Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Falafel With Balsamic Tomato Relish

If you've ever visited Iowa State University and made your way down to Welch Avenue later in the evening, you know about the Gyro Man.  Back before selling food from a cart or food truck was trendy, the Gyro Man was always busy during the late night hours feeding hungry college kids and opening the gateway for students to enjoy Greek cooking.  I know the classic gyro is actually more of an Americanized item and I was usually more than slightly buzzed when I'd hit the gyro stand; however, those were some of the best gyros and falafel I've ever tasted.  

Now I'm much more responsible and try to recreate gyros and falafel in the comfort of my own home.  It is still not as great as the Gyro Man's, but this dish is much more, dare I say, elegant?  I must also say that my recipe is much more healthy.  I've cut out the gluten and frying, bumped up the fiber by using ground flax seed as a binder, and added sophisticated flavors through the use of fresh herbs.  I think this would be a lovely meal all by itself if one chose to bulk up the portion size or a nice summertime appetizer.  

Falafel with Balsamic Tomato Relish

For the falafel:
1 can chickpeas
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 tablespoon water

For the tomato relish:
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon or drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Add the chickpeas, carrots, red onion, and spices to a food processor and roughly chop. Add the flaxseed and water and mix until the chickpeas become a rough paste. 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and swirl the olive oil. With your hands, scoop the chickpea mixture and flatten the mixture in your hands to form your patties. Add the patties, one or two at a time depending on the size of your skillet and cook for 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip the patty or patties and cook for another 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and plate.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, toss the tomatoes and herbs together.  Drizzle the balsamic, honey, and olive oil over the tomatoes and toss until combined.  Top the relish over the falafel.  You can also top with a little non-fat Greek yogurt and kalamata olives if you choose.  This is great served on its own or in a pita pocket.

In other news, I will be attending my first class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City.  The class is based on gluten-free cooking techniques from appetizer courses all the way to dessert.  I can't wait to share what I learn!


  1. Love your elegant falafels, these looks wonderful and delicious.

  2. This recipe looks and sounds very nice! Thanks for sharing.