Monday, May 10, 2010

Mmm, Meat(less)

I have this idea in my head that all meat eaters should eat at least one vegetarian dinner a week. I'd aim for more, but I'm not sure if I could convince a certain someone to eat meatless more than one day a week. Its not that Dave is against vegetarian meals, its more that he seems to consider many of my meal ideas to be not really meals. Broccoli and a baked potato sounds like a meal to me; he seems to disagree.

So the challenge, really, is to come up with a vegetarian meal that actually tastes substantial, hearty, dare I say, almost meaty? There's really one fool proof way to get a meat eater to at least try a vegetarian dish, and I'm sure you'll find that I use this tactic quite frequently--- FRY IT! Does it make food healthy? No. Could you perhaps be taking out a lot of the value of consuming those vitamin laden veggies by coating them in a layer of oil? Most definitely. But hey, you have to start somewhere.

 And I'm starting with Falafel. First time I've ever made it, so lets see how it goes. First, lots of smashing.

This is where I've really come to appreciate my excellent tater masher/pastry blender from Pampered Chef; if anyone's going to break on of these, it'll be me, from the way I use it. The ingredients in this bowl include:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
Adapted from a recipe by Sean

It looks like a lot, but it's not really. Mix all these ingredients together, then shape into patties. Heat up about an inch of oil in a pan until droplets of water "pop" when sprinkled into the pan. Arrange patties in the pan, but don't overcrowd; they'll cook a lot faster. Turn to brown both sides; drain on paper towel.

They look kind of like mini hamburgers, don't they?

I initially intended to make cucumber yogurt dill sauce with this as well, but encountered an unfortunate snafu. I bought Hyvee brand plain yogurt to make it, because it was the cheapest. Turns out, not the smartest idea. I assumed all PLAIN yogurt was the same; unflavored yogurt. How much variance can you really get from that? Turns out Hyvee means "plain" like I mean these falafel are fat free. Which is, not at all. It was sickeningly sweet---perhaps I should have been clued in by how high sugar appears on the ingredients list.

  So needless to say, cucumber yogurt dill sauce was not made. I did, however, prepare some sliced cucumber with a great marinade as a side (cider vinegar, oil, sugar, seasoning salt and pepper. Seriously, awesome). Serve with some warm pitas, maybe some tahini or ranch, and you've got a meal fit for a meat eater.

I honestly wasn't really sure how these would turn out, so I was pretty happy with the result. They were tender on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and nicely spiced. I'd make it again! I think Dave might even eat it again.

Speaking of Dave, in the next week, he may be stealing my blog for a post. He seems to feel that a certain view point on food is not being expressed. I believe he said it will either be about a ham sandwich or Taco Bell. We shall all see----NEXT!


  1. That sounds really good. But I need a ricer. Sounds like I won't be borrowing yours ;-)

  2. that sounds yummy. i'll have to try it!
    but why does everything have to egg in it?!

  3. Well I suppose Rebecca could use a substitute. It might be kind of interesting to see alternative recipes.

    - 2 tbsp cornstarch = 1 egg
    - 2 tbsp arrowroot flour = 1 egg
    - 2 tbsp potato starch = 1 egg
    - 1 heaping tbsp soy powder + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg
    - 1 tbsp soy milk powder + 1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg.
    - 1 banana = 1 egg in cakes.
    - 1 tbsp milled flax seed and 3 tbsp water = 1 egg. Light, fluffy cakes!

  4. Erica, egg is the glue that makes everything come together. You need to learn to love the egg. :)

    I've never tried the replacements above, but that's sounds intriguing. You could probably add one of those, then a bit more water or olive oil.