Even if you don’t grow a garden yourself, you can pretty much always guarantee some surprise produce from co-workers, friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers during the summer in Indiana.
As a gardener, there is always some point where you can’t even think about eating another spear of asparagus/cherry tomato/zucchini, and you start to give away the rest of the crop to every single person you see. There is even a whole holiday dedicated to sneaking extra zucchinis onto your neighbor’s porch.
These Falafel Lettuce Wraps were born from donated produce. Back when I worked in an office, it was pretty common to walk into our office kitchen on any given day during summer and see a pile of tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers with a big “TAKE ME!” sign hanging over them. That’s Midwestern generosity for you.
Okay, and maybe it’s a little bit of Midwestern pawning off, too.
During one particularly sweltering summer day, I walked into the office kitchen and saw a pile of beautiful Bibb lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and I immediately knew what I was going to make—some sort of lettuce wrap! I started thinking about all the foods we traditionally wrap in carb-heavy bread-y things—burritos, tacos, gyros, falafel. Wait! Falafel! Perfect.
Standard falafel balls (or patties) are a flavored chickpea mixture that is deep-fried to a crunchy golden brown exterior, while the inside stays soft and fluffy. It’s pretty incredible. To make it simpler and easier to make at home, I bake my falafel instead of deep-frying. Baking doesn’t give you the exact same texture as frying (does it ever?), but it’s a pretty close approximation. You get the same crispy outside and same pillowy-soft inside.
And by serving the falafel patties with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes on a bed of fresh lettuce, you’re getting a nice chunk of veggies in each bite. To up the flavor ante a bit, I made a very simple tahini sauce to drizzle on top. It also makes an excellent dipping sauce for…pretty much anything.
You can serve these for dinner, but they really shine as a meal prep office lunch! You can heat up your falafel patties or eat them room temperature. Just make sure to cool your patties completely before assembling your boxes (hot food + lettuce = Soggy City). And keep your sauce on the side—I love these leak proof dipping sauce containers. They nest perfectly into these these MealPrep 2-Compartment Glass Containers, which I use for all kinds of meal prep goodness! Enjoy.
These Meal Prep Baked Falafel Lettuce Wraps are chock-full of veggies, and travel well for packed lunches. No more sad desk salads for you!
For the Tahini Sauce
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Pinch of black pepper
- 3–4 tablespoons water
For the Falafel Patties
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas (about one 15.5 ounce can)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Cooking spray or olive oil
For the Wraps
- Leaves of bibb or iceberg lettuce
- Tomato slices
- Cucumber slices
- Red onion slices
- Minced fresh parsley
- To make the sauce, mash the garlic and salt into a paste using a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon. Add the tahini, lemon juice, black pepper, and three tablespoons of water. Whisk until smooth, adding additional water if necessary to achieve a pourable consistency.
- To make the falafel, preheat the oven to 400°F and grease a baking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil.
- Pulse the onion and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the chickpeas and pulse briefly. Add the egg, bread crumbs, cumin, salt, lemon juice, baking soda, and black pepper, and process until just combined.
- Use a tablespoon measure or 3/4-ounce scoop to form about 15 balls, arranging them on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten each one with your fingers to form a patty that is 2-3 inches in diameter.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops of the falafel patties are golden brown.
- To assemble the lettuce wraps, arrange the lettuce leaves on plates or in meal prep containers and top with sliced tomato, cucumber, and red onion. Top with two or three falafel patties and sprinkle with minced parsley. When ready to serve, drizzle the tahini sauce on top.
- If you are meal prepping and like your falafel patties hot, just take the patties out, microwave them for about a minute on a paper towel, and then add them back to the wrap.
- Category: Entrees
Keywords: entrees, lunch, meal prep, falafel, vegetarian