Spicy Falafel with Garlic Scape Yogurt Sauce

You guys can probably guess by now that I enjoy spicy food. I also enjoy garlic. And anything I can buy at a farmer’s market. What do you get when you put all of those things together, you might ask? The answer is this recipe.

For starters, if you don’t like spicy food, all you’ve got to do is reduce the amount of crushed red pepper flakes that I call for. I love these falafel because they’re a nice way to add veggies into your day without being boring. The garlic scape yogurt sauce is pure liquid gold, but of course if you make this recipe at any other time of the year and can’t find garlic scapes, you can always use a regular old clove of garlic.

If you’ve never cooked with garlic scapes before, do not fear. They’re SO good. Milder in flavor than the bulbs themselves, garlic scapes are the top green part of garlic. To use them, simply trim off the pointy top and about 2 inches off the bottom (the ends tend to be tough, similar to asparagus). Use them in sauces, like I’ve done in this recipe, sauté them in a stir-fry, or thinly slice them for use on a salad or sandwich.

You can use a food processor or a high-speed blender for this recipe, but you do need one or the other in order to get everything to a fine chop. As always, feel free to substitute the all-purpose flour in these for a gluten-free flour blend, if necessary.

You can easily make these falafels at the start of the week to throw into lunch bowls or for a quick dinner. If you can, heating them up in the oven or pan helps to maintain their crispiness, but a microwave will still work in a pinch.

I love serving the falafel over a salad with kalamata olives, feta cheese, and fresh herbs or paired with rice and grilled veggies for a fun weeknight meal. Alternatively, stuff these babies into a pita with hummus, veggies, and all the Mediterranean fixins! If you make this recipe, don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram!

Ingredients

For the falafel:

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup cauliflower, chopped

⅓ cup sesame seeds

⅓ cup tender herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, basil, dill, etc.

3 cloves garlic

½ cup all-purpose flour

¾ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp lemon zest

Salt and pepper, to taste

Neutral oil, such as canola or peanut, for frying the falafel

For the Garlic Scape Yogurt Sauce

2 garlic scapes, ends and tips trimmed

¾ cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt

Juice of ½ lemon

1 tbsp honey

¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

¼ tsp ground turmeric

Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine all falafel ingredients in a food processor, except the frying oil. Pulse to combine until a relatively smooth dough forms.
  2. Shape the falafel into 1-inch balls. The dough will yield approximately 15 falafel. 
  3. In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add about ½ inch of oil and preheat it for 5 minutes. Test the oil by carefully adding only one falafel to the pan. If the falafel does not immediately begin to sizzle, the oil isn’t quite hot enough and you should wait to add the rest (you can leave this falafel in the pan to continue cooking though, just wait to add the others). 
  4. Add the falafel and fry in batches, rotating every 2 minutes or so, for about 10 minutes total. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, or the falafel won’t get crispy. Transfer the falafel to a plate lined with a paper towel to rest while you make the yogurt sauce. 
  5. In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine the garlic scapes, yogurt, lemon juice, honey, crushed red pepper, turmeric, and salt and pepper. Pulse on high until smooth. If necessary, add water little by little to reach your desired consistency. 
  6. Serve the falafel over salad with olives, feta cheese, and fresh herbs, pair with rice and grilled veggies, or stuff inside a pita. Flavorful, versatile, and perfect for meal prep, these falafel are the best! Don’t forget to scoop up every last bit of that sauce, too!

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