Hi, friends! And happy March!
I don’t know about you, but this warm winter weather is rubbing me the wrong way. It feels totally gross to be outside in New York in February without a jacket. While most seem to be loving it, I’m not loving it at all. It’s too unnatural for me. So, I’m heading to Florida, where I can actually enjoy the sun and warmth without thinking about this far-out idea called “climate change.”
Ok ok, that’s not why I’m on a plane to Florida right now. I’m actually meeting my mom for a long weekend, just the two of us. I cannot wait for these five days of fun-in-the-sun with mama, and this trip couldn’t come at a better time either. As of this week, I am officially finished with culinary school, including my 100-hour internship. So now it’s time to figure out my life and my future career, and to start making some serious moves. Oh gawd. I think a mini-vacation to both celebrate and recharge is exactly what I need.
Due to lack of routine, blogging my recipes has been inconsistent at best. But honestly, I think part of this inconsistency is due to not knowing what to say, or not yet being brace enough to admit that I’m on an emotional roller coaster. I mean, I’m at a totally transitional place in my life and writing about it forces me to think about and confront this fact. It makes perfect sense that this avoidance is an indication of my fear of the unknown and my lack of control at this point in time, and I would feel ingenuous if I were to write a post without mentioning the most important events and emotions taking place in my life right now.
But at last I realized that if I wanted to share this deliciously awesome falafel sandwich with roasted beets and quick pickled onions, and get on with my life, then I have no choice but to swallow my pride and own up to my feelings. So yes, I feel scared that I won’t live up to my expectations, pressured to start making it happen immediately, and nervous that I’ll make a wrong move or won’t find what I’m looking for. Phew! I must say, I feel better.
Now that I got that out of the way, I can get to the star of today’s post. This falafel sandwich has been on my blogging to-do list for a couple weeks now. Falafel sandwiches, and falafel in general, are a serious comfort food for me. Just like pizza and burritos, a falafel sandwich is a flavorful and satisfying dish that never fails to make me happy. This falafel sandwich is also homemade with clean and wholesome ingredients, making it a healthy and nourishing meal where fresh flat bread encases my baked falafel patties, sweet roasted beets, tangy pickled onions and a creamy tahini sauce. From the layer of flavors and textures, to the bounty of nutrients, fiber and protein, there’s just so much to love. If you don’t consider falafel a comfort food now, maybe you will when you give this recipe a shot.
I made it to Florida!
I’m exhausted and totally high on ocean breeze, so I guess I should call it a night and get this recipe for falafel-awesomeness posted already, right? Right.
Loaded Falafel Pita Sandwiches
Serves: 4 Start to Finish: 1.5 hours
For Roasted Beets
2 beets, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, fine grain
For Pickled Red Onion
1/3 cup water, room temp or slightly warmer
2 teaspoons agave (or other sweetener), optional
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, fine grain
1/3 cup red wine vinegar, plus more to cover onions
1 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
For Lemon-Tahini Sauce
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For Sandwich Assembly
4 pitas, store-bought or homemade (I used Half Baked Harvest’s recipe)
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
Make roasted beets. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss peeled beets with oil and salt. Spread out onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roast until super tender (poke with a knife, no resistance), 45-60 minutes.
Make pickled red onions. In a glass jar (large enough to hold 16 ounces), combine vinegar, water, sweetener (if using) and salt. Stir or shake (lid on), until salt is dissolved. Add onion slices to jar with liquid and push down until all onions are submerged. Add vinegar and water in equal amounts, until onions are easily submerged. If they are not all completely submerged, they will wilt down a bit, simply toss/shake onions periodically until they are fully submerged. Allow onions to sit refrigerated for at least 45 minutes. These will last up to 6 months in the fridge!
Make falafel patties. Drain and rinse soaked beans. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until a smooth mixture is formed (it should still have a visibly grainy texture). Form the batter into 12 patties. The batter will be very wet, but should still form into patties easily.
On a griddle pan or in a frying pan (cast iron recommended), heat a thin layer of olive oil over medium-low heat. Fry patties for 5 minutes per side, or until golden and crisp. Cook patties in batches if needed, replacing oil between batches. Finish by cooking patties in the oven for 10 minutes at 375 degrees, covered in foil.
Make lemon-tahini sauce. Mix together all sauce ingredients until smooth and creamy.
When all components are finished, make sandwiches. Into each pita, spread 2 tablespoons of Thani sauce. Top with 3 falafel patties, 1/4 of the roasted beets, a thin layer of pickled onions, a bit of lettuce and more sauce to taste.