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June 1, 2010

Top Ten essentials to farmers market-worthy falafel

FelafelI had to work Saturday, which was kind of a bummer but for one thing: I had a morning assignment around the corner from the Waverly Farmers Market. With any luck, I could swing by before returning to the office and pick up a falafel sandwich for lunch.

Luck, however, was not with me. By the time I finished interviewing people at the newly reopened firehouse, the Waverly vendors were packing up.

I still had falafel on the brain by the time I finished up my work day, so I decided to make some at home. I've made serviceable falafel many times over the years, following a recipe in a cookbook so old that it brags about being high carb.

But it didn't come close to the falafel from the vendor who sells at Waverly and under the JFX. His is terrific because he pairs chickpea patties with more than a little tahini sauce and pita. He adds things like grated carrots, grated beets, strawberries and herbs.

So this time, the recipe in "Jane Brody's Good Food Book: Living the High-Carbohydrate Way" was just my starting point. I added lots of other stuff to the sandwich, either because Falafel Guy uses it or because it happened to be growing in my garden.

The result was a very tasty sandwich that my husband, 7-year-old daughter and I happily ate for three days straight. (My 5-year-old son wouldn't go near anything but the warmed whole-wheat pita.) 

Which brings me to this week's list:

Top Ten essentials to farmers' market-worthy falafel

1. Cayenne pepper

A sprinkle on the mild patties gave them some needed heat

2. Grated beets and carrots

3. Chopped strawberries

4. Swiss chard

This addition could also serve as the missing No. 5 in last week's list of solutions for "The Locavore's Dilemma," a problem otherwise known as Swiss Chard overabundance. A few torn leaves, along with some lettuces from the garden, were a nice addition to the sandwich.

5. Cilantro

6. Dill

7. More dill

You can't have too much when there's a yogurt sauce involved.

8. Arugula

9. Parsley

10.  Mint

Here are the basic falafel and tahini sauce recipes from "Jane Brody's Good Food Book." (1985, W.W. Norton)


1 egg

1 T water

1 Tsp. lemon juice

2 T minced fresh parsley

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 T reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup tahini

2 C cooked, drained chick peas

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. ground chili powder

1/3 cup wheat germ

In a food processor, combine the egg, water, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, soy sauce and tahini until they form a smooth mixture. Add the chickpeas and spices and blend again. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the wheat germ. Form into patties (six or more) and fry on a lightly oiled skillet until lightly browned on both sides.


Yogurt-Tahini Sauce

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

2 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 small clove garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate, covered, until serving time.


Photo by math-hubby

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 5:35 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


I never have had falafel before, but after reading the recipe ingredients, I think I will have to try one.

Had to laugh at this captcha, in a dining blog no less:

whom upchuck

Funny... I am not an adventurous eater by any means. But last week I was at the Waverly Market myself and after making the rounds first my fiance looked at me and said, "so what's for lunch?"

I replied, "Something about that falafel is calling me name."

I think she almost fell over in surprise. But it was quite amazing. His strawberry hot sauce (along with fresh strawberries) and asparagus really made it fantastic.

The best falafel recipe I've found, and one my wife and I have used to entertain lots of family members and friends, comes from Mark Bittman of the New York Times:

We usually garnish with cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, feta cheese, hot sauce and homemade hummus. If you want to add other stuff, fine, but the above toppings would be hard to beat.

am I the only one who is floored by the $9 price tag on this falafel at the market? it was tasty, but I got a lot of blank stares from the falafel makers as I waited to place my order, and only smidges of the toppings!

$9 for something that tastes like dirt and an old shoe?

Where do they get these prices and why in god's name do people pay them!? I just don't get it. Anybody had the fish sandwich at the Sunday market lately?

the sunday market's falafel is too dry

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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