Black Bean-Cheddar Falafel with Avocado Taratoor (yum)

So this is just another version of the classic Middle Eastern chickpea fritters known as falafel. You likely know by now that when I enjoy a particular recipe I end up with multiple versions of it (for other variations on this recipe, click here). Anyhow, this is just a suggestion...interchange any bean or cheese you like; herbs and spices as well. And for the taratoor sauce I included a couple avocado which not only accented the flavor nicely but enriched it a bit as well. These are really simple to prepare, but be forewarned...they are super addicting.

Black Bean and Cheddar Falafel
Makes about two dozen falafel

2 (15oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (about 1½ cups)
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons Frank's hot sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup whole wheat flour (more as needed)
sesame seeds for garnish
oil for frying

Combine everything except the flour in a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the flour by hand. Allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes; if it feels too moist add more flour. Shape into small balls, then flatten them slightly while pressing them into sesame seeds. Preheat a skillet with about ½ inch of vegetable oil and fry the falafel about two minutes on each side, or until crispy and golden on the outside and cooked throughout. Remove the falafel from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. 

Avocado Taratoor Sauce
Makes about 4 cups

2 ripe avocado, peeled
1 cup tahini
¾ cup water
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup hot pepper sauce
3 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon sea salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.