RECIPES: Baked Falafel & Baba Ghanoush on Pita

Recipe: Baked Falafel and Baba Ghanoush on Pita

Recipe: Baked Falafel and Baba Ghanoush on Pita

It has only now, upon typing this, occurred to me that a large number of my favourite things to make and eat are Mediterranean style. Probably at least half of my posted recipes are along those lines. So I hope you guys like them, too. haha!

This recipe can be made a few different ways. I have provided recipes for both the falafel and baba ghanoush, but you could easily use a pre-made version of either.
Just be sure to choose a brand that uses high quality, natural ingredients, and be mindful of the sodium and other additives they may have used.

You also want to make sure the falafel is baked, not fried.

It’s always best to make it yourself – you can see exactly what’s going in the dish – but I can understand being pressed for time. I did use pita bread from a bakery, rather than making it from scratch. So…do what you need to do. Just do it wisely.

If you do choose to make everything yourself, according to my recipes, I can guarantee a healthy, colourful, and delicious lunch or dinner.

First, I have included instructions for how to put it all together.
Then, I have listed below it separate recipes for the Baba Ghanoush (Eggplant Spread) and Baked Falafel. 

Putting the Pita Together, as pictured:

INGREDIENTS:

- Good quality, soft pita bread (optional: warmed)
– 2 tbsp Baba Ghanoush (recipe below)
– 2-3 Baked Falafel Patties (recipe below)
– Sliced Tri-colour Bell Peppers (about a handful or two per pita)
– Sliced Cherry Tomatoes, Yellow Pear Tomatoes, and/or Grape Tomatoes (about a handful per pita)
– 1/4 cup Fage Plain 2% Greek Yogurt (to dip your veggies)
– 1 tbsp Sliced Kalamata Olives
– 1 large sprig of Dill, for garnish(you may also mix some of the dill in the Fage, for extra flavour)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Spread Baba Ghanoush on split and warmed pita bread
2. Place Falafel Patties, some of the sliced peppers, olives, and tomatoes in pita.
3. Serve alongside Fage and extra veggies. Garnish with Dill and olives.

BAKED FALAFEL INGREDIENTS:

- 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
– 3-4 tbsp flour of your choice (I use whole wheat all purpose)
– 1 tbsp chopped garlic
– 1/4 cup chopped onion (I prefer yellow, but white or red onions are great to use, too)
– 1 tbsp tahini (optional. I like a little tahini in mine)
– 1 and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
– 1/4 tsp ground cumin
– 1/2 tbsp parsley
– 1 tsp coriander
– 1 tsp smoked paprika
– 1/2 tsp salt
– a few grinds of cracked pepper
– olive oil, for greasing the muffin tin

BAKED FALAFEL DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400F, and lightly mist a muffin tin with olive oil
2. Place all ingredients, except oil, in a food processor, and pulse until thick, and well combined. Mixture should NOT be smooth or super-pasty. Add small amounts of extra flour if necessary, until at desired consistency.
3. Roll mixture into equally sized balls, and place in each tin of the muffin pan. There should be just enough to fill an entire 12 count muffin tin.
4. Lightly mist the tops of the falafel balls with more olive oil.
5. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Tops should be crispy, and lightly browned when ready.

BABA GHANOUSH (EGGPLANT SPREAD) INGREDIENTS:

- 1 medium eggplant, washed and dried
– 1/4 cup lemon juice
– 2 tbsp tahini(sesame paste)
– 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
– 1/2 tbsp parsley
– 1/4 tsp ground cumin
– 1/2 tsp sea salt
– tbsp olive oil, plus extra to coat eggplant

BABA GHANOUSH DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Poke holes in eggplant, rub or mist eggplant with olive oil. Then, place on cooking sheet in oven for 25-30 minutes, until soft and well roasted.
3. Cool, peel, and mash eggplant.
4. Place eggplant mash in a food processor with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth.
5. Should keep well in a sealed container in refrigerator for about a week. Use as a spread or dip. Best when served cold.

 

Easy, Healthy Dessert: Walnut Stuffed Figs w/ Spiced Honey Creme

Healthy & Easy Dessert: Walnut Stuffed Figs with Spiced Honey CremeThis time of year, the biggest fig crops are bursting forth – bringing with it one of nature’s healthiest and most luxurious desserts.

Figs are nutritionally dense with B-vitamins, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, and lots of Fiber.

This makes them a smart snack or dessert, as well as an amazing addition to salads and entrees.

This is probably one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever posted, but I’m a huge fan of simple healthy dishes. Eating healthy never has to be difficult or especially time consuming.

Each extra large fig half with honey and walnuts is approximately 70 calories. 2 halves would probably be the ideal portion size, bringing your dessert to a very reasonable 140 calories.

Less than 150 calories for a dessert this delicious, healthy, and elegant? Amazing(not to mention impressive looking to guests, with not much work on your part)!

On with the recipe.
INGREDIENTS:
serves 4

  • 4 extra large, fresh figs
  • 3 tbsp slightly warmed Spiced Honey Creme (my favourite brand here)
  • Fresh unsalted shelled walnuts (chopped or whole. your choice) 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice each fig in half, and line up neatly on your serving plate.
  2. If using chopped walnuts, press a generous amount into the middle of each fig half. If using whole walnuts, press a walnut half into the belly of each fig.
  3. Lightly drizzle the warmed Spiced Honey Creme over the figs, concentrating most of the honey over the areas with walnuts.
  4. It’s that easy! Serve and Enjoy.

Bourbon Smoked Paprika-Lime Corn on the Cob

Bourbon Smoked Paprika-Lime Corn on the Cob recipe from www.YellowTurtleFitness.comSummer cookouts often have fatty, unhealthy side dishes, but it doesn’t have to be that way!

One of my favourite sides to make is not only super easy and delicious, but healthy, too. This time of year, the fresh corn is at its best – so get it while you can!

You can throw these on the grill for 15 minutes, as written, if you’d rather, but this particular recipe is for the oven. So you can make your Bourbon Smoked Paprika-Lime Corn on the Cob rain or shine.

*note* Regular smoked paprika is fine to use, but I prefer the bourbon smoked, and highly recommend it. 

INGREDIENTS:

Bourbon Smoked Paprika (or plain smoked paprika)
– Sea Salt
– Husked and cleaned Ears of Fresh Corn, as many as needed for your guests
– 1 or 2 limes, cut into wedges
– Aluminum foil
OPTIONAL: Cilantro, for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400F, and prepare squares of foil large enough to wrap securely around each ear of corn.

2. Place each washed and husked ear of corn onto a square of foil.

3. Squeeze wedges of lime generously over each ear of corn.

4. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on each ear of corn.

5. Generously dust each ear of corn with Smoked Paprika, then roll each ear up tightly with foil, being careful not to rip foil.

6. Place all ears on a cookie sheet to catch any drips, then place in oven for at least 20 minutes.

7. Unwrap and serve! Dust with Cilantro, if desired.

Even without butter, and at only 125 calories per LARGE ear of corn, they are anything but bland. Lots of flavour, natural sweetness, and perfect for Summer(or any time!).

When to Spend the Money for Organic?

Yes, buying Organic can be expensive, but the trick is knowing when it’s actually necessary to spend the extra money. 

Those listed under the “Always Buy Organic” heading tend to be heavily laden with pesticides, while those on the “Non-Organic is Okay” list are not.
Those that are okay to buy conventionally tend to not need pesticides, due to the natural protective properties of the plants that ward off insects(such as in onions and cabbage) and/or have a thick protective layer that the consumer peels away before eating.
If buying a leaved vegetable, always peel away the outer layer of leaves to ensure removal of the bulk of pesticides and debris.

This doesn’t, by the way, mean that it’s okay to skip washing your fruits or vegetables(even when you buy organic!).

Keep a spray bottle of full strength vinegar next to your kitchen sink. Spray each vegetable or fruit(even those that you peel – remember that bacteria can be transferred to the fruit during the peeling process) and wash before eating.
This helps remove surface debris and safely kills germs.

Print and keep this list in your wallet when shopping, so you can refer to it regularly, and save money.

When should you buy Organic? + tips for safer produce, from YellowTurtleFitness.com

 

In-Season Produce Throughout The Year

It has now been a full year since I began posting monthly in-season produce infographics, with their nutritional and health benefits described. They started out very simple last June, and became much more elaborate as time went on. So you’ll see the style change a bit when looking through them all.

These images have been passed around Pinterest and Facebook like wildfire, and have been incredibly popular with you guys. So I have decided to put them all on one page  to bookmark for your year-round convenience. You may find them below.
Enjoy!

 January  ||  February  ||  March   

  April  || May  ||  June   

 July  ||  August  || September  

 October  ||  November  ||  December  

seasonal fruit

One Thing At A Time To Reach Your Goals

One Thing At A Time To Reach Your GoalsMany people make the mistake of trying to make too many changes at once.
Rather than attempt a complete lifestyle overhaul overnight, focus on one change at a time, big or small.

When only one new habit change is attempted per month, success rates can be as high as 80%.

However, when people are ambitious, and attempt more than one change simultaneously, their success rates drop to below 20% per habit.

By focusing on a single habit change, you have fewer distractions, and more available motivation and willpower to propel you towards success.

Be specific and realistic about the goal you choose, and write it down for best results.
If you need help establishing what is realistic, and need methods to get you there, consult a lifestyle coach or trainer that specializes in your needs.