Montreal’s version of late-night fast food is shwarma, and the great thing about shwarma places is that they have an amazing vegetarian alternative: Falafel! I’ve found so many places around here that make a fantastic falafel sandwich, but sometimes making it at home is equally delicious!
Falafel mix [I haven’t gotten around to making my own homemade falafel yet, but I hear it’s pretty easy so I will definitely be trying it in the near future! Probably should invest in a food processor first]
Bell pepper [I used orange because they were looking the most alive in the grocery store this week—but red and green both work equally well!]
Olives [Kalamata are my favorite right now]
Hummus/Tzatziki/Yogurt [Tzatziki is fabulous, it’s this type of cucumber yogurt—works perfectly with falafel!]
Feta [YUM, but any kind of cheese works—if you are trying to save cash you’ll probably want to skip feta, it can be pretty pricey. I recommend mozzarella, it’s lower in calories and still very creamy]
Other veggies are up to you and what your fridge has to offer! I love to add mushrooms, grated carrot, or switch out the lettuce for spinach—dark greens are oh so healthy!
1) Make the falafel mix according the directions, be sure to get the portions right—I like to have 4-5 pretty small falafels per person, but if you have sides [Check out my roasted potatoes recipe, it works great with this] you may want to stick to 4 each.
2) Let the mix stand for about 10 minutes. The directions tend to say 15-20 minutes, but I’ve never noticed a difference.
3) Pour enough olive oil into a frying pan so that the whole bottom of the pan is covered. Some mixes recommend putting enough oil to go about 1/2 inch up the side of the pan—but I always try to use the minimum amount of oil, and it’s always work fine. Tip: If you only making a few falafels, use the smallest frying pan you have so as not to waste all that olive oil! Heat the oil on Low to Medium heat.
4) After ten minutes, use a spoon [or your hands!] to make the mix into little falafel balls. You can really make them any size, I stick between 1 and 1.5 inches in diameter.
5) Place the falafels into the pan—be careful, the hot oil will start to fizzle! If it’s spitting everywhere, turn down the heat.
6) While the falafels are frying, chop the veggies. I usually do the lazy dice, so basically small chunks. Crumble the feta [or grate another type of cheese].
7) Every 2 minutes or so, flip the falafels. Try to get all side browned and crispy!
8) I like to heat up my pita bread, you can do this in the oven [Try 2 minutes at 350 F] or the microwave [30 seconds—if you put them in for too long they will become soggy]
9) Let the falafels cook for about 10-15 minutes total. If you’ve got paper towel, place a few sheets on the counter and set the falafels on top to let the oil drain off. I never have paper towel, but I find a piece of cardboard works great! Actually I used the box from the falafel mix.
10) Serve! I love making a pita sandwich—place a few falafels inside the pita, throw in a bunch of veggies, spread on the hummus or tzatziki [or both], and sprinkle on the cheese! It gets messy, but it’s worth it! If you love the spice, throw in some hot sauce [Frank’s Red Hot is top of my list right now].