Let me start out by saying one of the main things that made me agree to going vegetarian was the idea of having to try new recipes and actually plan out my meals in advance. I have become extremely comfortable (or should I say complacent?) opening the refrigerator and whipping something together with whatever I may have at the time. That seems a lot more daunting as a vegetarian, considering dropping meat all together was intimidating enough.

With that being said, our first night of our vegetarian adventure I dived right in with falafel. I thought falafel would be good for multiple reasons: 1) It's something that I have always wanted to make and never got around to doing. 2) I could use some help from the grocery and buy the mix. Yes, I know, it's a cop out but I was making plenty of other things from scratch in my tiny kitchen and did not want to get overwhelmed on Day 1! 3) What better way to not miss meat than by frying something? And most importantly 4) I know Phillip likes it.
As you may have guessed, using the mix was super simple. Just put the mix together, let sit for the time stated on the side of the box, and voilà, you've got falafel mix! I originally tried to make the falafel balls by using a ice cream scooper and a spoon to drop the balls into the frying oil. I quickly realized that if I wanted spherical falafel instead of nondescript blobs I would have to use my hands. After a few tries I got into a rhythm and was impressed by how easy it actually was.

Prior to getting my hands messy in the falafel mix, I had prepped all of the side items (greek-style potato wedges, cucumber, tomato and feta salad, homemade "tzatziki" sauce) and accoutrement (sliced cucumber, lettuce, hummus, pita bread). For the wedges, salad and sauce I looked up basic recipes online to give me a starting point and then added and subtracted ingredients to make it my own. The potato wedges were super simple, tossed in a mixture of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, oregeno, a dash of cayenne, and S&P, roasted in a 425 degree oven. The tzatziki was just greek-style yogurt mixed with 3/4 of a grated English cucumber, garlic, the juice and zest of one lemon, cumin, and S&P. For the salad I just diced a tomato, the rest of the cucumber, and tossed them with feta cheese, oregano and S&P.

The meal turned out great and made for awesome leftovers the next day! I definitely will be making falafel again in the future, and may even venture into homemade falafel and humus if I have more time on the weekend.

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