Israeli Falafel

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Enlightening Entrees!

1 cup dried chickpeas, refrigerated overnight in water to cover by 2 inches, then drain, or 1 16 oz. can of chickpeas, drained
1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of Za’atar (Middle Eastern spice/herb)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 egg (optional)
2 cups of Panko Bread Crumbs
1 teaspoon baking soda
Vegetable oil for frying
5 to 6 pita breads, top 1/3 cut off each
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
Iceberg lettuce chopped
Sour or half sour pickles diced
Hot sauce
Israeli Salad/Hummus/Tahini

In food processor, combine chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, Za’atar, cumin, coriander, salt, red pepper flakes, and baking soda. Pulse just until finely chopped and crumbly (mixture will resemble wet bread crumbs; do not over process into paste, or balls will be heavy). Mixture can be made ahead and refrigerated, covered, up to 1 day.  Move mixture to a bowl and add in egg and mix. Then add in bread crumbs and mix again until fully incorporated.

In large shallow skillet over moderately high heat, heat 3 inches oil until thermometer registers 350°F. Using 2 teaspoons or falafel scoop, form mixture into approximately 1-inch-diameter balls or disks. Working in batches of 5, lower carefully into hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until deep golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat to fry remaining falafel, returning oil to 350°F between each batch. Above recipe should yield about 16 falafel balls.

To serve: Put some hummus inside the pita and then two falafel balls. Tuck in Israeli Salad, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. Drizzle in tahini sauce and hot sauce. Serve immediately.