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Southern Falafel with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Falafel is one of those foods that I thought I would never eat.  Not because I’m not adventurous, but because some spices just don’t agree with my palate.  When I started clean eating a while before the “Paleo” challenge, I tried falafel and found that, after adjusting the spices, I really enjoyed it.  Falafel is traditionally made with chick peas and or fava beans, but I have decided to go crazy make mine with black-eyed peas instead of chickpeas to give it a “Southern” twist.  To go “off the chain” crazy, I also served it with a homemade “ranch style” dressing instead of the typical tzatziki or tahini sauce and pita.  I hope you enjoy this new twist!

Southern Falafel with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing |

Southern Falafel with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Active time 40 minutes plus overnight soaking and 1 hour rest time

Makes 24 patties

2 cups roughly chopped white onion

4 garlic cloves

2 cups black eye peas, cooked, drained, and cooled (instructions below)

1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves

1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoons cumin

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

olive oil, for sauteing

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing (recipe below)

bacon crumbles for garnish

In a food processor, add the onions, peas, garlic, parsley, and cilantro.  Pulse a few times to get the large pieces a little smaller.  Add in the salt, cumin, chili powder, baking powder and 1/4 cup flour.  Pulse to combine all the ingredients.  Remove to another bowl, cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

When ready to cook, heat the olive oil on medium.  Scoop out the falafel mixture with a tablespoon and add to the pan.  I use my mini ice cream scoop.    I smash down the scoops of falafel to forma  patty.  Cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the bottoms crispy and golden brown.  Flip patty carefully and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until bottom is crispy too.  Remove to a cooling rack to drain off any excess olive oil and let them cool slightly.  Serve warm with buttermilk ranch dressing and bacon crumbles.

Southern Falafel with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing |

To prepare dried black-eyed peas:

1/2  pound of dried black eye peas

4 cups water

3 tablespoons kosher salt

Pick through the dried peas and then soak overnight in the water.  Once they have been soaked, drain and rinse.

Southern Falafel with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing |

Add the peas to a pot and cover with water plus two inches more.  Add 3 tablespoons salt.  These little peas soak up so much you want to season as you cook!  Turn on high and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 90 minutes.  At this point, my peas were al dente.  I want them to be the same consistency as a chick pea and not mushy or the patties won’t stay together.  Drain and cool the peas.  Store until ready to use in the falafel mixture.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Seasoning Mix (used dried herbs and spices for this)

1/2 teaspoon dried mustard

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon chives

2 teaspoons dill

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon minced onion

1 tablespoon onion powder

2 tablespoons parsley

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons thyme

Mix all of these together and store in an airtight container.

Southern Falafel with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing |

When ready to make the dressing, combine 2 tablespoons of dry seasoning mix with 1 cup of mayo and 1/2 cup of buttermilk.  You can substitute regular or almond milk for the buttermilk if you prefer and Greek yogurt or sour cream in place of the mayo.


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