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Baked Falafel & Mint Tahini Sauce

On this clear, warm spring day, falafel is just a perfect meal. Imagine enjoying this beautiful plate outside at a city cafe or on the deck in your backyard. Even before I ate clean, I always felt good eating a hot and crispy falafel over fresh greens (even though I was probably eating very deep fried falafel from the food trucks in Manhattan!!) This super clean version is packed with flavor, and they are perfect as a main course with Tahini sauce, a snack, on a salad with Tahini vinaigrette, in a rice bowl, or as a “burger”. Only 90 calories for one falafel with tahini. Notes: My recipe calls for both chickpeas and sweet potatoes BUT you can choose to leave out the sweet potato and just use chickpeas instead. (But then you have to double the amount of chickpeas.) Also, for a Tahini sauce, don’t add the vinegar (which is listed in the ingredients parenthetically.) Of course, to make a Tahini vinaigrette, add the vinegar. (ALWAYS add the oil LAST when making a sauce or dressing...that way it can be added slowly and mix smoothly, or emulsify, with the other ingredients. Also, as usual, to be sugar-free, you can replace the small amount of honey in the sauce/dressing with granulated stevia as I describe below...but, for me, the calories from honey are negligible). Finally, for the sauce/dressing, if you don’t have sesame oil or don’t like it, just use olive or avocado oil but make sure to compensate the measurement....meaning, you need a TOTAL of 1/2 cup of oil, whether it’s one kind or two different kinds.) Enjoy this perfect warm weather meal and PLEASE send comments! Ingredients Falafel: • 1 cup cooked quinoa • 1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed • 1 small raw sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks • 1/2 cup almonds • 1 egg • 1 medium onion, cut into big chunks • 5 garlic cloves • 2-4 tsp salt • 4 tsp cumin • 2 tsp coriander, ground • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper • 1 tbsp dried parsley (1/4 cup fresh) • 4 tbsp sesame oil (or avocado oil) • 2 tbsp almond or quinoa flour • 1/4 tsp baking soda • 1/2 cup water • Clean cooking spray Tahini Sauce: • 1/2 cup tahini • 1 shallot • 1 lemon, juiced • Rind of one lemon • 1 garlic clove, large • 1/4 tsp, each salt & pepper • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves • 1/4 cup fresh parsley • 1/4 cup of sesame oil • 1/4 cup olive or avocado oil • 2-3 Tbsp of raw organic honey (OR 1 tbsp granulated stevia) • {1/2 cup apricot balsamic or white balsamic vinegar} Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, line large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. 2. Cook quinoa as per package instructions and set aside. 3. In a food processor or blender, add Falafel ingredients (except quinoa and cooking spray) and blend until semi- smooth with some smaller chickpea chunks left. (Do NOT create a paste. It should still be coarse.) 4. Transfer to a large bowl along with quinoa and mix with spatula until well combined. 5. Using a small scoop or a tablespoon, roll the mixture into golf size balls and place on a baking sheet. Flatten them gently into patties that are about 1/2 inch thick. 6. Spray the tops with clean cooking spray and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy, turning once. 7. While falafel is baking make the sauce by processing Tahini Sauce/Vinaigrette. Place all of the tahini ingredients in a blender or food processor (except the oil) and pulse until smooth. Slowly add the oil to the mixture as the last step, allowing it to combine smoothly and emulsify with the other ingredients. 8. Serve falafel hot... as a main course, a snack, over a salad, in a rice bowl, or as a burger/sandwich. ___________________________ Ideas for a rice bowl base: • quinoa/brown rice, seasoned lightly with turmeric, salt & pepper • cauliflower florets • baby spinach, lightly wilted over heat • cucumber • avocado chunks • Savoy or red cabbage (julienned & lightly wilted) • heirloom or baby tomatoes • fresh or dried dill (to taste) • salt & pepper (to taste) • vegan “feta” cheese crumbles

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