You won't miss the meat in this gyro-falafel mashup! Falafel is a Middle Eastern specialty made from ground chickpeas. This recipe adds mushrooms to give the falafel a meatier texture reminiscent of Greek gyros. It's served in a pita with tangy cucumber-yogurt sauce to add brightness.
For the mushroom falafel: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Cut the mushrooms into large chunks and spread on a large, rimmed sheet tray. Toss with the olive oil and thyme. Roast, stirring halfway through, until golden brown and a majority of the liquid is evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
To the bowl of a food processor, add the chickpeas, panko, parsley, cumin, cayenne, garlic, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cooled roasted mushrooms. Pulse until finely chopped but not pureed (about 10 pulses), scraping down the sides of the food processor as necessary. Scoop 1/4-cup portions of the mushroom mixture and shape into 1/2-inch-thick patties.
Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook, turning once, until evenly browned, 3 minutes per side. Season with salt to taste.
For the lemony green beans: To a small bowl, add the tarragon, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon salt. Mix to combine, then set aside.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and generously season with salt. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, then immediately transfer the green beans to the ice water. When cool, drain well and slice into 1/4-inch-thick pieces.
Add the green beans to a bowl, toss with the olive oil and season to taste with the seasoned lemon salt; toss to coat. There will be leftover lemon salt.
For the cucumber yogurt sauce: Stir together the cucumber, yogurt, sour cream, cumin, salt and garlic in a medium bowl.
To assemble: Brush the pita with olive oil. Toast over an open flame or in a pan set over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, 1 minute. Toss the cut tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cut each pita in half, then stuff with the cucumber yogurt, 2 falafels, more cucumber yogurt, the lemony green beans and cherry tomatoes. Serve with more cucumber yogurt on the side if desired.
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