falafel sliders with spicy yogurt, mint, and sumac onions

i have some advice for you! if you ever want your feet to fall off and your back to tell you no, silly pants, you won't be leaving your couch today unless it's to toast a bit of pita or fetch a bite of halva then do exactly this: get two hours of sleep tonight, two hours of sleep tomorrow night, fly on three airplanes including the 9:55pm msp-gfk flight which is basically a flying refrigerator, and then prep and cater a seven-course production in fargo the next day where two of the dishes are brand new things you've never made before but just *have* to figure out last minute because the rhubarb is here and the schnitzel doesn't feel right anymore. i'm not complaining. i'm just soliciting an energy drink sponsorship. 

i loved every minute of it though!!! i have a new favorite thing to do, and that's waking up at dawn, snooping around our yard filling up baskets of chives and rhubarb and any other edible plant i can find, and then hurrying back in to chop everything up before organizing them into labeled deli containers and prepping the day away. the dinner in fargo was at this beautiful old ginormous mansion and i got to cook on an 8-burner range that had its own warming shelf under the hood. i made fried olives and rhubarb malabi and in between served a hummus course, a soup course, a shameless hotdish 😛., and then ended it with a halva course. (those in favor of making halva courses the norm, say aye!) all of the guests and kitchen folks were so darn sweet and even though i actually could not stand up straight at the end, my heart was so full and happy. 

i am off to france tomorrow. pray 4 my feet.

to celebrate the upcoming memorial day weekend, i made you a recipe that's dressed for a party! mini falafel sandwiches on hot fresh pita with hot pink onions and a quirky yogurt sauce that's refreshing and spicy all at once. it's inspired by the fact that i'm conditioned to always want tabasco on my falafel. i don't know where this came from, it's just a habit, a really tasty habit, but it sucks when you accidentally add too much and then can no longer taste your food. yogurt (or any dairy) helps calm spiciness though, a thing i learned at hot sauce camp on avery island, so even though there's a ton of tabasco sauce in this yogurt, your mouth won't be on fire, you'll just get the lovely flavor of the pepper. fresh mint and pickled onions also carry their weight in making these little sliders refreshing and ready for the summer. 

falafel sliders with spicy yogurt, mint, and sumac onions

makes 12



1 1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting (optional: sub out 1 3/4 cup bread flour for 1 3/4 cup for whole wheat)

sumac onions:

1 cup warm water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sumac
1 large purple onion, thinly sliced


1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for 10 hours or overnight and drained
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, freshly toasted and coarsely ground in a spice grinder
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, freshly toasted and coarsely ground in a spice grinder
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves with stems, roughly chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed parsley leaves with stems, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Black pepper
Tabasco original red sauce
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Olive oil or flavorless oil, for frying

spicy yogurt:

3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons tabasco original red sauce
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste


a handful of nice big fresh mint leaves



to make the pita:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the water, yeast, and sugar. Let it sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy. With the mixer running on low speed, add the salt and oil, and then gradually add the flour. Increase the speed to medium high and mix for 7-10 minutes, adding just enough additional flour so that the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Do not add too much flour. The dough should be smooth and slightly sticky. Lightly coat a clean large bowl with oil or cooking spray and then place the dough in the bowl and turn it once or twice to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and divide it into 24 equal pieces. Mold each piece into a ball by stretching the top and tucking the edges under. Place the balls 1” apart on a piece of parchment paper, cover them with plastic wrap, and let them rise for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 500ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment.

With a rolling pin, roll out the balls of dough into 3" circles. Place them on the baking sheets and bake for about 5 minutes, or until they're puffy and just starting to brown. This will make more pita than you need for the sliders. Leftovers are tasty and can be frozen and reheated in the toaster. 

to make the onions:

whisk together all ingredients except for the onion. add the onion, cover, and let sit at room temperature for an hour or in the refrigerator overnight. 

to make the falafel:

In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, cumin, coriander, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, a few turns of pepper, a few shakes of tabasco sauce, flour, and lemon juice and pulse quickly, about 80-100 times, until the mixture is combined, but still slightly grainy. 

In a large skillet, heat 1/4” oil over medium high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Form 2" patties of the falafel mixture, packing them firmly. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel. 

to make the yogurt:

combine all ingredients.

to assemble:

cut open a pita, spread it with the yogurt, and top with a falafel patty, a mint leaf or two, and a pile of onions. enjoy!


thank you, tabasco, for sponsoring this post! check out the #tabascotastemakers hashtag for more tabasco recipes!