Falafel with Avocado Spread

I was really excited when I found this recipe in Sept. 2007 issue of Cooking Light (there is a reason that it’s from and older issue). There is this little Ma’ and Pa’ Middle Eastern restaurant a couple blocks from our apartment that my husband and I LOVE, and this is my absolute favorite item on the menu. I guess I can’t quite make that claim because I have never ordered anything else, but nonetheless, they make some GREAT falafel. So when I found myself reading a falafel recipe in the magazine at the gym, there was some justification for the page ending up in my gym bag. I am guilty as charged. =-)

I have never made bean patties of any kind before, but I can say that the whole recipe was pretty quick to make. My patties did not end up as “crunchy” as the ones at the restaurant. I am assuming that they use more oil than the recipe calls for, so it seems to be a swap between crunchy and healthy. As written, the amount of crunch is still farily satisfying, so I think I’ll try to stay with the healthy side. Next time, I would increase the cumin to at least 1/4 teaspoon if not more (mostly because I really like that flavor) to give it a bit more zing.
Sorry that I do not really have any good pictures of the avocado spread! The spread accented the patties perfectly! Unfortunately, we found ourselves wanting a little bit more, so next time I would double that as well. Overall, I don’t think the recipe quite counts as a twin for the other, but it can definately stand in as a healthier “stunt double.” Enjoy!
Falafel with Avocado Spread
1 (15oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. (2oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 c. finely crushed tortilla chips
2 Tbsp. finely chopped green onions
1 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro (this could probably be increased to taste as well)
1/8 tsp. ground cumin (more next time!)
1 large egg white
1-1/2 tsp. canola oil
1/4 c. mashed, peeled avocado
2 Tbsp. finely chopped tomato
1 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
2 Tbsp. fat-free sour cream
1/8 tsp. salt
2 6-inch pitas, cut in half crosswise
red onion slices, separated into rings
To prepare patties, place pinto beans in a medium bowl; partially mash with a fork. Add cheese and next 5 ingredients (through egg white); stir until well combined. Shape bean mixture into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) oval patties.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over mediu-high heat. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until patties are browned and thoroughly heated.
To prepare spread, combine avocado and next 5 ingredients (through salt) stirring well. Place 1 patty in each pita half. Spread about 2 tablespoons avocado spread over patty in each pita half; top with onions and greens.