Tempeh & Walnut Falafel with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

Tempeh & Walnut Falafel with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

Before someone calls the falafel police, let me preface this by saying these are not traditional falafel. They don't have chickpeas and they aren't fried and crunchy. I probably just lost most of you, but for those of you kind souls who stuck around, I would like to emphasize that these are superfood falafel packed with healthy fats from walnuts, tempeh, flax seeds, and avocado oil. I eat a pretty high-fat diet for a vegan, and I'm always looking for ways to add more healthy fats into my diet. You won't find any low-fat recipes from the '90s here. What makes these falafel even healthier (though less authentic) is that they're baked. No need to use a vat of bubbling oil that might spatter on you without warning. And most importantly, when I brought these falafel to work this week, three of my coworkers mentioned that they smelled insanely delicious. Of course they have no idea how delicious they tasted because, let's be honest, I didn't share my lunch.

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One of the few dishes I've missed since going vegan is tzatziki, so it was amazing to be able to make a vegan version at home and enjoy it again. I love how these falafel pair with the vegan tzatziki sauce. It feels like you're eating an authentic Greek meal on an island in Greece, even though there's nothing authentic about this recipe.

Just because this isn't an authentic Greek recipe, it doesn't mean I can't share a photo of Greece with you! To see more photos from my 2014 trip to Greece, click here.

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My favorite way to serve these falafel is to stuff them in pita bread, along with roasted veggies, pickled radishes, and chickpeas. Then, I drizzle everything with the tzatziki sauce and tahini, and of course a dollop of hummus. But if you're into that low-carb life, just omit the pita and turn it into a falafel bowl! Maybe omit the chickpeas too? Are chickpeas considered a low-carb food or a high-carb food? Help! I don't know what carbs are (except that they're delicious)!

Store these in an air-tight container in your fridge and they will stay good for 4-5 days, making them the perfect dish for weekly meal prep. Hope you enjoy these little brown balls!

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Tempeh & Walnut Falafel with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

Vegan, Gluten-Free

Tempeh & Walnut Falafel with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

Before you call the falafel police, let me preface this by saying these are not traditional falafel.
They don't have chickpeas and they aren't fried and crunchy. But, I'd like to emphasize that these are superfood falafel packed with healthy fats from walnuts, tempeh, flax seeds, and avocado oil. What makes these even healthier is that they're baked instead of deep-fried. And when paired with the vegan tzatziki sauce, you can almost image yourself dining at a seaside restaurant in Santorini with the warm Mediterranean breeze blowing in your beautiful face. Almost.

Makes 22 falafel

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces organic tempeh, crumbled
  • 2/3 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced and lightly cooked
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons almond flour or almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or oil of choice )
  • 1 flax egg (mix 1 tablespoon ground flax meal with 2 ½ tablespoons warm water and let sit for 15 minutes to thicken)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. To make the falafel, add the tempeh to a food processor and pulse until it is broken down. Next, add the cilantro, parsley, basil and walnuts and process until the ingredients start to blend together.
  3. Next, add the cooked onion, garlic, olive oil, flax egg, sesame seeds, salt, pepper, spices, and baking soda. Blend until combined and the mixture sticks together.
  4. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Otherwise, it will be sticky and more difficult to roll.
  5. Spoon the refrigerated dough into approximately 22 falafel balls (one heaping tablespoon of dough for each). Place the falafel on the prepared baking tray and bake for 20-22 minutes, turning halfway through baking time, until browned on both sides.
  6. Serve with vegan tzatziki.

Vegan Tzatziki

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or quick soaked in boiling water for 2 hours
  • 2/3 cup canned lite coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

Directions

  1. Drain the soaked cashews and pat dry to remove moisture. Place the cashews in a food processor or high-speed blender along with the lite coconut milk, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt, onion powder and garlic. Blend until thoroughly combined and smooth, ensuring there are no remaining pieces of cashews.
  2. Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl. Mix in the diced cucumber, chopped dill, parsley, and mint. Stir to combine.