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Tomato-infused falafel in pitas a vegan option

Beverly Lynn Bennett’s new cookbook, “Vegan Bites,” caters to the just-one, just-veggies crowd with small-batch vegan recipes.

But you don’t need to be single or a vegan to appreciate her recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato Falafel in Pita Pockets.

Sun-Dried Tomato Falafel in Pitas

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

1/4 cup sun-dried tomato pieces (not oil-packed)

1/3 cup water

1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil, plus additional for frying

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/3 cup whole-wheat flour

2 tablespoons finely diced red onions

2 tablespoons finely diced celery

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Two large whole-grain pita breads

Sliced cucumbers

Shredded carrots

Shredded lettuce

Alfalfa sprouts

Plain soy yogurt or tahini

Freshly squeezed lemon juice, as needed

In a small bowl combine the sun-dried tomato pieces with the water. Cover and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.

Drain off any excess water from the tomatoes, then transfer them to a food processor along with the chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, chili powder, curry powder, salt and cayenne.

Process, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until completely smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.

Stir in the flour, red onions, celery and chopped parsley.

Pour enough olive oil into a large skillet to coat the bottom and place over medium heat.

Carefully portion 6 rounded tablespoonfuls of the falafel mixture into the hot oil and flatten each one slightly with the back of the spoon. Cook the patties over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden on the bottom.

Flip the patties and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown on the other side.

Arrange two paper towels on a large plate. Transfer the patties to the plate to allow excess oil to drain. Repeat with remaining falafel mixture.

To assemble each sandwich, cut the pita bread in half across the center. Open the pocket of each half and fill each with 3 falafel patties and as much cucumber, carrot, lettuce and sprouts as desired.

Thin the soy yogurt or tahini with a small amount of lemon juice to make a sauce, then drizzle it over each pita half to taste.

(Recipe adapted from Beverly Lynn Bennett’s “Vegan Bites,” Book Publishing Company, 2008)

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