My husband Tom and I ate at Lois' Natural Marketplace (Scarborough, Maine) one Saturday and decided to try the falafels from her deli case. They were incredibly delicious. Chris, the cook, told us that they are also available in the frozen food section, and that they are made locally, in Portland, Maine, at Papou's Kitchen. It didn't take us long before we decided to buy and pan fry them at home.
On Mondays, Mother Oven Bakery delivers their Syrian Pita Bread (and other breads) to Lois', so Tom decided to create a sandwich similar to what he can find on the street corners in New York City. So, here's the Maine version ...
This sandwich is a good example of healthy "fast food." Since I'm not able to wear my prosthetic leg at all and I'm on crutches lately, falafels are quickly becoming one of my easy favorites. I can hear you asking, "Is this macrobiotic?" No, this wouldn't be considered traditional macrobiotic (or healing diet dish, because of more oil and spices), but a "wider" and healthy vegan meal. This also would be a good bean dish for someone new to beans or just looking to eat less animal protein. "What can I eat?" Have a falafel on pita bread or on a bed of brown rice.
When I was looking up information on the Web for Mother Oven Bakery and Papou's Kitchen, I read that Papou, Chris Zoulamis of Portland, is the father of Dean Zoulamis, of Mother Oven Bakery (in Bowdoinham, Maine). No wonder the falafel seemed so perfect with the bread!
These falafels contain chickpeas, onions, unbleached wheat flour ( I wonder if Papou has considered doing rice flour for a wheat- and gluten-free version? ), corn, jalapenos, parsley, garlic, sesame seeds, salt, baking powder, spices and cilantro.
FALAFEL ON PITA BREAD One 16-ounce package of Papou's Kitchen Falafels (12 small falafels for $5.99), slightly thawed One package of Mother Oven Syrian bread (3 medium-sized pita pockets, sliced in half. They come four in a package) 1 fresh tomato, diced 1 fresh cucumber, diced Mustard (We used a Raye's Mustard, ground in Eastport, Maine.) Safflower oil to cover bottom of a cast-iron skillet
Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet on a medium flame until hot. Place the halfway thawed falafels into the hot oil and fry for 3 minutes on each side or until crispy and browned. Drain on a paper towel after frying.
Fill each pita pocket with 2 cooked falafels and a little mustard. Top with a few pieces of diced tomato and cucumber. Grated carrot could be substituted for the tomato.
This recipe makes six sandwiches, each on half a pita pocket. Serves 3-6 people depending on how hungry you are. One half of a pita pocket with sides of vegetables is more than enough for me.
Serve with vegetables! (We had steamed carrots and broccoli.)
Do you have a favorite healthy vegan recipe or "fast food" that is a quick and easy standby?