I used to be scared of a food called falafel. It's a Middle Eastern classic, that just because of it's name was just something I was always too nervous to try. That and the fact that it was made from chickpeas. I had never tried chickpeas, either. Too scared. I am now proud to say I've not only eaten falafel, but I am now a huge fan. I can't believe I've been missing out on its goodness my whole life.
But this is not a traditional falafel recipe. This is a twist on traditional falafel, made with the flavors of the Southwest. It's very very tasty. I got this recipe from my friend Lindsay, who got it from a friend of hers. Trust me, it's worth passing on. I did a google search for it so I could provide a picture for you, and it looks like it first came from Cooking Light magazine. So not only is it delicious-- it's healthful and low-calorie. It's got just 281 calories per serving.
Southwestern Falafel with Avocado Spread
* 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
* 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
* 1/4 cup finely crushed baked tortilla chips (about 3/4 ounce)
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
* 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 large egg white
* 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
* 1/4 cup mashed peeled avocado
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped plum tomato
* 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
* 2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
* 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 2 (6-inch) pitas, each cut in half crosswise
To prepare patties, place pinto beans in a medium bowl; partially mash with a fork. Add Monterey Jack cheese and next 5 ingredients (through egg white); stir until well combined. Form into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) oval patties.
Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until patties are browned and thoroughly heated.
To prepare spread, while patties cook, combine the avocado, plum tomato, red onion, sour cream, lime juice, and salt. Place 1 patty in each pita half. Spread about 2 tablespoons avocado spread over patty in each pita half.
Makes 4 pita halves.