We've been experimenting with some protein-packed vegetarian meals. These Middle Eastern pita sandwiches are hearty for the family and light on the budget. Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are a great source of energy and they're very inexpensive to buy. You might try out the bulk section at your local grocery store or find them with canned beans. This fresh salad uses summer produce straight from the garden or farmer's market.
2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (can use dried, soak overnight)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic
2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 cups plain yogurt
salt, pepper, paprika to taste
1 small cucumber, cubed
1 small tomato, cubed
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon parsley
1 package whole wheat pita bread
1. In a food processor or blender, combine chickpeas/garbanzos, egg, lime and lemon juice and spices. Pulse until blended but do not overmix or the mixture will turn runny like hummus.
2. Spread out panko breadcrumbs in shallow dish.
3. Form bean mixture into small footballs or patties. Press onto breadcrumbs until coated on both sides. Refrigerate if soft for about one hour.
4. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Brown patties on both sides.
5. Meanwhile, mix yogurt sauce. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and paprika to taste.
6. Combine cucumbers, tomatoes and onions in a bowl. Mix in parsley and olive oil.
7. Slice open pita breads. Add browned falafel to each pita bread and serve.
8. Allow guests to add yogurt sauce and cucumber mixture to pitas or serve on side.
Side Dish suggestion: Couscous