Make-Ahead Meals: Pan-Fried Falafel and Homemade Pita

published May 13, 2010
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Here’s the dilemma: we like fresh-made meals (ie, not just re-heating leftovers), but we also don’t always have time for the prep work, simmering, and so on that can go into a meal from scratch. We’ve been looking for meals that can be prepped ahead and then made within minutes of walking in the door – like these falafel and pitas!

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Pan-fried falafel with yogurt and cucumber in a fresh pita (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

First of all, preparing the falafel mix and the dough for the pita is already pretty quick. We’ve fallen in love with this recipe for Baked Falafel, which calls for canned chickpeas and comes together in about ten minutes. We make a double batch, and this makes about 20 falafel rounds (or 6-7 servings).

The pita bread dough can take a little planning since it needs to rise, so we usually make it on Sunday evening. But once the dough is ready, we can stick it in the fridge and pull off pieces as we need them during the week. The flavor of the bread will even improve over the course of the week.

To bring our meal together, we heat up our big cast iron skillet with a little olive oil. We bake off the number of pitas we need using the stove-top method and then add a little more oil to fry the falafels croquette-style. The pitas take about three minutes each and we cook the falafel for 10 minutes (flipping them over after 5 minutes). Within about 20 minutes, we have a fresh meal on the table.

This is two or sometimes three weeknight dinners for me and my husband. If you work from home, it’s also very handy to have falafel mix in the fridge for a warm mid-day meal.

Here are the recipes and techniques we use for this meal: