SRC: Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice

Panfried falafel served up with lots of creamy tzatziki [cucumber sauce] and a tangy Greek rice. No one said vegetarian food had to be boring!

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | thepajamachef.com #SRC #vegetarian

I’m so glad it’s a Secret Recipe Club [SRC] day! What’s SRC? Basically a fun blogging group where you’re secretly paired up with another blogger. Everyone makes a recipe from their assigned blog and posts on the same day. The club has grown over the years and now has four groups. Since I first joined a few years[!] ago, I’ve been in group A. But when I had the chance to switch groups, I got SO excited because–hello!–new blogs to explore! :) So now I’m in group C and loving it! This month I was assigned to Jamie’s blog, Our Eating Habits. Jamie lives in Canada and like any food blogger, loves food. She says on her about page: “Eating is a big part of my life, so I make sure everything that goes into my mouth is tasty.” A sentiment I agree with! [And that is EXACTLY why I bought jalapeno cheetos on Saturday at the grocery store. Those are SO good. Anyway…] Jamie loves cooking and baking for her family and has an impressive number of recipes on her blog. It was so fun to browse her recipes! I was tempted to make these red velvet M&M cake mix bars for Valentine’s Day, and will make this Butterscotch Confetti at Christmastime this year! I was all set to make those red velvet bars when I saw that Jamie had a falafel recipe…and I was sold!

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | thepajamachef.com #SRC #vegetarian

Though I love falafel, sometimes I’m hesitant to order it at restaurants because it’s easy to make it too dry since it’s basically deep-fried chickpea balls/patties. Chickpeas are a drier bean anyway, so it makes sense. That’s why I’ve been excited to see so many pan-fried recipes for falafel lately. This recipe doesn’t disappoint! It’s so flavorful and moist [sorry!]. I changed the recipe a little from Jamie’s version, using lime juice instead of lemon, and adding the zest in for a little something special. Jamie used an egg as a binder and I decided to exclude it just so I didn’t have to worry about not cooking the falafel enough. I compensated for the lack of egg by using more chickpeas and less bread crumbs. Served up with some creamy tzatziki, chopped tomatoes and red onion, on a pita or lettuce-wrap style, this is an awesome meal! I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make this tasty vegetarian meal. Jamie added mayo to her tzatziki sauce and I thought that was genius! The mayo made the sauce a little creamier and added a little extra zip, but it also tasted good without.

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | thepajamachef.com #SRC #vegetarian

As a side, I made a super easy lemon rice. It has just four ingredients: jasmine rice, chicken broth, rosemary, and lemon juice and is SO addictive. The bright, fresh flavor was perfect alongside the falafel. This is not a meal to be missed! Hope you try it today. :) Thanks, Jamie, for a great recipe!

one year ago: Fresh Cranberry Coffee Cake
two years ago: Go-To Pancakes
three years ago: Sunrise Muffins
four years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 50 minutes
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Falafel and Tzatziki from Our Eating Habits; Greek Lemon Rice from Thank Your Body

Ingredients:

for falafel

  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2-1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1-2 cans chickpeas [15 ounces each]
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • oil for cooking

for Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and grated, pressed dry with a clean dish towel
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill [or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped]
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for Greek Lemon Rice

  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • juice of 1 lemon [approximately 1/4 cup]
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for serving

  • pita bread
  • chopped red onions
  • chopped tomato
  • romaine lettuce

Directions:

Begin by making the tzatziki. In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, cucumber, dill, and mayo. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate while cooking falafel and rice.

Next, mix up the falafel. In a food processor, pulse together onion, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, lime zest, and lime juice. Then add 1/4 cup bread crumbs and 1 can chickpeas and pulse together, being careful to not completely pulverize the chickpeas. Check to see if mixture holds together, then add additional bread crumbs and/or chickpeas, pulsing gently, until mixture can be shaped into patties. I used 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 1 1/2 cans chickpeas [approximately 2 1/4 cups chickpeas]. Season to taste with pepper and salt. Shape into small patties–I used about 1/4 cup for each. Place on a plate or baking sheet and pop in the fridge to chill while starting the rice.

In a small saucepan set over high heat, combine rice, chicken broth, rosemary, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then stir. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Fluff with a fork and season with pepper and salt to taste.

While rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and when hot, cook falafel patties, about 3-4 minutes per side until heated through and browned on each side.

Serve falafel in a pita or with lettuce, topping with onions, tomato, and tzatziki. Rice is great on the side or in the pita too!

Be sure to see what other SRC members made this week:

Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins

Fresh ginger, yogurt, and coconut oil make for a healthy tropical banana muffin that you won’t be able to resist! 

Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins | thepajamachef.com

Banana muffins… can you ever have enough recipes? I think not. These banana muffins aren’t your basic cinnamon/nut laced version. These banana muffins are tropical and healthy. Perfect for a dreary January morning, methinks. And the shredded coconut on top is just the start of the amazingness!

Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins | thepajamachef.com

It’s honestly been a few months since I made these delicious muffins, so I don’t have one in front of me right now. Sad day! But I do remember just how wonderful these tasted. It’s only been recently that I’ve started to buy fresh ginger, and let me tell you… fresh ginger is just SO wonderful. It’s fragrant as you’re grating it, and then it adds a little extra burst of flavor with the bananas, coconut oil, and warm spices. These muffins are a nice way to escape on a lil vacation at breakfast or snacktime, even if it’s just an average winter weekday back at home. Enjoy!

one year ago: Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears
two years ago: Mexican Cornbread Pot Pie
three years ago: Lasagna Soup
four years ago: Whole Wheat Cornbread

Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Time: 20 minutes
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adapted from A Hint of Honey

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour [could use all white whole wheat/all all-purpose]
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour [could use all white whole wheat/all all-purpose]
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt [or plain yogurt/sour cream]
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar [may want to increase to 1/4 cup if using plain yogurt or sour cream]
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed [about 1 cup]
  • shredded coconut, for topping

Directions:

Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners. Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, stir together yogurt, brown sugar, oil, eggs, ginger, vanilla, and bananas. Fold wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full, then top with shredded coconut. Bake until golden, approximately 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Leftovers can be frozen for a later time.

Mystery Dish: Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies

Fudgy chocolate cookies made with greek yogurt! They’re strangely amazing! :)

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies | thepajamachef.com

Happy Mystery Dish Day! I know it’s Black Friday, but I refuse to brave the crowds and face American consumerism head-on. No material item is worth that craziness. Ugh, I’m not a crowds person at all. Just give me a good book, some tea, and a yummy snack like popcorn or cookies and I’m happy. And these cookies are AWESOME. They’re the perfect book-reading, movie-watching, game-playing companion. Super rich and chocolately with lots of tart cranberries and mini chocolate chips mixed in.

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies | thepajamachef.com

These Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies were a fun way to use up some ingredients that were selected by our hostess, Rebecca from Living Better Together. She asked us to make something amazing with at least three of the following ingredients: Hazelnuts, Pork Belly, Dark Chocolate, Cranberries, Bourbon, Red Potatoes, Pimento Cheese, Ginger, Yogurt, French Bread, Buckwheat, and Rice Krispies. I honestly don’t remember how I came up with the idea of making greek yogurt cookies, but a little googling later I realized they were actually a thing!

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies | thepajamachef.com

One fun element about them besides how awesome they taste is that they’re also made with no butter or oil… perfect for those times when you don’t have any on hand but want a cookie or when you’re trying to eat a lil healthier. Like after Thanksgiving, haha. I hope you had a great day celebrating with family and friends, btw!

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies | thepajamachef.com

I’m not going to lie–these cookies don’t have that soft and chewy texture of most addictive cookies. These cookies are soft and puffy, not quite muffin tops but close. What they lack in chewiness they make up for in flavor. I used both dark chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate in them [dark chocolate cocoa powder and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips], but you could certainly mix and match based on your tastes. I hope you enjoy them, and be sure to check out what my friends made for you too!

one year ago: Harvest Pear Crisp with Crystallized Ginger
two years ago: Teriyaki Meatball Bowls
three years ago: Thai Peanut Ginger Wings
four years ago: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Sauce 

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies

  • Servings: 36
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Give Recipe

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8-12 ounces plain greek yogurt [I used nonfat but 2% or whole milk yogurt is also great]
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder [like Hershey’s Special Dark]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a large bowl, whisk egg, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 8 ounces plain greek yogurt together. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, adding up to another 4 ounces of greek yogurt if necessary if it’s too thick to stir. I used another 2 ounces but 4 seemed like too much. Fold in almost all of the chocolate chips and cranberries, reserving a few tablespoons to press on the top before baking.

Scoop cookie dough out [it will be thick] with a cookie dough scoop or two spoons. Place about 1-2 inches apart on baking sheets. They don’t spread so you can put them fairly close together. Since dough is so thick, it’s easiest to use multiple pans and scoop it all out at once. Afterwards, press down on tops of dough balls gently with a spoon, then dot with a few cranberries or chocolate chips.

Bake for 10 minutes, then cool on baking sheets a few minutes before cooling on a wire rack. Sprinkle with sea salt while hot if desired.

 

See what other Mystery Dish gals made this month:

Gluten Free Chocolate Bourbon Hazelnut Cake from Living Better Together

Turtle Krispies Treats from I Dig Pinterest

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies from The Pajama Chef

Chewy Chocolate Hazelnut Granola Bars from I Want Crazy

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut English Toffee from Flavor the Moments

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cranberry Buttercrunch from Inspiration Kitchen

Skinny Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Hazelnut Fudge from Joyful Healthy Eats

Cranberry Hazelnut Crepe Cake from Blahnik Baker

Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats from The Smart Cookie Cook

Mini Eggnog Cheesecakes with Hazelnut Cookie Crust from The Well Floured Kitchen

Salted Hazelnut Scotcheroos from Yummy Healthy Easy

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Cute lil mini muffins filled with bananas and chocolate are perfect lunchbox treats!

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins | thepajamachef.comEven though it’s pumpkin season, I bet you still have some brown bananas hanging about, needing to become banana bread, right?!? Well, next time you do, you will have to try these adorable Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins! I have a million banana bread recipes on my blog, and I love every one of them. :) This one is no exception! Each muffin is full of mini chocolate chips and tons of banana flavor. You know how some banana recipes only call for one banana? That’s never enough, and this recipe knows it. That’s why it includes THREE bananas. Triple the banana love, folks!

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins2These muffins are extra moist and rich thanks to the double dose of butter and sour cream in the batter. Is it weird that the first thing that came in my mind while typing butter and sour cream is, “boy, I’d like a baked potato.” Wait–don’t answer that. I guess I’m hungry. :) While baked potatoes and banana muffins don’t go together, these muffins pair perfectly with a tall glass of milk or a cup of hot cocoa. Ben has become, can we say, a bit obsessed with chocolate milk recently, so he’d say you should serve the little guys with chocolate milk, but I say, drink whatever kind of milk suits your fancy. :)

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins | thepajamachef.comNormally I prefer our everyday lunch/snack muffins to be on the healthy side, but sometimes you gotta live it up and enjoy the chocolate! :) There’s plenty to go around!

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins | thepajamachef.comJust look at all those mini chips on top! That’s why I love mini chocolate chips…spreading the wealth! YUM!

one year ago: Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting
three years ago: Roasted Vegetable Soup
four years ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

  • Servings: 36
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from The Lively Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana [about 3]
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini muffin pans with paper liners or grease with cooking spray.

With a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one by one, mixing well in between. Beat in bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Slowly mix in flours and baking soda by hand until just combined, then fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon into prepared pans and bake for 10-13 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. These freeze well!

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Waffles with Caramelized Bananas

Sweet and fluffy buttermilk waffles are topped with plenty of my favorite things…including caramelized bananas… to make my ultimate waffles!

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Waffles with Caramelized Bananas | thepajamachef.com

How about a yummy breakfast for Monday morning? These waffles are my ULTIMATE breakfast, you guys. Seriously. They’re light and fluffy and full of my favorite flavors: chocolate and coconut. But they don’t stop there. No, they’re topped with sweet brown sugar caramelized bananas, peanut butter, maple syrup, more chocolate chips, and creamy vanilla yogurt [though if you’re a whipped cream fan, that would probably suit you better]. See? Yum!

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Waffles with Caramelized Bananas | thepajamachef.com

Before making these waffles, I had never caramelized bananas before, but now that I know how to do it, I probably will never stop. It’s crazy how something so easy can totally transform something I love into something I love even more! And it was super fast to do, too. I realize by saying that it means I probably didn’t use the right technique, but they tasted good… so, oh well! :) Breakfast of champions, right here! Enjoy your day. :)

one year ago: Creamy Shells and Yogurt
two years ago: Strawberry Muffins
three years ago: Watermelon Coolers
four years ago: Brown Sugar Bacon Twists

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Waffles with Caramelized Bananas

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 30 mins
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Ingredients:

for waffles [adapted from allrecipes.com]

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour [can use white whole wheat or more all-purpose flour]
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk [can use 1 tablespoon lemon juice/vinegar + enough milk to fill 1 cup]
  • 1/4 cup milk [can use half and half or heavy cream]
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract [can use vanilla or almond extract]
  • mini chocolate chips
  • peanut butter, vanilla yogurt, maple syrup, additional mini chocolate chips

for bananas [from Food.com]

  • 2 teaspoons butter or oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 bananas, sliced into coins [bananas shouldn’t be too soft/ripe to begin with]
  • cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat waffle iron.

In a large bowl, stir together flours, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, whisk together milks, butter, eggs, and coconut extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients gradually, carefully whisking together.

Spoon batter into hot waffle iron. About 1/3 cup is right for my waffle iron. Top batter with about a tablespoon of mini chocolate chips, then cook until steam isn’t coming out of the waffle iron and the waffle is golden brown.

Continue cooking until batter is gone; this should be about 6 waffles.

While waffles are cooking, prepare bananas. Heat butter in a small skillet set over medium heat. Sprinkle sugar on a small plate or bowl and roll bananas in sugar until coated. Place bananas in hot skillet and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cook for a minute or so until golden brown. Flip and sprinkle other side with cinnamon, then cook for another minute and remove from heat.

Top waffles with peanut butter, vanilla yogurt, bananas, and mini chocolate chips or other toppings as desired.