Food is one of the true pleasures in life! There is nothing more satisfying than enjoying healthy food that you have prepared with fresh ingredients in the comfort of your own home. When I lived in London, I was amazed to be able to sample cuisine from all around the world in one city. I fell in love with Lebanese food thanks to a little restaurant in Wimbledon. I was so inspired that I started making Lebanese food (as well as other cuisines) when I returned home to South Africa.
Lebanese cuisine includes plenty of wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and seafood. They eat poultry and red meat in smaller quantities. Chickpeas and parsley are also staples of the Lebanese diet which also includes copious amounts of garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.
Garlic is a low-calorie immune boosting superstar. Raw garlic is powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infection. It can lower blood pressure, cholesterol and kill parasites in the body. Cooking can diminish garlic’s antibiotic effects, so for maximum health benefits, eat it raw.
Seeing that we have been writing about chickpeas lately, I thought that I would share this delicious alternative to beef burgers with you – falafel burgers – a modern version of traditional Lebanese falafels.
We serve the burgers with tomato salsa which we make from scratch as it is fresh and healthy. What’s more, it is cheaper to make it yourself and tastes far better than out of a jar! See the recipe below.
Falafel Burgers (serves 4)
Cost of ingredients in June 2020: Approximately R26 for 4 burgers or R6.50 per patty
- 1 x 420g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 x small red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 x garlic clove, chopped or 1 tsp crushed garlic
- A handful of parsley
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1⁄2 tsp harissa paste or chilli powder
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp coconut or sunflower oil for frying
- Serve with toasted pita bread (or hamburger rolls), tomato salsa (see recipe below) and green salad
- Drain the tin of chickpeas and pour all the ingredients into a food processor. Blend until fairly smooth, then shape into four patties with your hands. If the mixture is too stiff to blend easily, add a bit of oil and water. The patties can be chunky too, so if you don’t have a food processor, you can mash the chickpeas with a fork and then add the other ingredients to it.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the burgers for approximately 3 mins on each side or until lightly golden brown.
- Serve with toasted pitta bread, tomato salsa and green salad. You can even add hummus too! (see the recipe on Facebook and Instagram last week)
Tomato Salsa (serves 8)
Cost of ingredients in June 2020: Approximately R20 for a bowl full or R2.50 per person
- 600g ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1 x small onion, roughly chopped
- 1 x garlic clove, chopped
- A few dried chilli flakes (add more depending on how spicy you like it)
- A few sprigs of fresh basil or ½ tsp dried basil
- 2 tbs lemon or lime juice
- Salt and pepper
- Pour all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz for a few seconds. Voila!
- Tomato salsa is so versatile! Use it as a burger topping, dip, add it to mince or other dishes when cooking or simply heat it and serve with pasta.
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