Q: Do you know what I love even more than a recipe that gets my husband to eat a vegetable he normally wouldn't touch?
A: A recipe that is comprised almost entirely of foods he professes to hate (cilantro: check, chick peas: check, onions: check) that he ends up really liking. How is this even possible? I will tell you: it's all in the cheater sauce. My husband loves a good sauce. And this is a very good sauce (which, for the record, still contains an ingredient he professes to hate; yes, I'm confused about it too).
I never even would have tried to feed Kip falafels. Fortunately I didn't have to. Way back on Easter, some friends invited us over for some "Jesus food," which turned out to be falafels. Yum. And there Kip was eating them up, and not just to be polite. The man actually seemed to be enjoying them.
So as soon as I had a good bit of cilantro in the house, I gave them a go myself. I found a fabulous recipe for falafels on allrecipes and I was careful not to forget my friend's falafel sauce. Normally, you use some type of cucumber yogurt sauce on falafels. This is very yummy. However, my friend just whipped up a packet of ranch dressing per the directions and added a handful of finely chopped cilantro. Wow. It is good. It is so good you will be surprised how very good it is. Should I say good again. Okay, I will. Good. So good.
Falafels with Cheater Sauce
adapted from Sean on allrecipes (thanks, Sean, it was awesome)
Makes 9-12 falafels (enough for 2-4 adults)
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Cost: $1.00, probably $1.50 if you buy fresh herbs
(chick peas: .66, onion: .10, egg: .10, parsely: mine came from the garden: free, cilantro: again from the garden, but it was on sale at Walmart a few weeks ago for .64/bunch: bread crumbs: .05, other stuff: .05)
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas
1 small onion
1/2 C fresh parsley (you could probably sub 2 Tbsp dried, but you'll loose a bit of the fresh taste)
1/4-1/2 C fresh cilantro (the original recipe called for 1 tsp ground coriander, but I love fresh cilantro)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 dash pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp baking powder
1 C dry bread crumbs
oil for frying (optional)
Note: I made this in a food processor. It was way easy. I recommend it. If you don't have one, you could use a blender unless your blender is really nice, in which case it will get everything too mushy/thin. If you have to, you can just chop/mash the stuff together.
In food processor, combine onions, parsley, cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. You might have to scrape the edges of the processor a couple times. You want them very finely chopped. Add the chick peas and process till it's mashy (which is a purely scientific term meaning somewhere between smoothy-like and chopped-veggie-like). Add seasonings and baking soda and pulse. Add egg and pulse, scrape the sides and pulse again. Add bread crumbs and pulse. You should have a batter (for lack of a better word--and that is rather what it looks like, only green) that can be rolled or patted into patties. I made 10 or so. I believe they were about 2 inches in diameter.
Heat your oil. I just use enough to create a millimeter or so of oil in a cast iron skillet. Note: Olive oil will smoke. You want some type of vegetable oil (I used canola) or coconut oil. Drop a small tester plop in. It should sizzle in the oil, but not smoke or burn. When your oil is ready, add the patties and cook till golden on each side. Important note: You don't want to flip them until they're good and golden because the more often you flip them, the more likely they will be to fall apart on you. Flip them once, maybe twice and they'll hold just fine.
Put them on a paper towel to drain.
Note: Instead of frying, you can bake these. I did both. Yes, I liked the fried ones better. The fat brought out the flavor and gave them a delightful crispiness. However, the baked were good as well.
Bake the patties at 400 degrees for about 17-18 minutes, flipping them after the first 10 minutes.
And now for the magic.
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
1 C milk
1 C mayo
good handful cilantro leaves (I'm going to say 1/2-1 C leaves)
Whisk Ranch dressing mix, milk, and mayo until combined.
Chop cilantro until it's really chopped up well. Combine to dressing and whisk.
Serve over falafels. Don't tell your husband the sauce he so adores also contains cilantro.