Every New Yorker loves a good falafel sandwich and I am certainly no exception. There’s something about that soft pita stuffed with chickpea fritters (falafel), shredded lettuce, chopped onions, tomatoes, tahini and swipe of harissa. Over the years, I have enjoyed discovering new twists on the traditional, with purple cabbage, smokey eggplant, pickled onion, the list goes on.
Falafel from scratch is a bit of a process and not being an experienced deep fryer the task of getting the fritters ‘just right’ is a bit intimidating. Beyond the frying, there’s the challenge of fitting all the goodies into the slit pita and eating it without everything falling apart…oh, the hardship.
The good news is that it’s quite easy to find falafel in the freezer section of many supermarkets and even harissa has become ubiquitous. To answer the question, “What is harissa?” Harissa is a hot chili pepper paste. A great one to buy in the DC area is made by Cava, located in the refrigerator aisle along with the hummus.
After a recent visit to Trader Joe’s, I came up with the concept of Open-Faced Falafel. As with any “recipe” that is more assembly instructions rather than cooking directions, feel free to customize as you wish. Not into mouth burn? Omit the harissa. Love baba ganoush? Use it instead of hummus. Craving cucumbers? Pile them on. Initially, I sliced this up into two-bite portions and served it as a happy hour appetizer. Big hit. Subsequently, I have made lunch and even a light dinner out of this deconstructed falafel. With your own customizations it is certainly a kid-friendly meal.
- 1 nan or thick pita bread
- 3-4 pre-made falafel balls
- chopped parsley
- Lightly toast bread.
- Spread a thin layer of harissa over the surface, followed by a thicker layer of hummus.
- Heat the falafel balls according to package directions.
- Break-up the falafel balls and scatter over the surface of the prepared bread.
- Top with a sprinkle of parsley.
- Cut into pieces and serve.