Baked beetroot falafel with homemade pitta bread

Messy but delicious!

This recipe, adapted from We Are So Vegan (but only slightly), was exactly what was needed as a lunchtime snack whilst gardening at the end of exceptionally challenging work week. A delicious combination of so many of my favourite things…falafel in soft pitta bread with crunchy salad smoothered in creamy lemon yoghurt dressing and hot sauce.

Ingredients

For the falafel

A tin of chickpeas, drained
200g beetroot, cooked or raw
Half a red onion
2tbsp ground semolina, breadcrumbs or flour
4 garlic cloves
2tsp cumin
A handful of fresh parsley

For the pitta breads (makes 12)

500g strong white flour
2tbsp dried yeast
2tbsp sesame or nigella seeds (optional)
2tbsp Olive oil
1tsp salt
Warm water to mix

For the filling

Green salad leaves
A tomato, sliced
Half a red onion, sliced
2tbsp hummus
2tbsp plain yoghurt
Juice of half a lemon
Hot chilli sauce

Method

Start by making the dough for the pitta breads. Add the yeast, sesame seeds and salt to the flour and mix well. Add a splash of olive oil and enough warm water to bring everything together with your hands. Turn onto an oiled board and knead for 10 minutes until all the oil has been absorbed and the dough is smooth and pliable.

Place the dough in a bowl and leave in a warm place for around an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Turn the dough on to a floured board and kneed for a few minutes to remove the air. Then cut into 12 pieces and roll each one into an oval shape, adding flour between the pittas to stop them from sticking to one another. Heat a baking tray in a hot oven for 5 minutes, remove and cook the breads for 10 minutes, three or four at a time. Remove and set aside.

Whilst the dough was rising I made the beetroot falafel, which are super quick and easy. Basically you just need to chop the onion, crush or grate the garlic, roughly chop the beetroot and throw everything into a food processor. Blitz, mix, and blitz again until everything has blended together. If the mixture seems too wet you can add a little more ground semolina or flour. Season well.

Roll spoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on an oiled baking tray. You should get ariund 20 falafel. Cook for around 30 minutes in hot oven (200C) and then leave to cool for 10 minutes so that the falafel firm up.

Once everything is cooked you can begin the assembly process!

I started by spreading some hummus inside the pitta breads. My hummus was shop bought but my hummus recipe is also quick and easy. Next I added some lettuce leaves, sliced onion and tomato and the falafel. I topped everything with a creamy dressing made with plain yogurt and lemon juice and some hot chilli sauce. Messy to eat but absolutely delicious!

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