Falafel with Creamy Tahini Lemon Dressing

Middle Eastern cuisine is known for its falafels  -chickpea-based deep-fried balls served with tahini sauce. My version is baked, with a light and creamy tahini sauce. You can make double the falafels by making them smaller. Serve them in mini pitas as an appetizer. You’ll have a few tablespoons of leftover dressing; store it in the refrigerator and use it as a salad dressing or sauce over chicken or fish.

RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil.

2. Combine all the falafel ingredients in a food processor. Pulse on and off until well-mixed. Form into 16 balls (about 2 Tbsp each). Flatten slightly. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

3. Bake in the center of the oven, turning once, for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.

4. To make the dressing, combine the stock, ricotta, tahini, mayonnaise, oil, lemon juice, soy sauce and garlic in a food processor. Process until smooth. Stir in the cilantro.

5. Place two falafels in the pocket of each pita half. Drizzle about 2 Tbsp of dressing over each. Tuck tomato slices and lettuce inside each pita.

INGREDIENTS
Falafels:
1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 Tbsp tahini 1 egg
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp ground cumin
pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 egg
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

Dressing:
1/3 cup vegetable stock
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
4 large pita breads, sliced in half
tomato slices and lettuce leaves
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup smooth light ricotta
2 Tbsp olive oil

NOTES
Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 242
Protein 8g
Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Carbohydrates 33 g
Cholesterol 29 mg
Sodium 433 mg
Fiber 4.1 g

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Make Ahead: Prepare sauce a day in advance and refrigerate. Bake falafels a day in advance, refrigerate and reheat in preheated 300ºF oven for 10 minutes.

Serves 8

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