Happy Recipe Friday!
Today we are featuring Diana Bezanski, author and photographer of Flip Flops and Avocados!
My name is Diana Bezanski creator of Flip Flops and Avocados healthy recipe food blog. I’ve been a professional photographer 17 years based near NYC but really I’m a Santa Barbara girl/country girl at heart stuck in NY, but I can’t complain too much, works been good to me. My career began in fashion followed by a wedding portrait business I started 7 years later, which also involves covering fashion week, behind the scenes in fashion ads, high-end fashion presentations and parties. I started photographing food 3 years ago, which lately seems to be my favorite subject.
I, along with my husband, have been ethical vegans for 3 years now, prior to that, the foods I ate were pretty boring compared to the foods I eat today. Pre plant-based food days consisted of mostly chicken, eggs, dairy, pasta, canned tuna, fish and lots of Mexican food loaded with cheese. I did give up red meat 18 years ago for ethical reasons but somehow never made the connection with the other animal based foods and products – simply because I wasn’t aware. The food I cooked at home was much of the above, I didn’t know what quinoa, millet, or any of the whole grains were, I preferred white rice to brown, I didn’t know about soaking nuts, and making creams out of them or about sprouting, and what was a raw dessert? I was really limiting myself but not anymore.
My blog Flip Flops and Avocados is about sharing the exciting path I chose to live, it’s a lifestyle I enjoy and respect and any contribution to the betterment of all beings and planet is an obvious bonus. Plant-based food is fun, exciting and adventurous in all the best possible ways. I would say my recipes are healthy while not sacrificing in taste and texture. I’m always looking for the best possible approach to the foods I eat and choose to share with others, it’s about clean foods and desserts with less refined ingredients, using whole grains, coconut oil or cold-pressed olive oil, natural sweeteners, unrefined sugars, creams made out of nuts for my breakfast, dressing, sauces etc.
Chickpea, Red Lentil & Herbed Falafel
As much as I love falafels I can’t get over the idea that a traditional one is deep fried, something I prefer not to witness. Having said that, I attempted the deep fry, a bit unlike me, and the result – a disaster. First I had to fill my small pot with two inches of oil, not attractive, then I had to heat up to 350 degrees which took quite a while, then I dropped my falafel in the hot oil and watched my temp drop drastically to 150. The falafels fell apart in the oil and were a soggy mess, I’m not interested in attempting again and will continue to make the healthier version using just a tad oil or baking them, still great and less guilt not to mention my home doesn’t smell like hot oil, but instead spices.
This chickpea lentil falafel is a revision to an earlier post I have on my own blog, but a bit firmer. Please also note that these are intended to be enjoyed small. I have two variations below the only difference being the spices used and one has lemongrass. These are delicious little falafels that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, along side salad, alone with dressing, in cabbage leaf or in a pita loaded with lots of goodness, which is my favorite. Since I have so many dressings and sauces posted on my blog I’ve linked them below so you decide which is best.
Note: Baking these always result in cracking of the falafel but the inside is very moist, and once the sauce is added, it doesn’t matter. The other option is to lightly fry them in coconut oil until both sides are golden brown. I’ve taken images of both versions so you can see. If baking, try covering them, that might help with the cracking.
Red Lentil & Chickpea Falafel
3/4 cup cooked red lentils
1 ½ cup water
14 oz can chickpeas rinsed and drained
1 medium onion chopped small
1 shredded carrot about ¾ cup
3 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne
¾-1 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp fresh cilantro
3 tbsp fresh parsley
¾ cup panko
small pita pockets
add ½ organic lemon zest
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tbsp lemongrass – sauted with onion and carrot if using
1. Rinse the red lentils using a strainer under running water until it is no longer foamy. Add the lentil to a medium pot with water. Bring to a boil then turn down heat to very low and simmer covered for 13 minutes.
2. In a small bowl add the cumin, and paprika into a pan and toast until just fragrant, remove from the heat and transfer to a small bow – add the ground cayenne pepper.
3. Sauté the onion and carrot in oil with pinch of sea salt until soft about 4 minutest, then add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Transfer to a large bowl
4. Using a food processor pulse the chickpeas until broken up but not mushy. Add the spices, sea salt, parsley and cilantro and pulse to combine, add cooked red lentils and onions and pulse to combine, if mixture is too big for processor divide the mixture in half and pulse, transfer to a large bowl and add the panko and stir very well.
5. Transfer the mixture to fridge and let set for 30 minutes, balls should form and hold together easily, if too wet add more panko if too dry add 1 tbsp of water at a time until mixture holds when forming.
Option 1 – Baking
Pre heat oven to 375 rack in middle
Make golf sized balls then flatten slightly. Place them on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 18 minutes. They will crack a little and look dry but the inside is moist. You can cover the patties while baking, which might prevent cracking but I haven’t tried this.
Add coconut oil to a pan and cook the patties on each side until golden brown.
Enjoy with a side of salad, in cabbage leaf, or my favorite, on top small pita
Tahini dressing, or dill dressing, ginger dressing