Quick lunch idea




I don’t want to give the impression that I find it within me to cook every single night. Because I don’t think anyone can.

Except Martha Stewart. And maybe Nigella Lawson.

But I am a mere mortal. I have not ascended to the domestic goddess ranks.

What I can do, is try to make sure I at least eat something healthy and homemade every day. This just takes a bit of planning ahead.

One of my favorite quick little things to mix up and toss in the fridge for the week is this little salad. A can of cannelini beans, rinsed and drained, two stalks of celery, chopped and a few teaspoons of tahini make for a fantastic little addition to some lettuce for an interesting salad for lunch.



When I made falafel, I told you that the tahini was optional.

I said this because not everyone is a fan of tahini or even knows what it is.

But I’m slightly obsessed with it. Even before I started dating my Greek Armenian boyfriend, even before I had his meme’s homemade babaganoush and hummus, I was in love. With tahini, not him. I love him, but I’m talking about my love of tahini right now.

It’s enough to dedicate a whole post to it.

Tahini is like peanut butter that’s made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts.

That’s all it is, is ground sesame seeds and oil. You can make your own if you’re feeling adventurous. http://mideastfood.about.com/od/dipsandsauces/r/tahinirecipe.htm

It’s nothing exotic or crazy, though it does play a large role in the unfamiliar to most flavors of middle eastern food.

But I have one word for you, you who are wrinkling your nose at tahini.


Tahini plays a huge role in hummus. There’s a hummus craze right now if you haven’t noticed. Long a staple at the middle eastern table and a key player in any mezze spread (think Greek version of Italian antipasto), hummus has made its way to our grocery shelves, to our diet menus and to our daily routines. Carrot sticks and hummus. I bet someone in your office brings that for lunch.

Hummus is essentially chickpeas, garlic and tahini.

Tahini has such a complexly rich flavor. It’s more intense than peanut butter, a tad smoky even. It’s a flavor that can’t be substituted.

I have a minor love affair with tahini. I’ve always loved the flavor, but even more so recently. I’ve always loved peanut butter. Slathered on celery, melted on a warm English muffin, straight from the jar. But sometimes peanut butter gives me a tummy ache.

Sad. I know.

Craving my usual celery peanut butter snack but being wary of how it would affect my stomach, I grabbed the tahini from the fridge. Brad’s Organics makes great tahini and it even comes in a jar that resembles peanut butter packaging. Great if your kid has a peanut allergy and doesn’t want to feel left out or different.


I dipped the celery in the tahini and it was love at first bite. Carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, pita bread. So good.

Tahini makes a fantastic salad dressing. A tablespoon of tahini, some lemon juice and some black pepper is a nice change to your usual side salad. Use it as a sandwich spread. Mix with tuna fish instead of mayo and stuff in a pita with some sprouts for a Middle Eastern twist on the typical tuna sandwich.

If you’re getting bored with the typical flavors of your kitchen, try tahini and bring a little Middle Eastern flair to your lunchbox.

It’s a great item to have in your itty bitty city kitchen arsenal because it has a long shelf life and it’s extremely versatile.

Most importantly, though, it’s delicious!

(That’s eat in Greek!)

Falafel Cart Craving

Sometimes, I get hit with a craving for a certain food and nothing else will do until I consume that food.

It happened today.

I had to have a falafel.

I was first introIduced to falafel, like many city dwellers, as a broke, hungry college student wandering around Washington Square Park with my fellow broke college students.


We had no idea what falafels were. But 2$? We were in.

Have you ever had a falafel?

If not, go find a falafel truck and get yourself one. I in no way claim that this recipe will taste like the fried goodness served on those trucks, but the flavors are there.

Falafel itself is fried chickpeas. What you stuff into the pita along with the falafels is entirely up to you.

We like shredded cabbage, diced tomatoes, tahini, and tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce) piled into a whole wheat pita. But be inventive. I’ve had amazing falafel sandwiches with dill pickles and french fries inside. Traditional? No. Yummy? Yes.

That’s the beauty of the chickpea. It pairs so well with so many things.

Here’s my quick and easy falafel recipe. These take minutes to make and you will have yourself a delicious, craving satisfying dinner on the table for Meatless Monday!

For the falafels you will need

  • 1/2 a white onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • a handful of parsley
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Toss the first three ingredients in the food processor and blend.

You can the ingredients finely and add to a bowl if you don’t have a food processor.



You want the onions garlic and parsley to be well blended before you add the chickpeas.


Toss in the chickpeas and blend until you have a mixture that is a little bit chunkier than hummus. You can add a tablespoon of tahini if you like, but you can leave out if you prefer. You may need to add a bit of olive oil for some moisture.


Turn the mixture out into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before cooking. I’ve made this the night before and I think that the flavors come out the best when they’ve had the night in the fridge to get to know one another.

When you’re ready for dinner, take the mixture out of the fridge and roll into patties. I made mine like slider size.


Drizzle some oil in a pan and place the patties in, careful not to overcrowd. I cook mine in two batches. They only take a few minutes per side. They won’t be brown and crispy like the food truck falafels since we’re not deep frying them, but the essence of the flavors will be there.


When you’ve cooked all of your patties, set up a make your own falfel station with pita and whatever toppings you wish.


Assemble your falafel sandwich. If you’re like me, you’ll end up with a falafel to tzatziki ratio of about one to one. The cool, crisp yogurt and cucumber sauce cuts through the bite of the garlic, the chickpeas give the earthy meatyness that makes you forget this is a meatless monday meal, and the cabbage gives you the crunch you need to satisfy your hunger