Two of my favorite worlds collide in a delicious culinary upheaval with this recipe–Mediterranean food meets Southern comfort casserole! I love this dish!! It’s loaded with some of my favorite ingredients–feta cheese and spinach, it’s vegetarian so it’s perfect for a meatless Monday or any day, and it’s topped with little crunchy, fried falafel balls, accented with pistachios and fresh parsley. Falafels are a blend of chickpeas, flour, and spices and add that protein aspect, as well as a lot of flavor and crunch. This is a “pile it on the plate” kind of supper. And a perfect excuse for an abundance of toasted pita points with hummus!! YUM.
Yes, it’s a little “step heavy”, BUT don’t despair-stay with it and get that baby in the oven and sit back and work up an appetite. If you need a little more salt and pepper at the end, add to your taste.
I didn’t toast the flat bread/pita in this picture because I was about to the miss the sunset and good lighting, but make sure to brush the pita points with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt, and bake until a little crunchy. Got to have pita and hummus with this dish. ENJOY!!
- 1 box (2 envelopes) falafel mix
- oil for frying
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 5 or 6 green onions, chopped (include white bulb and halfway up stem)
- 2 (12 ounce) bags frozen chopped spinach (thawed, drained, and squeezed dry)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese (not low or no-fat version)
- 1 (4 ounce) package crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup chopped pistachios, roasted & shelled
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Combine the falafel mix with specified amount of water and let stand according to package directions. Heat vegetable or corn oil in skillet over medium heat. Wet hands slightly and shaped mixture into about 2-inch balls. Fry falafel balls until golden, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Lay falafel balls on paper towels to absorb excess grease and drain away the grease from the pan.
- To the same skillet, add 3 tablespoons butter and melt over medium heat. Saute green onions until soft, about 4 minutes or so. Add in spinach and heat through. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add in eggs, ricotta cheese, feta cheese, oregano, garlic salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir thoroughly to blend.
- Spray a 7 x 11 inch baking pan with nonstick spray and pour mixture into the dish. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place falafel balls on top of casserole. Return to oven to bake for about 5-7 minutes more or until falafels are heated through.
- Sprinkle pistachios and parsley on top and serve with toasted pita points and hummus.