One of my favorite treats here in New York is the falafel platter from the Halel Guys food cart! Theres something about the crispy falafel balls, smothered in their secret white sauce with the HOTTEST hot sauce I have ever eaten. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! It is one of the most delicious, and cheapest, meals that you can get in the city. This past year they opened up an actual restaurant right down the street from my apartment and I eat there all too often. (It doesn’t hurt that they are open until 4 a.m. every single night!) Seeing as my favorite meal isn’t exactly healthy, I set out to make a lighter, baked version of their falafel platter that I could easily throw together at home.
After searching the internet to find the best, and most traditional falafel recipes, I have come up with my version of these tasty little treats! In my simplified version, I basically throw everything into the food processor and let it do all of the work. The traditional ingredients have so much flavor on their own, you don’t need much to make these patties taste amazing. They are crispy and light with a nice substantial bite, everything you think of when you think falafel!
Now the secret white sauce is really a mystery to recreate, so I didn’t even try. I make a simple tzatziki sauce that pairs so well with the falafel and is super healthy! (Plus it keeps well in the fridge and tastes even better after a few days, and with any veggie you want to dip in it.) My tzatziki is greek yogurt based which makes it nice and creamy with bold flavors of lemon and dill, the cucumber mellows out the tang and rounds out the flavors. The only thing that I don’t make from scratch is the hot sauce… you just can’t recreate perfection 😉 I stock up on the little to go packets that they give you, so my homemade falafel always has the kick I’m looking for!
I serve the falafel patties over a bed of cumin basmati rice with lettuce and tomatoes. Throw it on top of a salad, eat it in a wrap or a pita, the possibilities are endless. Cover it in that beautiful tzatziki and its an almost perfect imitation of the Halel Guys! My favorite NYC food, easy, homemade, and HEALTHY!
Baked Falafel with Homemade Tzatziki Sauce
For the Falafel
- 2 cans of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed well (I use the ones that have no salt added to control the amount of salt in the dish.)
- 1 cup of White Onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of Garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup of loosely packed Cilantro (I love cilantro so I usually throw in a little extra for good measure!)
- 1/4 cup of loosely packed Parsley
- 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
- Juice of half a Lemon
- 1 tablespoon of ground Cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of Salt
- 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
- Combine the chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro, and parsley in a food processor. Pulse until broken down but chunky.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and baking soda. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
- Form the mixture into small patties about 1/2 an inch thick. Place on a plate or cutting board and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the patties from the fridge and evenly space them on an oiled baking sheet.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then flip carefully. Bake another 10-15 minutes until slightly firm and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and cool before serving.
For the Tzatziki
- 1 cup of Plain Greek Yogurt
- 3/4 of a large Cucumber, peeled and finely grated
- 1/4 cup of dill, finely chopped
- 1 clove of Garlic, finely grated (If you don’t want chunks of garlic you can always substitute garlic powder.)
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper for seasoning
**All of these measurements are approximations. I just add the ingredients in small amounts until the flavor tastes right to me!
- In a small mixing bowl, combine yogurt, cucumber, garlic, dill, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour, to allow the flavors to incorporate. (The longer the better for more robust flavor!)
– Melissa ❤