baked falafel with tzatziki two ways.jpg

As you may have noticed, we're nuts about beans. They keep us sated and energized, and there are so many types that can all be used in lots of different ways. As every hummus lover knows, add a little fat and seasoning to any bean, and you get an addictive dip/spread. Add a bit more fat, and you get a seriously versatile sauce. Here we added traditional tzatziki seasonings to naturally creamy butter beans and used the sauce to smother our pitas stuffed with this baked falafel recipe (from this book), which we made into 12 smaller patties rather than the six large called for in the recipe. (Note that there should also be the juice of half a lemon listed after the lemon zest.)

Butter Bean Tzatziki Two Ways

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1 small, or half a large (about 5 oz total weight), cucumber, peeled

1 medium (about 4 oz total weight) beet, peeled

1 can butter beans, drained, but not rinsed

1/4 cup vegetable oil (we like safflower for this)

juice of half a lemon

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp dried dill weed

1 clove garlic

1/2 tsp fine sea salt (or kosher salt)

a few cracks of black pepper

Grate the cucumber and beet and place into two separate bowls (you should get about 1/2 cup of each, once grated). Set aside while you prepare the falafel dough.

While the falafel bakes, add the beans, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, dill, garlic, salt, and pepper to a small food processor and blend until very creamy--this may take a minute. Again, you want to drain the beans, but don't rinse them. The starch that clings to them will give the sauce a silkier consistency.

By now, your grated vegetables will have given off a lot of their water. Gently squeeze them and drain off any excess liquid. Divide the butter bean mixture in half and add it to the grated vegetables. Stir well and serve.