Hey, guess what? It’s Meatless Monday again!
Okay, for all of you aren’t overly thrilled with this idea, hold on just a sec, pretty please! Really, just give these a chance and I think you’ll be surprised how good these gyros are. Plus, how can you go wrong when you stuff anything into a fresh and fluffy pita, come on? It’s almost a no-fail situation.
Quick life update: So we just found out that our friend Diego, the Spanish teacher who I was telling you about, is going to be coming to stay with us in about a week so we’re all excitedly trying to figure out some details and make the best sleeping arrangements. It’s always fun adding fresh blood to the chaos that is my family’s household. Seriously, there’s always a minimum of a few things going at any given time so life is never boring. Ha, someday if I ever leave this circus to (hopefully) go live happily ever after with my prince charming, I know I’m going to feel a little lost without the level of pandemonium I’m used to. I just might miss it a little even.
Okay, but back to the recipe; You know, I’ve never made falafel before. I know, isn’t that dumb? I’ve tried veggie burgers and similar things, yes, but never falafel. To be honest, I didn’t even know exactly what it was even made with until I started trying different things and cooking all the time. Also, for a while I kind of just mentally categorized it next to meatloaf and Jell-O salad on the just-say-no shelf because it gets such a bad rep from certain crowds. Guess what though, my takeaway after test #1 is YES, please! Basically they’re like fried hummus fritters, what’s not to love about that? Then these specific falafels, I made them with sweet potato because I’m gearing towards all the yummy autumn inspired foods that go with this time of year.
The flavors going on here were a total spur of the moment decision for me because I had actually been planning to make a more traditional Greek gyro recipe with tzatziki and lamb, but somehow or another I got inspired by these very different flavors of Caribbean jerk spice and just went for it. I’m so happy I did too, because now I wouldn’t change a thing (okay, maybe a few tiny little things if I think about it too long because I’m a stubborn perfectionist, but nothing major since they were great as is).
I love Jerk spices with pretty much anything, but in these falafels especially, they were delish. And obviously the pitas are always a going to be a hit no matter what. I couldn’t even make them fast enough to keep up with demand around here if I wanted to, but when I do get in the mood to crank some out they are well appreciated .
Oh, and I’ve just got to add one thing because it was cracking me up when I made these. Depending on how you pronounce “falafel”, it’s sort of a (to-may-to /to-mah-to) thing in my opinion, there are so many puns about it. By the way, have I ever told you about my sister Liv’s thing for puns? It’s borderline certifiable I think. Anyway, she was thinking up so many puns for these it’s ridiculous. For example, “I fa-lah-ful that I’m going to eat all of those pitas, Tori!” Yep, that’s Liv for ya, gotta love her.
Haha, so you really just need to try these gyros, you guys! Even if you are sceptical about the falafel aspect, just once, and then if you don’t love them I’ll stop bugging you about it. Deal? I just might fa-lah-ful if you don’t…….
- 1 1/2 cups (peeled) cooked sweet potato
- 1 2/3 cup cooked garbanzo beans
- -Caribbean Jerk Spices:
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon each of:
- chili powder
- black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- oil for frying
- Your favorite bbq sauce (optional)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 cup washed iceberg lettuce or napa cabbage (I like the crunch from the cabbage)
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup pineapple, diced
- 4 - 6 large pitas (gluten free or vegan if needed) (for homemade pitas you can use this recipe)
- Combine all of the ingredients for the falafel, except the frying oil, in a food processor (a blender will work also if that's all you have) and pulse until combined into a nearly smooth mixture. It should be a thick dough.
- In a large skillet, heat about 1 inch of oil over medium low heat (You can use a deep-fryer for cooking them instead if you have one.) Using a large scoop, form balls and drop them carefully into the pan. Flatten them slightly with a spatula and cook them on each side for about 3 minutes until crispy.*
- If desired, warm the pitas in a foil-packet in the oven or one by one on a lightly greased skillet. Fill each pita with the falafels, your desired veggies, and your favorite bbq sauce if desired. Enjoy!
*Alternatively, the falafel can be baked on a greased baking pan for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F (180 C) until browned. Also, if they seem a bit too soft after frying, baking them for about 10 minutes after they're fried should be enough to help make them more solid.