published Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

A fry-free, healthier take on falafel burgers

This Fava Bean Falafel Burger is topped with a cucumber yogurt sauce.
This Fava Bean Falafel Burger is topped with a cucumber yogurt sauce.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A product of the Middle East, falafel are deep-fried fritters made from ground chickpeas or fava beans that are tucked into pita pockets and drizzled with tahini. They are delicious, hearty, inexpensive and relatively healthy.

Fava Bean Falafel Burgers with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Servings: 4

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika or cayenne pepper

1 3/4 cups shelled peeled fresh fava beans or frozen lima beans (thawed)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons tahini (stir well before measuring)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt

4-inch slice seedless cucumber, coarsely grated (about 1⁄2 cup, packed)

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

In a large skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of the garlic, the cumin, coriander and paprika, then cook for 1 minute, stirring. Transfer to a medium bowl.

In a food processor, pulse the fava beans just until they are coarsely chopped. Transfer 1/2 cup of the chopped favas to the onion mixture.

To the food processor, add the egg, tahini, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Process the mixture until finely ground, then stir it into the onion mixture. Cover the mixture and chill it for 30 minutes.

While the mixture is chilling, in a small bowl combine the yogurt, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic, the cucumber and salt to taste. Set aside.

Shape the chilled falafel mixture into 4 patties (the mixture will be loose). Spread the panko on a sheet of parchment paper and dip the patties into the crumbs to coat on all sides.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium, heat 11⁄2 tablespoons of the remaining oil. Add the falafel patties and cook until crisp and golden on one side, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and turn the patties; cook for another 3 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

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