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Falafel pitas

Falafel, the traditional Middle Eastern bean patties, are usually deep–fried. This updated version, delicately spiced and crunchy with grated carrot, is baked for a lower fat result, but is just as delicious. When served in pita pockets with salad and dressing, the falafel makes a filling meal.

Falafel pitas

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, about 400 g, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • good pinch of cayenne pepper
  • good pinch of turmeric
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 large, oval pita breads, about 75 g each
  • ½ cos lettuce or 1 heart of cos lettuce, shredded
  • 2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup (90 g) low–fat natural yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Put the chickpeas in a bowl with the oil and use a potato masher to mash them until quite smooth.
  4. Mix in the cumin, cayenne pepper, turmeric, garlic, lemon juice, carrot, coriander, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Alternatively, mix all the ingredients, except the carrot and coriander, in a food processor.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the carrot and coriander.
  7. Shape the mixture into 16 flat, round patties, each about 3 cm across, and place them on the paper–lined baking tray.
  8. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until crisp and lightly browned, turning them over halfway through the cooking time.
  9. About 3 minutes before the falafel have finished cooking, put the pita breads in the oven to warm.
  10. Then split the breads in half widthwise and gently open out each half to make a pocket.
  11. Half–fill the pita bread pockets with the shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes, then divide the falafel among them.
  12. Mix together the yogurt and mint, season with salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle over the falafel.
  13. Serve hot.

Serves 4
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 15-20 minutes

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