Thursday, April 28, 2011

At Home Falafel

Let me start off by saying that at first taste, Trader Joe's frozen falafel is not very good. It's dry and fairly tasteless. But it's also frozen, microwavable, and ready to be consumed with next to no effort in just a few minutes. And it can be improved. Deliciously improved. Here's what you need:

1) Pita
2) Tzatziki
3) Mediterranean hummus (accept no substitutions; this is the best one TJ's sells)
4) Tabouli (which I also find somewhat disgusting on its own)

When these five combine, it's one tasty party in your mouth! Is this the best falafel ever? No. Is it quick, cheap, easy, and capable of feeding a decent number of people? Yes. Plus all ingredients are found at Trader Joe's, and who doesn't like one stop shopping?

All you have to do is heat the falafel in the microwave (or toaster oven, or what-have-you), stuff a couple into a pita pocket, slap on some hummus, tabouli, and top with tzatziki. Voila! Lunch. Or, if you run out of pita like I did, combine the other ingredients in a bowl and you have what I have dubbed falafel salad due to its similarity to a taco salad.

Tabouli is a little salad dish all on its own, but I just can't get behind it that way, even with combined with romaine. Tzatziki, however, is one of the greatest condiments known to man, and I often drizzle it on omelets. It took me a long time to like hummus, but that was because, like sushi before it, I was eating really crappy hummus. Now I love hummus, but I am picky about where it comes from and what goes into it.

Now for a little history. Falafel is a dish so old that its origins are in dispute, sometimes leading to political rivalry. It is so popular now that in some countries, McDonald's offers a McFalafel (which makes Trader Joe's frozen falafel seem not so bad in comparison). 


  1. If you are serving a group, would frying the falafel in about an inch of oil be more efficient? Do the frozen ones have any suggestions there? About a minute to brown a square of bread is my marker for 350 F.

  2. The package actually lists microwaving as the preferred method of preparation, and I totally disagree! They turn out too dry. I liberally sprinkled them with water the second time I made them (after they had thawed in the fridge) and this seemed to help them retain moisture.