Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pitas with Baked Falafel and Tzatziki Sauce

I don't know what got me feeling all Greek the other day, but this was one fabulous meal!
Homemade Pitas from Brown Eyed Baker, Baked Falafel and Tzatziki sauce from Kalyn's Kitchen. Light and healthy, but very satisfying, and a good way to up your veggie intake!

for the pitas
  • 3 cups of flour (I used all-purpose, but plan on using at least half wheat next time)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) yeast. (regular or instant is fine, just dissolve your yeast in the water and sugar for about 5 minutes if you use regular active dry yeast)
  • 1 1/4-1 1/2 C warm water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
1. In a large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer, combine all ingredients, mixing with a wooden spoon or paddle attachment until well combined. Either switch to the dough hook, or turn out onto a floured work surface if kneading by hand. Knead for 10 minutes, adding more water or flour as needed, 1 Tbsp at a time, until you have a smooth and elastic dough, moist but not sticky.
2. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk.
3. When doubled, punch down dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. (Use a kitchen scale if you want. I didn't.) Roll each piece into a ball, cover them with a damp towel and let them rest for 20 minutes. The resting lets the dough relax so it's easier to roll out.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into an approximate 6-in circle, about 1/4"-1/8" thick. Place pitas on a lightly greased baking sheet or some waxed paper. Allow to rise, uncovered, until almost doubled in thickness, about a half hour.
5. While pitas are rising, preheat oven to 400. Place either a baking stone or over-turned baking sheet on the middle rack to preheat as well- this will be your baking surface, it needs to be hot too.
6. Open the oven, and without removing your baking surface, place as many pitas as can fit without touching. (I could fit 2 at a time on my baking stone, but they seemed to puff up better if I only did one at a time. A wide spatula worked well for both putting them in the oven and taking them out.) Bake about 5 minutes. They should puff up and be slightly browned on the bottom. (Not all of mine puffed up very well, but that's ok. They still tasted good.) Best served warm, but I wouldn't recommend reheating them in the microwave, unless you like a tough pita. In a low oven, or just over a burner works.

for the falafel
  • 1 can (15oz) chickpeas, drained (you can also soak 1 cup dried chickpeas in water overnight, but who keeps dried chickpeas on hand?)
  • 1 C chopped onion
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2-4 Tbsp flour (any kind will do)
1. Put chickpeas, onion, parsley, cilantro, garlic, salt and cumin in the bowl of a food processor. (I don't have a food processor, I just put it in a medium sized bowl and used my hand blender.) Pulse until mixture is well chopped and combined, but not pureed. Sprinkle over baking powder and flour and pulse a few more times to combine. Mixture should easily stick together when rolled into a ball. If not, add a little more flour. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and chill for a few hours to overnight. (I didn't do this, I didn't see that step, they still turned out good. Might have been more flavorful if I had, though)
2. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Shape the mixture into 12 balls, pressing each one flat into a patty a touch less than 1/2" thick. Place on baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, flipping the patties halfway through, till brown on both sides. Serve warm.

for the tzatziki sauce, and no, I have no idea how to pronounce it properly
  • 1 1/2 C non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • salt for the cucumber, plus salt and pepper to taste
1. Place cucumbers in a colander and generously salt them, about 1 Tbsp. Let stand for 30 minutes to drain. Rinse, drain well and pat dry.
2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. (I have a little 2 cup mini food processor/chopper thingy I used for this. It wasn't big enough for the falafel. A hand blender would work too.) Process until well blended. Chill for a couple hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend. (This I did do. I thought it was too lemony at first, but it mellowed out and was really tasty after some time in the fridge.)

These are all delicious on their own, but together make one tasty sandwich. Use a sharp knife to cut the pitas in half, and use a sharp pointy knife to help open the pocket, if necessary. I just added some spinach, but you could add anything you want; sliced red onion, sliced cucumber, hummus, lettuce, tomato...

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I didn't realize pitas were so easy to make! Definitely going to put this on the menu for next week. YummY!