Feb 232014

This summer, my friend Erica Sweet Tooth and I auctioned off a dinner party at a charity auction. We knew that it couldn’t just be your average dinner party, but that we had to spice it up in Sweet Tooth/Cook Tush style. We went with a grown up comfort food menu including an “adult” lemonade stand, two types of sliders, healthy butternut squash-kale mac & cheese (recipe coming soon), mixed root vegetable fries, and of course, homemade cookie-ice cream sandwiches for dessert. Everything was a huge hit, especially these two sliders–Jalapeno-Quinoa Falafel and Chicken Meatball Parm.
The chicken meatball parm slider was so flavorful and super easy. Just use your favorite meatball recipe, make slightly more burger shaped than ball shaped, and top with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil. I was bad and didn’t measure anything enough to share the recipe, but mine were a combo of ground chicken and chicken italian sausage (1 lb of each), parmesan, whole wheat bread crumbs, 2 eggs, italian seasoning/salt/pepper, and a splash of milk.
Here’s a little preview of the dinner party spread…
Picture 4
As amazing as the meatball slider was, I liked the falafel even more. They were vegan/gluten free, incredibly flavorful, and so cute on mini pita with tomato cucumber salad and tahini. These falafel were baked instead of fried but they were still super crispy and held together well. The other beauty of sliders is they keep portions in check…that is until you eat several of them. Oops.
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Jalapeno-Quinoa Falafel “Sliders”
Makes about 24 falafel
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What’s in it:
1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas
1 cup cooked quinoa
1-2 Jalapenos, seeded
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, quartered
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground corriander
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (or a combo)
1 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
2 eggs or flax eggs
If needed, a few tablespoons of any type of flour

For the Tahini Sauce:
1/2 cup tahini
2 T olive oil
2 T water
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice from 1 fresh lemon

For serving:
Mini whole wheat pitas or large pita cut into small triangles
Cucumber-tomato salad (mine was simple chopped cucumber and tomato with lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper)
Siracha, in case the jalapeno in the falafel is not enough :)

1. Do in advance! Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water by 3 or 4 inches—the beans will get much bigger as they soak. Soak for 24 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 400. Drain the chickpeas and transfer them to a food processor with the garlic, onion, cumin, corriander, herbs, jalapeno, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper. Pulse until everything is minced but not pureed, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides if necessary.

3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and mix in the cooked quinoa and eggs/flax eggs. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper if needed. If the mixture seems really “wet” add a few tablespoons of flour to make them hold together a little better.

3. Coat large rimmed baking pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roll the falafel mixture into 24 balls, about 1½ inches each, then flatten them into thick patties. Put the falafel on the prepared pan and brush the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Bake until golden all over, 10 to 15 minutes on each side.

4. Meanwhile, whisk all of the tahini ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Add additional water if it is too thick.

5. Assemble the falafel sliders by topping a small pita with a falafel, a spoonful of tomato/cucumber salad, and a drizzle of tahini and siracha. Enjoy!

A few notes:
– I found the flavor in the falafel “batter” to be really pungent and almost too strong from all the herbs and seasonings, but once baked they were perfect.
– You can make the whole falafel mixture a few days in advance and just bake them up when you are ready.

  One Response to “A Tale of Two Sliders…”

  1. This looks amazing! Wish I could have been there!

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