*This post was created in partnership with Chateau St. Jean who believes, like us, that date nights and wine go hand in hand. This recipe, loaded with aromatic herbs and verdant peas is fitly paired with their chardonnay. Be sure to check out our Date Night page and sign up to receive all of our date night recipes with wine pairings.
Falafel is not something that I often make at home. It’s not that it’s particularly difficult but it does require a bit of frying and that is not something I do on an ordinary Tuesday. But that’s the beauty of date night – the food isn’t ordinary.
The food itself is often the indicator that this night is special. That and the fact that I’ll clear the table, set it and perhaps apply my red lipstick before dinner. It should feel special. Setting aside the time to connect with my husband is incredibly important and the evening should reflect that.
Which is not to say that you need to be standing at the stove all day. This recipe is a perfect example of special food with not a lot of effort. Most of the ingredients you probably already have on hand. Perhaps a quick trip to the grocery store is needed to load up on all the fresh herbs this recipe requires but beyond that you’ll mostly be tucking into your pantry and freezer.
The green peas, not traditional in a falafel recipe, lend a nod to early summer along with a bright fresh flavor and a stunning chartreuse color that I love. If fresh peas are in season feel free to use those instead. Cook them quickly in boiling water then submerge them in ice cold water to stop the cooking. Depending on your peas you may have to adjust the amount of flour which is why I’ve given a range here.
If the evening allows, take this meal outside. It’s the sort that sits beautifully on a giant platter with an assortment of puffy pita and piles of whatever happen to be in your crisper to tuck into the pita along with the falafel. But really, the tart yogurt laced with a flurry of fragrant herbs is really all that is needed to top the falafel. Everything else is just a bonus.
Spring Pea Falafel
Yield 2 - 4
Serve with Chardonnay
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs (parsley, mint, chives)
2 garlic cloves
1/4 large onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 to 8 tablespoons flour
3 cups flavorless oil (such as canola) for frying
Thinly sliced red onion, cucumber, cilantro, mint, pita bread, chopped tomatoes, herb yogurt sauce
Herb Yogurt Sauce
1 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove
Chef 1: First things first, pour two glasses of Chardonnay.
Chef 2: In the bowl of a food processor combine the peas, chickpeas, cumin, coriander, salt, cayenne, herbs, garlic, and onion. Pulse until finely chopped but not pureéd. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Add the baking powder and flour and process until well combined. It will be quite sticky but holds together.
Chef 1: In a medium saucepan add the oil and heat until 375°.
Using two spoons scoop roughly 1 tablespoon of the falafel batter and use the other spoon to slide it off into the oil. Fry until deep golden, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Chef 2: Prepare the yogurt sauce by stirring together the yogurt, herbs, lemon, garlic and salt.
Chef 1 & 2: Serve the falafel with the yogurt sauce. Enjoy.