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Falafel Pitas with Goat Cheese Sauce

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr
Yield 4 servings (serving size: 2 stuffed pita halves)
These baked chickpea patties are much leaner than traditional falafel. Using soaked (but not cooked) dried chickpeas creates a hearty flavor and texture for the falafel that you won't get with canned beans. A small amount of goat cheese goes far in the yogurt sauce.

Ingredients

  • Falafel:
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (6-inch) whole wheat pita, torn into large pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 large egg whites
  • Cooking spray
  • Relish:
  • 2 cups chopped seeded plum tomato
  • 1 cup chopped seeded English cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 serrano chile, minced
  • Sauce:
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) soft (log-style) goat cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Remaining ingredient:
  • 4 (6-inch) whole wheat pitas, halved

Nutrition Information

  • calories 450
  • caloriesfromfat 17 %
  • fat 8.7 g
  • satfat 3.3 g
  • monofat 1.8 g
  • polyfat 2.1 g
  • protein 24.9 g
  • carbohydrate 72.3 g
  • fiber 14.9 g
  • cholesterol 10 mg
  • iron 6.2 mg
  • sodium 997 mg
  • calcium 315 mg

How to Make It

  1. To prepare falafel, sort and wash chickpeas, and place in a large bowl. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; cover and let stand 8 hours or overnight. Drain.

  2. Preheat oven to 350º.

  3. Combine chickpeas and next 11 ingredients (through 2 chopped garlic cloves) in a food processor; pulse 8 to 10 times or until finely chopped. Spoon mixture into a bowl. Add egg whites to chickpea mixture, and stir well. Let stand 15 minutes. Divide mixture into 16 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Place patties on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350º for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

  4. To prepare relish, combine tomato and next 5 ingredients (through chile).

  5. To prepare sauce, combine yogurt, goat cheese, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1 minced garlic clove, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

  6. Place 2 falafel patties in each pita half; spoon about 1/3 cup relish and 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce into each pita half. Serve immediately.