Remember Party Girl with Parker Posey? That was the first time I'd heard of falafel. Nobody was serving falafel or hummus or anything remotely Middle Eastern in my small Arkansas hometown in 1995. But Parker Posey had a crush on her neighborhood falafel vendor and that was enough to convince a 14-year-old, newly-vegetarian, tiny punk rock Bianca that falafel must be delicious.
I didn't get a chance to try the fried chickpea patties until years later ... maybe not even until I moved to Memphis in 2002. But now I'm a little sad I missed out all those years. We have this fabulous place in Memphis called Pita Wraps, and they stuff the BEST falafel in the world into giant pitas, along with hummus and all the fixins.
I've got no problem with the occasional fried food, but since I've been pigging out on all sorts of junk lately, I figured it was high time I try the Baked Falafel from Appetite for Reduction:
Yep, that's a tiny baked falafel ball hiding out in my pita. And it was pretty damn good for health food. Was it as satisfying as a fried falafel ball? Not quite. But the guilt-free feeling more than made up for the lack of a greasy bite.
I also made a batch of Isa'a Horseradish-Dill Hummus from Appetite for Reduction to spread inside the pita. It's tahini-free, which means far less calories and fat than regular hummus. To tell you the truth, I didn't even miss the taste of the tahini. But I know tahini is super-good for you, so I did feel a little like I was cheating myself in the nutrition department by leaving it out.
That white sauce is a homemade tzatziki sauce: 1/2 cup plain soy yogurt, one grated cucumber, one minced garlic clove, and lots of dried dill and black pepper. Can you guess what the red stuff is? Yep, sriracha!! Of course.
On the side, I made some of my Summer Tomato Salad:
I talked about this in my Jazzy Vegetarian Radio interview last week, and you can find the super-simple recipe here. It's juicy summer tomatoes, green peppers, Vidalia onion, and cucumber marinated in olive oil and vinegar. Yum!