Earlier this year, some friends invited us over for a dinner party. They made an amazing Mediterranean spread that I have wanted to recreate ever since. When I got the June issue of Clean Eating last week and saw an entire article on falafel, I knew I had to try it this week. Instead of following the recipe for the traditional chickpea pita sandwich from the magazine, I took all the components and made my own version of our friend’s dinner feast.
Falafel is REALLY easy. I don’t know why I thought it was hard to make. It’s just chickpeas and spices pureed together and cooked in little patties. The sauce is tahini mixed with lemon juice and paprika. You can eat this traditionally by layering the falafel and tahini sauce with veggies in a pita. Or you can make a mock tabbouleh salad to scoop up with pita bites.
- 1/2 c whole wheat Israeli couscous
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/4 bell pepper
- 1 small Roma tomato
- 2 T dried parsley
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Toast couscous in a dry saucepan until lightly browned. Add 1 1/2 c water and bring to a boil. Simmer until water is absorbed and couscous is soft.
- Dice cucumber, bell pepper, and tomato into small pieces. Combine with parsley, lemon juice, and salt.
- Toss with warm couscous until mixed well. Season with extra salt and pepper as needed. Serve with tahini sauce.
This was SO GOOD. I cut pita bread into triangles and warmed them in the oven before using the pieces as my fork to scoop up the couscous and falafel. I’m glad the husband wasn’t here for this dinner, so I could have some leftover for lunch tomorrow!
Sometimes I wonder why I spend my entire weekends in the kitchen. Yes, I LOVE baking and cooking and experimenting – I could spend every day in the kitchen and be perfectly content. But weekends get stressful when there are things to do besides food! Weekends like this one … planning ahead for the week almost didn’t happen. But the reward of having everything ready is no stress during the week. At least in theory. This week, I planned out breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks for both the husband and myself. This meant two completely separate menus since we eat completely different things. I make it less stressful by using only one cookbook and using lists for each menu and my grocery list. Having a plan is really helpful for both the grocery list and shopping and for calorie control – we graze less when we are prepared!
So what’s on the menu for this week?
- experimenting with “loaded oats” for breakfast – adding rice protein powder to my regular oatmeal for the extra protein boost
- making my own pancake mix so we can whip up single servings instead of large batches in the morning
- healthy cookies for the inevitable sweet tooth
- soup! miso soup and chicken chili go a long way for lunch
- quick grain and veggie dinners since this week is just as hectic as last
- reinventing the standard hummus recipe
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 T water
1 T olive oil
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1 T tahini
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sage
salt and pepper
Combine chickpeas, water, and olive oil in a food processor.
Add pumpkin butter, tahini, garlic and sage and mix until smooth.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy with pita chips and zucchini slices.
Copyright 2016 Neat & Nutritious.
Per serving (1/4 c): 56 calories, 7 g carbohydrate, 3 g fat, 2 g protein, 201 mg sodium, 1 g sugar