I’m sitting in my yard on a cool evening, a thin strip of sun slowly sinking over the horizon line. My roommate and I have set a picnic out on my thickly woven, cotton rope blanket. My prim little setup of glasses, plates, napkins, kombucha, flowers, and all of the little finger foods is almost too precious to dive into.
Logan swings home on his bike as the sun finally dips away and the sky goes ambient blue. He sits on my blanket. Stares at the setup. Looks to me to silently check in that I don’t need to keep things as they are for photos. Then grabs a falafel burger, stretches out, and gets comfy.
Angel dips an entire slider in cashew tzatziki. We get to talking about our days, passing around the kombucha bottle (germs? what germs? we’re all friends here!). It’s like the softness of Spring gives our muscles and minds the opportunity to finally relax. There’s no holding of breath as we did in the tight cold of Winter. It’s ok to release, drink some wine, watch the darkening sky, lay our heads in patches of grass and violets.
Almost every Spring I get to day dreaming of sun-drenched picnics in wide fields of flowers and tall grass. And every year I seem to forgo said picnics for quickly arranged sandwiches and beach time, or trek mix with sour cherries and a hike. But this year is different. This year I’m getting tapped into a community of folks who love food almost as much as they love drinking wine in the garden. It’s this community of artists and compassionate hearts, actually, and they’re starting a non profit artist workspace. In fact, if you’re pro positive community art go support their IndiGoGo campaign!
Thus, this year will be met with many glorious yard picnics. And maybe even some picnics out in mountain hollers and on top of boulders overlooking wide valley. I might even find a grassy field, as in my day dream, and give it a go.
I developed these falafel burgers for two reasons: 1. Falafel is the best, 2. I’ve been craving a badass veggie burger picnic situation. It turns out, falafel makes a damn fine veggie burger with only a couple of tweaks. And this cashew tzatziki is my new sauce/spread of choice! I want it on/in everything. And if you want to go really hippie dip with it you could even add hemp hearts instead of sesame seeds! You heard me.
And sumac fries! I love the punchy, lemony flavor in these crisp home fries from the thyme and sumac. Plus you can pretend they’re “healthy” because sumac is high in Vitamin C!
- 29 ounces cooked garbanzo beans (about 4 cups)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
- Large handful fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon whole cumin, ground in a mortar
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- Juice of 1 & ½ lemons
- 1 cup garbanzo flour
- ½ cup almond meal
- ¼ cup sesame seeds + more to garnish
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons salt, + more to taste
- Cashew Tzatziki
- Red leaf lettuce
- Roasted red pepper
- Mini Gluten Free Hamburger Buns (or your favorite bun), toasted or warmed
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Line three medium baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a food processor fitted with an S blade, combine the garbanzo beans, olive oil, garlic, parsley, thyme, cumin, black pepper, sumac, and lemon juice until you have a creamy consistency (about 1 minute).
- Add the garbanzo flour and almond meal and pulse just until combined.
- Spoon the falafel mix into a medium bowl.
- Add the sesame and sunflower seeds, and stir just to incorporate.
- Add the salt, taste and add more salt according to your preferences (the falafel mix will be rather wet and sticky).
- To form the burgers: scoop about 2 tablespoons of falafel mix out at a time and form into rounds between the palms of your hands. Flatten gently (mine were about 1 inch thick) then place on the parchment lined baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart. Repeat until you've used up all of the falafel mix. Optional: garnish the taps with extra sesame seeds. For larger burgers, use about 4 tablespoons of mix to form your burgers.
- Bake the falafel burgers on the middle rack for 20 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom, dry, and springy to the touch. Larger burgers could take up to 10 minutes longer, so keep check in with your burgers as they cook.
- Remove and let cool a minimum of 5 minutes before add to your buns and serving.
- ¼ cup cashews
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- juice of ½ lemon
- ¼ cup tahini
- large handful fresh parsley
- handful of fresh mint
- ⅛ teaspoon maple syrup
- Celtic sea salt, to taste
- ½ cup filtered water
- ¾ cup english cucumber, diced
- Combine all of the ingredients in a the bowl of a high powered blender: cashews, sunflower seeds, lemon, tahini, parsley, mint, maple syrup, sea salt, and water. Whirr until smooth and creamy.
- Stir in the diced cucumber.
- Serve immediately!
- 2 lbs red potatoes, washed & sliced into wedges
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons thyme
- 2 tablespoons sumac
- 1 teaspoon sea salt + plus more to taste
- Bring a wide pot of water to a boil.
- Remove from heat and add the potato wedges and let soak for 15 minutes in the hot water.
- Preheat the oven to 475F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Drain the potatoes and pat dry. Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl.
- Add olive oil and toss to coat.
- Add the thyme, sumac, and salt and toss again to coat everything evenly in the spice mix.
- Bake for 5 minutes on the middle rack. Turn the potatoes over and bake 5-10 minutes more, or until the potatoes are fork-tender and beginning to brown and crisp up.
- Remove from the oven and let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.