Spinach Falafel Recipe with Tzatziki

falafel cut in half

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I have been getting a Hello Fresh or Home Chef box now and again during the pandemic as we are not going out to dinner. In some ways the food boxes are similar in that while I still have to cook, I don’t have to think. Sometimes not thinking is just what I need.

In one of the boxes there was a recipe for roasted chick peas.

Oh.My.Word. I never would have thought to roast chick peas! In fact, the only thing I ever thought to do with them was to make hummus. But thanks to that food box my chick pea world has expanded exponentially. For the first time in 40+ years of cooking I have made falafel. Yes, a Middle Eastern staple that has been around since the late 1800s has at last shown up in my kitchen.

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I am ashamed it has taken this long. All because of a recipe for roasted chick peas and a case sale at the local food store that had us buying 12 cans of chick peas. This has caused me to wonder what to do with all of them beyond roasting them and putting them in a salad.

I knew falafel existed and I knew it was made with chick peas but that was the extent of my knowledge. A recipe search ensued and I set about making them only to find I was missing a major ingredient. *sigh* I was too far in at this point so I made a major substitution and I have either totally corrupted what a falafel is or created a new subset of falafel. Either way they were mighty tasty and we both enjoyed them.

I did make the traditional tzatsiki sauce to go with them. It’s a sauce we both love and one I hadn’t made in quite some time – another lack in my kitchen but one that one happen again as we were reminded as to how good it is. So read on for an unconventional falafel and a traditional sauce.

Spinach Falafel with Tzatziki

  • 1 15 ounce can of chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup chopped, fresh spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  •  2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I used homemade)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch ground pepper, or to taste
  • canola oil for pan frying

    For the Tzatziki:
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • salt
make falafel dough
  • Mash chickpeas in a bowl using a masher. Combine mashed chickpeas, spinach, and garlic in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Mix eggs, cumin, coriander, salt, lemon juice, baking powder, and black pepper together in a bowl. Add chick pea mixture and mix together.
make falafel patties
  • Add bread crumbs slowly and combine using your hands until mixture isn’t sticky, but will hold together when frying.
  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Form mixture into about 12 patties about as wide as the palm of your hand. Fry patties in the hot oil until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

For the Tzatziki:

  • Drain the yogurt in a lined colander until as much liquid as possible leeches out.
  • While the yogurt is draining, peel the cucumber and grate into a small bowl. Sprinkle with about 1 TBS salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Squeeze the grated cucumber in batches to get out as much liquid as possible. I do this by small handfuls. Set aside into a bowl until it is all squeezed.
make tzatziki
  • Stir together the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Add the cucumber.
  • Taste and add salt if needed.

How Was the Spinach Falafel Recipe?

Well….I have nothing to compare it to as I have never had a traditional falafel before so I can only tell you what I think of what I made. And in my opinion they were mighty tasty. I’m already thinking of the possibilities for this recipe as a substitute for all kinds of things going forward.

falafel cut in half

The falafel patties were very moist and quite flavorful. I did end up making my own breadcrumbs because much like the parsley I also did not have enough bread crumbs on hand. This, I think turned out in the recipe’s favor as I feel the crumbs I made with stale homemade challah (I had it in the freezer for either stuffing or bread crumbs) were far better to this purpose than the panko I usually have on hand.

I do strongly suggest though, that you read through a recipe before you start making it because that just makes for an overall less frustrating cooking/baking experience.

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