Green Falafel Pita Sandwich

För recept på svenska, klicka här: Gröna falafel i pitabröd

The resemblance is quite striking, and the similarities between the ingredient lists are hard to argue. But these aren’t quite falafels, after all. Sure, they’re little crispy balls made from chickpeas. Sure, they go very well in a pita bread together with some other plant goodies. But they taste like summer, thanks to heaps of (frozen) dill. And they have a generous amount of greens in them, making sure we all get our micro nutrients for the day. Plus, they have a touch of cheese flavor thanks to nutritional yeast, making them even more scrumptious.

Sautéing the onions before adding them to the batter is maybe not necessary, but highly recommended. It’s one of those steps we skip if in a rush, but whenever we do take the time to do it, it always seems worth it. The flavor it lends is just hard to make up for in other ways. And we use chard here, simply because our freezer still sees tons of it from last summer. Spinach works just as well though, and is by far more readily available in the freezer section of your grocery store. The coleslaw adds crunch, color and a nice tang, and works great with the chickpea balls – but substitutions are fine here as well. Look in your fridge to see what needs to be used up! And the pickled red onions – don’t skip them. Better topping is hard to find. Here, we’ve used the same recipe as for the Loaded Veggie Tacos we posted a while back. We’ll leave you to it now – happy cooking!

Makes 8 pita breads

Pickled red onions

2 medium red onions (~200 g), cut in half and then thinly sliced
2 dl white wine or apple cider vinegar (or a mix of both)
2 dl water
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
3 large garlic cloves, peeled

Chickpea-spinach balls (makes approx. 40)

2 medium onions, finely chopped (~300 g)
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 dl toasted sunflower seeds
6 dl cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (~450 g)
180 g frozen spinach or chard, thawed, excess water squeezed out and then finely chopped
80 g frozen (or fresh) dill, finely chopped
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
4 tbsp flour
Olive oil, salt, black pepper

Coleslaw

5 medium carrots (~500 g), julienned/cut into matchsticks
1/2 head of green cabbage (~500 g), thinly sliced
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp mayonnaise/vegenaise
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
Black pepper

To serve

8 pita breads
Sesame seeds for garnish

  1. Start with the pickled onions by placing the thinly sliced onions in a glass jar (any airtight, food grade container will do, but we prefer glass because it doesn’t hold smell). Choose a container that you’ll more or less fill up over one where you’ll only fill up the bottom. For this, a 5 dl/pint size jar is appropriate. In a small saucepan, stir together water, vinegar(s), salt and sugar. Add in garlic cloves and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat. Pour the hot liquid into the jar, filling up so it covers the onions entirely. Screw on a lid and allow to cool before placing it in the fridge. You’ll end up with some leftovers, but they last in the fridge for up to 6 months.
  2. Move on to making the balls. Sauté the onions in 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt over medium heat for approx. 7-8 min. Stir frequently. Then add in the garlic. Continue cooking for another 2-3 min. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  3. Place the sunflower seeds in a food processor and go until the consistency is coarser than a flour but finer than chopped. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, place onions, garlic, chickpeas and spinach. Mash the ingredients together with a fork, allowing bits to remain and avoiding a puree-like consistency. Add the sunflower seeds and mix them in.
  5. Stir in dill, baking powder, nutritional yeast, flour, 1 tsp salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well.
  6. Heat up olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Roll the batter into balls (if too loose, add in a little more flour) and fry them until golden brown all around. Shake the pan frequently to avoid burning on one side, and don’t pack them pan too tightly – it’s better to do a few rounds of frying. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a week, and the freezer for several months.
  7. As you’re frying the balls, make the cole slaw. Place carrots, cabbage, olive oil and salt in a small bowl. With your hands, massage the ingredients for 1 min. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Mix in with the carrots and cabbage and stir until combined.
  8. Stuff the pita breads with cole slaw, chickpea balls and pickled red onion. Serve right away, and don’t forget a napkin. Enjoy!

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