Tabouli Pita!

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I am officially on Summer break! Hooray! It seems surreal that in a mere four weeks I will be teaching my third year of sixth grade history…I am enjoying the quiet time while it lasts!

Tonight’s dinner comes from a desire to clean out the fridge, rid my pantry of boxed concoctions, and to try something new-ish. I had a Tabouli box mix from a while back, and decided that tonight was going to finally be the night to try it!

Ingredients:

tabouli mix
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tomato (cut into small pieces)
1 cucumber (seeded and cut into small pieces)
some fresh basil

The directions seemed simple enough…boil a cup of water, add to mixture, refrigerate for 30 minutes. So I did that first. THEN I read the rest of the instructions, add chopped tomatoes, lemon juice, and olive oil, stir, and refrigerate for ONE HOUR, OR OVERNIGHT! This was going to be my dinner! Ain’t nobody got time for that! I read further, to see if any of the ‘other suggestions for serving’ provided a way to circumvent the time crisis. All I got was ways to spruce up the dish to make it more into a salad by adding diced cucumbers and basil. Being that I recently ended up with an overabundance of both, I was more than happy to place some into the mixture. Remembering a trick I read somewhere (probably pinterest) I placed the mixture into a glass container with a lid, wrapped a damp paper towel around it, and stuck it into the freezer. There is something about the paper towel freezing and transferring coldness faster than just the container in the freezer. If any of you out there are scientists, I would love a better explanation!

While the mixture was cooling, I whipped up some hummus, fetched pita, spinach, and kalamata olives from my fridge and waited. After 15 minutes, I took my mixture out of the freezer, stirred, and put it in for another 10. The paper towel acted as a time machine, and the mixture was sufficiently cooled, hooray for shaving 35 minutes off of my cooling time!

Other Ingredients

Pita
hummus (hummus amount is a personal decision)
spinach (enough to say you had spinach with dinner)
kalamata olives (however many you want!)

I warmed the pita, stuffed it with spinach, slathered on hummus, added the tabouli, topped with olives, rolled and ate. So good! The best part? I have a TON more for other meals! Perhaps I will find a way to repurpose tabouli…

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Chickpea Obsession: Baked Falafel and Spinach Pesto Hummus

Baked Falafel, Spinach Pesto Hummus

Top right clockwise: Falafel Pita, Spinach Pesto Hummus, Baked Falafel, Mushrooms and Tomatillos

 

My name is Jenni, and I am obsessed with chickpeas.

The lunch meal choice is a culmination of pinterest cooking board wishlists, an excess of chickpeas in my pantry, and an untimely shortage of spinach basil hummus from the farmers market.

Baked Falafel Balls

My first step was to make baked falafel balls. Having made the fried ones before (and subsequently an awful mess in my kitchen), I was eager to try a baked alternative. For those of you who have never had falafel…or even those of you who have only eaten prepared falafel, the procedure is simple: cook slightly dried hummus (use less oil!). So grab your favorite hummus recipe (or use mine below…or follow the one on the original link, he has awesome pictures Frugal Feeding: Spicy Baked Falafel), add flour, and start cooking!

Jenni’s Hummus Ingredients

  • chickpeas (either half a cup dried, or a can of cooked beans)
  • garlic cloves
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • red pepper flakes
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • parsley

I prefer a spicy hummus. My mom makes a fabulous humus with just chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, and oil. Feel free to add whatever ingredients you like!

I included measurements for both dried and canned beans. I prefer using dried beans and cooking them in my rice cooker…it is cheap, no sodium is added, and I believe it tastes better. If you are stressed for time though, canned beans do work!

After you make the hummus, add a bit of flour so that the mixture clumps together. Roll into balls (think medium size meatballs!). Place in the oven at 250 and bake for 25-30 minutes. The original recipe called for eggs and breadcrumbs…I had neither of these in my apartment, so I went without!

 

Spinach Pesto Hummus

I love living near a farmers market, and I really adore the hummus people. One day, while picking up the best spinach pesto hummus in the world, I gushed to the vendor “I do not know how you can make this so wonderful!” He pointed to the ingredients listed on the container and simply stated “you put this into the blender…and blend it”. Fine. As to not infringe on their brilliant recipe, I left out the citric acid, and added a few extra ingredients. I used the following:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (equivalent to two cans!)
  • 1 handful of pine nuts (these are expensive!)
  • two big handfuls of leaf spinach
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • parsley
  • enough olive oil to allow for a creamy mixture.

Place everything in the blender…and blend. The amounts listed made a rather large amount of hummus…maybe too much hummus…oh! i know! I can bake some of it later!!

 

A super chickpea pita

Now that I have my falafel, and my hummus, I need a vehicle on which to place my chickpea obsession. I took a whole wheat pita, ripped about a half inch off the top of one side, carefully spread the pocket open, and microwaved it. I then smeared the pesto hummus on it, added leaf spinach (ok, a bit crazy about spinach too), mushrooms, tomatillos (wanted to use tomatoes but they were not ripe… the tomatillos gave an interesting twist), falafel, and a squirt of italian dressing. I rolled the pita and ate it burrito style.

I deem this meal a success!!