Our favourite dish in the world is a falafel wrap. When they are done right that is, but often, they aren’t! We are obsessed with finding the most delicious falafel and figuring out what makes it the best. While we were living in London we stalked down local falafel joints and tasted, examined and critiqued their falafel wraps. We think we’ve decided what a falafel needs in order to be amazing and we’re willing to share that with you. (You’re welcome!)
Now, first off, you need a good recipe for the falafel itself. We’ve experimented with classic recipes as well as some more creative interpretations. While we love them all, we particularly love this recipe for a spinach falafel from Vegan Yack Attack. It puts a spin on the traditional recipe by incorporating spinach.
Next, you need the fillings. This is where the falafel usually falls short. A wrap needs more then just hummus people! First off, pickled turnips are critical! Traditional Lebanese falafels always have pickled turnips and we agree with this. We made our own by following this recipe. It is really easy and they stay long for so long that you can make lots in advance to last you a long time. They have a great flavour and a bit of crunch, which adds a great texture to the wrap.
Next is the hot sauce. When we were living in London we found the best falafel in Earl’s Court in west London. They had an AMAZING sauce that complimented the wrap so perfectly. We would go through bowls with each wrap. It was delicious. However, the recipe seemed to be a mysterious secret. We couldn’t coax them to reveal the secret so we were left to recreate it on our own. After a lot of internet searching and experimenting this is what we came up with. Its light flavour mixed with the heat is a perfect balance with the other flavours in the wrap.
Falafel Hot Sauce
1 can of tomatoes
Juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press
1 tbs. finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. brown sugar
½ tsp to 1tsp Chili sauce to taste
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ red pepper, diced
Put all the ingredients, except breadcrumbs and pepper, into a small, pan, bring to the boil, and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Now transfer the sauce into a food processor with the red pepper and breadcrumbs and blitz until well mix. Season and allow to cool before serving.
Next is the hummus and tahini sauce. Again, both are critical to a good falafel wrap. We use Jamie Oliver’s recipe for hummus and the following is our tahini sauce recipe. Tahini sauce is super easy to make. Store your sauce in an airtight container and it will keep for two weeks in the fridge.
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ cup tahini paste
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ cup water
Mix all the ingredients together. Done.
Ok, now it’s time to put this all together! We warm up some pitas, and stuff it full with everything. We also like to shove a few sliced pickles and spinach leaves in there. Normally you would roll these up, but we are greedy and can pack more in with our technique! Wrap, roll, stuff, whatever your technique it will be delicious if you incorporate all this components! It’s a delicious meal that is also really healthy for you. Chickpeas, spinach, a range of veggies. It’s a guilt-free meal that packs a punch and will satisfy even the most stubborn carnivore.
On a final note – we are still quite new to Vancouver and if you think you know the best place to get a falafel please tell us! We’d love to know your pick for Vancouver’s best falafel.
Sami & Erica
~The Vegan Project