Every city has it’s own array of food vendors on the street. When people think of New York City street food, hot dogs usually come to mind–but I think falafels may eventually take over. The falafel street vendors are amazing–but the sandwiches they produce are so rich. I can’t begin to imagine the calories and fat grams packed into those pita pockets. Yet, whenever I pass a falafel cart on the street, I find myself in a constant state of falafel-craving all day. So here’s an idea: Rather than a heavy, fried falafel on the sidewalk–a lighter homemade version from Eating Well magazine that comes with a flavorful, but also light, tahini sauce.
1 19-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed (or homemade, see how here)
4 scallions, trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 6-1/2-inch whole-wheat pitas, halved and warmed, if desired
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini (see Ingredient note)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. To prepare burgers: Place chickpeas, scallions, egg, flour, oregano, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides, until a coarse mixture forms that holds together when pressed. (The mixture will be moist.) Form into 4 patties.
2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook until golden and beginning to crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, combine yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
4. Divide the patties among the pitas and serve with the sauce.
Ingredient note: Tahini is a smooth, thick paste made from ground sesame seeds and commonly used in Middle Eastern foods. Look for it in the Middle Eastern section or near other nut butters in large supermarkets.
Nutrition per serving: 399 calories; 15 g fat (3 g saturated fat, 8g mono unsaturated fat); 55 mg cholesterol; 55 g carbohydrates; 15 g protein; 9 g fiber; 743 mg sodium; 494 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Fiber (37% daily value), Folate (32% dv), Vitamin C (30% dv), Iron (20% dv). 3 carbohydrate servings.
Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1 1/2 fat.
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