Buffalo Falafels w/ Blue Cheese Fries and Ranch Style Tzatziki Sauce

Buffalo Falafels w/ Blue Cheese Fries and Ranch Style Tzatziki Sauce

Yes, these are Buffalo Falafels!  A wonderful healthy take on the traditional buffalo wing that is a mainstay at many sports bars, tailgating and super bowl parties.  This falafel recipe is adapted from one of my favorite bloggers I follow, Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest. It is a recipe packed with pungent and tangy flavors from the buffalo sauce and my absolute favorite, blue cheese.  Before starting this blog, I would make these falafels, just for myself, whenever I would host a sports party.  I’m not the biggest fan of buffalo wings (mostly restaurant) as I’ve had one too many times of feeling just plain awful after consuming them, but I also find making buffalo wings too daunting a task, especially for a lot of people.  The last thing I wanted is the disappointment of someone’s team losing AND the wings weren’t that great!  I didn’t want that responsibility.  It’s too great! 

When I came across this recipe, I was sold.  I liked the flavor of the buffalo sauce, but I never got around to creating a recipe that I could enjoy sans the chicken.  I pretty much am an all or nothing gal sometimes, so I banished buffalo wings from my life.  Until, this recipe found me and it has been my go to for lunch, dinner and at home sporting event get togethers. It also aligned with my diet preferences, which have changed over time (more heavily plant-based), so they're just for me.  It is an easy recipe requiring a total of an hour to prepare.  Of course, you can prepare your falafel mixture and tzatziki sauce the day before and refrigerate.  Once you come home, the only thing left to do is bake the fries and the falafels and arrange on pitas.  Done in under 30 minutes. 

I like this recipe as it is filling.  When it comes to plant-based living, a lot of my family or just people that I meet or have met, wonder how I stay full eating a mostly plant based diet.  I let them know  1. My life revolves around food.  I don’t eat to live, I live to eat.  I’m always educating myself on eating more consciously and eating balanced meals. 2. I eat a combination of foods that offer satiety or keep me full such as oatmeal, brown rice, grains with legumes, nuts, nut butters, veggies, fruits, and so on.  A lot of these foods are high in fiber, which fill you up.  If you’re just starting out, opt to do a plant based meal once or twice a week or a plant based day.  See how you feel, adjusting your protein intake, which fills you up also.  The more chances your body has to eat plant based foods, the healthier you’ll feel. 

Buffalo Falafels w/ Garlic Blue Cheese Fries and Ranch Style Tzatziki//serves 4
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest

garlic blue cheese fries
4 medium size russet potatoes or sweet potatoes, skin-on and cut into wedges (you can opt and do a mix of both potatoes)
2 cloves garlic finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley or basil chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt + pepper to taste
¼ cup olive oil
4-oz blue cheese, crumbled

falafels
2- 15.5 oz cans chickpeas drained and rinsed
½ sweet onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cumin
A good pinch of salt and pepper
1 small bunch fresh cilantro
1 cup prepared buffalo sauce
4 store-bought pitas, warmed

ranch style tzatziki
½ cup ranch dressing
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ seedless cucumber, chopped

Prepare the ranch style tzatziki by combining the ranch dressing, greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, dried oregano, lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl.  Mix until combined and then stir in the cucumber.  Store, covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Next, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Place the cut fries into a medium bowl and toss with oil, garlic, parsley or basil and salt and pepper.  Spread on a baking sheet in one layer.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, then rotate and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.  The potatoes should be crisp, but not burnt.  Once the fries are cooked, remove from the oven and toss with the blue cheese and fresh chopped basil.  Once fries are down, turn down the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Start preparing the falafels by combining the chickpeas, garlic, onions, olive oil, flour, baking powder, cumin, and salt and pepper in a food processor.  Puree until smooth.  Add the cilantro and pulse a few times more.  Once the mixture is combined, with wet hands, form into small balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until crisp on top and cooked through.  Remove from the oven and toss with the buffalo sauce.

If you opt to fry the falafels, add a few inches of oil to the bottom of a heavy pot.  Heat to 375 degrees F.  Fry the balls for 2-3 minutes or until golden and cooked through.  Drain on paper towels and then immediately toss with the buffalo sauce.

To serve, place the falafels on warm pita bread.  Top with the blue cheese fries, drizzle with extra buffalo sauce, blue cheese and parsley. Serve with the ranch style tzatziki sauce.