knew!? 

I did find a recipe, though, that allowed me to adapt falafel to my SED, and when I paired it with some homemade hummus (coming in another post) and tahini sauce, it really hit the spot. Now, it's definitely nowhere near as good as my favorite falafel stand in the middle of Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem (chetzi eish t'nor em chips, hummus, tahini, v'kol h'salateem, b'vakasha!) but it was pretty dang good. Even the threenager liked it - never mind the fact that we had to agree that it was a Spongebob crabby patty. He ate it, and that's what counts! 

Falafel Burger 

2-3 large garlic cloves
Packed ½ cup fresh parsley
Packed ½ cup fresh cilantro
½ cup scallions, rough chopped
2 14.5 ounce cans chickpeas  rinsed and drained-reserving at least 2 TBS of the liquid
1 cup rolled oats (I used flaxseed meal for allergies, which worked nicely!)
2 ½ TBS fresh lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 ½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt (I would leave this out, as it made it too salty)
¼ tsp pepper
Optional: red pepper flakes for heat 

Using your food processor, chop garlic, parsley, cilantro and scallions until fine.

Add in everything else, and process, but be careful not to over process into a paste. It's good for their to be texture differences, but yet you want it to be able to hold patty forms. If it's too dry, add in a little bit of the reserved chickpea liquid.

Transfer the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat a nonstick skillet on medium-high until hot, and form patties while you wait. You can either dry fry them until crispy, or use a little bit of EVOO. Place patties into the pan and cook for about 5 minutes per side, until browned.

Notes: Veggie burgers can be served immediately or refrigerated for up to a week. Simply reheat them in a pan, a toaster or a microwave before serving.

Alex and I thought these tasted best when you added a little more crunch/texture to them. Serve with cucumbers, lettuce, Israeli salad, or any other toppings that you enjoy!

Tahini Sauce 
¼ cup tahini
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 Tbsp water
Dash of salt (optional)

Combine everything in a bowl and mix well. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.