One of the best things about Greek food is the creamy and tangy cucumber yogurt sauce with the name that's fun to say, tzatziki! Incredibly versatile, tzatziki can be used as a spread, a dip, or a sauce – the possibilities are endless! When I was in college, there was a little coffee shop/bistro next to campus that had the best Greek veggie burger in town with spinach, feta, red onion, and balsamic vinaigrette. Inspired by my favorite college meal, for the second week of the Healthy Greek Eats (HGE) recipe challenge, I decided to make a Greek falafel burger. This is a filling and flavorful vegetarian alternative to a traditional meat patty. The falafel gives the dish crunch and spice balanced with cool and creamy HGE tzatziki.
For the falafel:
1 cup dried chickpeas or 16 oz. can of chickpeas (fava beans may be substituted)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
2 Tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (Optional: If you like a little heat)
Oil for frying (I generally use vegetable oil)
If using dried chickpeas, place in bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak overnight.
Drain chickpeas and boil in fresh water for approximately 5 minutes, then simmer on low for about an hour. Drain and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, in a medium bowl. Add flour.
Mash chickpeas until mixed into a thick paste. This can also be done in a food processor.
Form the mixture into patties to fit the size of your choice of bun. They work best about ¾ inch thick and about 2 ½ - 3 inches in diameter.
Fry in oil until golden brown (about 6-8 minutes), flipping the patty about halfway through.
(For a quicker version, falafel mix can be found in the ethnic food aisle of most grocery stores)
Healthy Greek Eats tzatziki (a must!)
Bun of choice (I like whole wheat sandwich thins)
A sprinkling of feta