Greenslove: Baked Spinach Falafel with Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

I have always been a fan of trying new foods from different cultures and parts of the world, even when I was a child I was not too afraid to dabble in traditional Chinese food, all kinds of Mexican food (I do live in Southern California!), Japanese, Italian and of course Polish food that was fed to me by my grandparents. My palate didn’t really diversify until I was in college and a little after I graduated; I tried Indian food for the first time and immediately fell in love.

But, there was Mediterranean dishes that I had become enamored with, and as a whole, this food appeals to me even more now that I am vegan. With refreshing dishes like tabouleh and cucumber salads, bold use of garlic and onion, many vegetarian options, and of course, hummus, how can you go wrong?

This brings me to the first time that I tried falafel. With its crunchy, albeit fried, exterior; the warm middle, seasoned with cumin and parsley is comforting but not too heavy. Don’t get me started on the tzatziki sauce; even though the first one that I tried was from Daphne’s (a chain restaurant) I could not stop eating it. Ever since I went vegan I’ve been dreaming of recreating my own tzatziki sauce to try out, hoping that it would live up to my aged expectations.

For this recipe, I changed things up a little. I had made baked falafel before, using a recipe from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Moskowitz, so I knew some of the ingredients that would be essential to making these; otherwise I sort of went with it to see what would happen. πŸ˜‰ Because these are baked, and not fried, they are lower in fat but aren’t extra crispy on the outside. Also, I pulsed my falafel mixture a little too much in the processor so it was of a smoother consistency than I desired; make sure not to do that!


Baked Spinach Falafel
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Main Course
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This is a delightful, and healthier take on the tradition falafel recipe. With some added greenery, and being baked instead of fried it's perfect for that well-rounded dinner.
Ingredients
  • 3 Cups Cooked Chickpeas
  • 2 Cups Baby Spinach, Loosely Packed
  • 1 Cup White Onion, Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley, Minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Ground Coriander
  • ¼ tsp. Paprika
  • ¼ tsp. Black Pepper
  • ½ tsp. Sea Salt
  • ½ Cup Rolled Oats
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients, except for the rolled oats, into a food processor. Pulse the mixture until it is in between a chunky consistency and a paste (much like very coarse sand). Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350Β°F. Fold the rolled oats into the mixture until it is evenly combined.
  3. Form 2-3 tbsp.-sized spheres on a greased baking sheet about 1½" apart from each other. Pat them down so that they are about 1" thick, this is so they bake more evenly.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then very carefully turn them over and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. The top and bottom should have a little brown on them.
  5. Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes, serve.

Now, for the vegan tzatziki sauce. When I recreate sauces or recipes at home for the first time, using whole foods and great ingredients, it genuinely makes me happy. Actually, I lied. It only makes me happy when they are successful! Let me tell you, this one was definitely successful and I truly cannot get enough of it. I based it off of an existing non-vegan recipe for tzatziki sauce, but modified it, and made half of the recipe because it would have been overwhelming!

Cashew-Based Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Raw Cashews, Soaked for 1-2 hours
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Cucumber, Grated
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Small Clove of Garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. Dried Dill
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the cashews, water, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and dried dill into a blender and puree until extremely smooth, add the salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Drain the grated cucumber slightly then fold into the sauce while it is inside of the blender. Pulse a couple of times so that the sauce is still chunky.
  3. Refrigerate for half an hour before serving so that it will give the full effect once used.

This wrap definitely hit the spot, and you better believe I was piling on the extra tzatziki sauce. I wish that I had some pitas on hand for this, but warmed flour tortillas were used instead. Eat these falafel in hand-held form like I did, with some spinach or even romaine, red onion, sprouts, and tomato. Mmm.. This is what was left of them.

Β The bloghop, this month, is filled with so many amazing blogs! I love that I’m able to be a part of it, and continue to share the foodie love. Here’s a list of all of the bloggers that are participating!

Cheap Ethnic Eatz ~ Evelyne ~ @cethniceatz
Easily Good Eats ~ Three Cookies
Oh Cake ~ Jessica ~ @jesshose

Please join in on the #greenslove fun by linking up any greens recipe from the month of March 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #greenslove event! The twitter hashtag is #greenslove.

Β 

58 Comments on “Greenslove: Baked Spinach Falafel with Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

  1. Yum…..I used to make tzatziki sauce a lot….love the falafel recipe ill definitely save it πŸ™‚

    • Great! I hope it turns out well for you! πŸ™‚

  2. Yummm! Just made falafel out of sweet potatoes but this sounds even better!! Thanks for the recipe.. adding this one asap πŸ™‚

    • Oh! Sweet potato falafel? That sounds incredible! I’ll definitely have to try that out sometime.

    • I won’t lie, it was pretty damn good. Now, I’m kind of wishing that I had made a full recipe of it. πŸ˜‰

  3. jackie, if i lived in your kitchen, i would be such a happy camper. this recipe looks FABULOUS. i love the spinach in the falafels. πŸ˜€ i saw this recipe once where they added hummus to the actual falafel mix and it was so good.

    • Hey, if you’re ever in Southern California, I’d be MORE than happy to cook you up something! And hummus in the falafel… Sounds so good.

    • I hope you like it as much as I did! Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  4. You and me must be channeling each other all the time because when I was staying with Allyson on Monday we made something green chickpea patty thing and did a video making it. We made an avocado greens sauce to go on top. Great minds think alike!

    • I love it! Isn’t it funny how that happens? An avocado greens sauce sounds delicious, is the video already up? I can’t wait to see it. πŸ˜€

  5. these look great!! i have had the odd bad falafel experience in my time but looking at this recipe has me inspired! will definitely have to try it out

    • Let me know if this one goes better for you, so far I’ve had good reviews! πŸ™‚

    • Spinach is great, isn’t it? I couldn’t believe how much vitamin A it has in it, it’s sort of insane! I probably should mention that, next time. πŸ˜‰

    • I hope that you’re able to try the recipe out, and that you like it! You are the queen of worldly vegan cuisine so I may not be up to par! πŸ˜€

  6. yumm! i love baked falafel. these look delicious! i’d go for baked over fried any day of the week πŸ˜‰

    • Agreed! Frying things scares me now, just watching all of the oil seep into the food. Baking is definitely the way to go, in my mind.

  7. I’ve been craving falafel lately, and I love spinach anything- I can’t wait to try these! Thank you so much!

  8. Wow, this is such an amazing recipe! I Love your blog, just discovered your page through pinterest and I am enjoying myself so much here! I am following you on FB to keep in touch, take care and happy blogging!

    • Thank you so much for the kind words! Your recipes look great. I hope that you have a great weekend! πŸ˜€

  9. green falafels! mhmm they look amazing! at the moment i am adding parsley to everything. i am on a green kick! i love cashew based sauced too! they taste to creamy!

    • Cashew-based sauces are some of my favorites for sure! I’m going to have to experiment with using more parsley, it’s such a great herb and I feel as though I don’t use it enough.

  10. My favorite falafels are always bright green, but I never thought of adding spinach to further that effect. What a great, tasty idea!

    • Thanks, Hannah! I’m finding that it’s super easy to add greens to almost anything and they’ll be great. πŸ™‚

  11. Baked falafel? With spinach? Genius. (But, I do have to say that I could put Tzatziki sauce on ANYTHING and eat it up!)

    • I agree on the tzatziki point, I finished the last of it off yesterday and now I feel like I have a void in my fridge/life. πŸ˜‰

  12. Green falafel, good idea! I love the appetizer wrap version. The tzatziki sauce you’ve put all over is a perfect match πŸ˜‰

    Great to co-host Greenslove with you!
    See you at #berrylove πŸ˜€
    Cheers

  13. What a neat spin on falafel. I’m definitely going to try this cashew tzatziki sauce the next time I make falafels, it looks so creamy!

    • It was so good! I need to buy some more cucumber so that I can make it again, I might just put it on EVERYTHING! πŸ˜›

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  16. love this recipe because its so healthy but flavorful. i try hard during the week to be as carb free as possible; and this was a lovely recipe to come upon. Me and my husband are both big meat eaters but this was very satisfying to us both and my husband devoured them (a huge compliment to the recipe creator). thank you for sharing! i plan on making this again tonight and accompanying it with a marinated chickpea salad

    • Wow, I must have missed this comment. Thank you so much for the compliment, and a marinated chickpea salad sounds delicious!

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  20. THANK YOU for these recipes! I’ve been vegetarian for 20 years, and only recently went full dairy free. Giving up feta and tzatziki were the most difficult as I eat a lot of mediterranean style food. I made both the falafel and tzatziki tonight and am in love with both. So delicious and keeps affirming my decision that almost everything I used to eat now has a healthier, better version that I can make. Thank you thank you!

    • First off, congrats on going dairy free! Second, that is such a huge compliment! I’m so glad that you enjoyed them, and really, the tzatziki sauce has been such a hit. I may just have to make these for myself again!

    • I think that if you mixed all of the ingredients in a bowl and then pulsed it in batches, it could work!

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  23. We made this recipe to go with some leftover (homemade) tzatziki a friend gave to us– it was FANTASTIC! Had it as a salad with some cabbage which mixed with the tzatziki to make a sort of slaw. Fantastic!

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