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Moosewood’s Felafel: Vegetarian Food that Carnivores Like.

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falafelSo this is a photography fail because really, anyone with half a brain could have figured out that the asparagus would look better from the head end (or whatever it’s called), and that from this angle, the food would resemble a pile of fallen timber adjacent to a snow-capped and craggy land mass…possibly on the moon. What you are seeing is Felafel, Tahi-Lemon Sauce, Pita and fresh asparagus. Felafel is vegetarian, economical and delicious – a great way to work a veggie meal into a meat and potatoes family. It certainly isn’t low calorie (being fried and all) but it’s all “good” fat unless you fry it in beef tallow. I will say that Mr. Annie, not a big fan of the Seitan and Sprout genre of cuisine, thought the Felafel was delicious, and had two helpings.

Using recipes from The Moosewood Cookbook, I made both the crispy chickpea patties and the spicy Tahini-based sauce, and our adorable young friends Kristin and James dropped by with Michigan-grown asparagus they had seen for sale on the way home from “Up North” Michigan. The only hitch was the Pita; I somehow managed to buy a variety that had no actual pockets, which made the traditional Felafel sandwich somewhat tough to accomplish. Since it was tender, freshbread, I cleaned the status-post Felafel grease from my skillet and cooked the pita about a minute on each side, until it was warm, and pliable enough to be folded around golden rounds of Felafel with tart, creamy sauce. There is lots of sauce left over and I have been dipping asparagus and carrots in it.

I will try to limit myself here, but I have to say that I LOVE The Moosewood Cookbook, and have loved it for about 24 years since my intense post-college, nutty, crunchy, vegetarian period. I had never seen the “New” version of the book, which still has the recipes I used over and over, like the Miso Soup, Lentil Soup, Indonesian Rice Salad, Cashew-Ginger Sauce, Scheherezade Casserole, Samosas, and my most favorite: Gado Gado. The drawings I loved are still there, and the book has all of the good things I remember, plus a more modern approach in terms of kitchen equipment and processes. I don’t know how I lived without a copy all these years, and even though my family doesn’t share my dream of long, flowing skirts, Birkenstocks and Indian bracelets worn while whipping up batches of Mushroom Curry for my fellow Co-Op members (did I mention the “Dead” bootlegs, Pete Seeger and Reggae playing in the background?), the Felafel was a big hit. I think I can work in more Moosewood recipes as long as I avoid the blatant use of tofu.

The Mooswewood site has neither of these recipes, so I’m sharing:


(from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)


  1. 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
  2. 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 tsp. Turmeric
  4. 1 tsp. salt
  5. 1/2 cup finely minced onion (or six scallions)
  6. 1/4 c. packed parsley (I omitted this since I had forgotten to buy it)
  7. 1/4 c. water
  8. 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  9. A few dashes cayenne (I used a tsp.)
  10. 1/3 c. flour
  11. Oil for frying (I used Canola)


  1. Rinse and drain chickpeas
  2. Combine all ingredients but flour in a food processor (or mash in a bowl) until you have a uniform batter
  3. Heat a heavy skillet and add about 3 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat
  4. Add flour and stir until thoroughly combined. (You can cook them now, or store in a covered container for several days)
  5. When a drop of the batter sizzles when dropped into the oil, start dropping tablespoons full into the oil, flattening with the spoon so that you have small pancakes.
  6. Cook at least 5 minutes per side; the original recipe calls for 10 which I found was so long that they dried out. Try one after 5 minutes a side, and if it is crisp on the outside and still soft on the inside, you’re fine.
  7. Place on paper towels or napkins to soak up grease and serve with sauce and pita.

Tahini-Lemon Sauce

(from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)


  1. 3/4 c. sesame tahini
  2. 5 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  4. 3/4 – 1 cup water
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Fresh parsley (again, I didn’t have any)
  7. Cayenne to taste (optional)


  1. Place tahini, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor or blender. Begin to process.
  2. With the motor running, add water until sauce reaches desired consistency (thinner than peanut butter, thicker than mayonnaise, in my opinion).
  3. Transfer to a small bowl or container, and season with salt, parsley, and cayenne if you want a little kick. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready.

About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

7 responses »

  1. It was very good. One of the things I really liked was the sauce. It had nice bite. (optional?)

  2. I’m going to try this! I’m hoping Zachary, my child who does aspire to the fruit and nut variety. . . except for pork, the kid loves pork? go figure

  3. nicole ellefson

    I too love the Moosewood books. I used to have a copy of the Moosewood Eats at Home but lent it out and it’s now lost. There is a recipe in there for sweet potato quesodillas (sp?) that I love. We often boost it with black beans for more protein. Do you have that book?

  4. Question for you … tahini — should it be salted? I’m thinking that salted is fine and you add less later but wasn’t sure … grocery stores have one or two choices and frankly, the canned, unsalted kind looks scary (not hipster), with a very 60s retro design.

    • Wendy, you’ve probably given up on me and/or figured this out on your own, but I would definitely go with the salted tahini unless you are watching salt for health reasons. If your instinct is that it’s scary, you are probably entirely correct. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Vegetarian Selection Sins « offmotorway

  6. Pingback: Vegtember: Lebanese Meze Platter | Lunchtime Legend

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