Skip the fried version and try this baked falafel with lemon tahini sauce! It’s healthier and just as flavorful with 530 calories per loaded sandwich!
Is it weird that the best falafel I’ve ever had was in Paris? Let me know.
The problem is, I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the shop that made it. Sometimes, just thinking of how life-changing it was, makes me want to call some Parisian operator, if there were such a thing–and I’m pretty sad and certain there’s not–to try to get to the bottom of it.
It would be a hard conversation, though. And not entirely because of the language barrier. More because, when I tell them I’m calling to find a restaurant, and they, trying to help, offer up a long list of creperies and restaurants with the best escargot, it won’t be easy to say, “Uh, no. No, I’m actually calling because…well…ha, you’re going to see how funny this is in a minute. So, I came there about 5 years ago around this time in early spring and I just haven’t for the life of me been able to forget this one hot and greasy falafel sandwich I bought at a little shop in your Latin Quarter.”
“…I realize it’s not French.”
See what I mean?
So I just try my best to recreate it here. Though, knowing that I can’t have the real deal, I do try to lighten it up, and I’m telling you, the results are fantastic. Not fried–but still super flavorful. When you’re making a wrap with sauce and cheese, you don’t miss the deep-fry all that much.
These little patties are spiced with cumin, coriander, and a hit of chili powder. Each one crumbles and almost melts into the silky tahini. There’s a savory-sharpness from the garlic and onion, a brightness from fresh parsley and lemon, and then a cool, satisfying tang from crumbled feta. Find the best, most authentic pita bread you can for this recipe. I recommend a buttery flatbread, warmed in the oven for a few minutes to soften.
This is one of those dinners that really makes me giddy. I like to wrap it in foil or parchment so that once you load it with toppings, nothing is escaping.
Baked Falafel with Lemon Tahini Sauce
Lemon Tahini Sauce
- 2 tablespoons tahini paste
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
- 15 oz can chickpeas drained
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ¼ cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 pita breads 5” diameter
- 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 pita breads (I like Joseph's Flax Oat Bran, and Whole Wheat Pita
- In a small bowl, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, and parsley. If needed, add a tablespoon of room temperature water (or more), to thin the sauce to a pourable consistency. Cover and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, combine all falafel ingredients and pulse until well blended. Use your hands to form 8 equal patties and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the patties with cooking spray and bake for 16 to 18 minutes.
- Lay the pitas on a work surface and top each with the lettuce, tomato, and red onion. Divide the hot falafel among the pitas along with 2 tablespoons of feta and 2 tablespoons of lemon-tahini sauce. Fold up and serve!