Summer Falafel Salad

Falafels are one food that is especially sacred to me. Oftentimes I will try them at restaurants and will find that they are either too crunchy or too dry and the mixture tastes as if it has been sitting in a bowl in their refrigerator overnight. Very rarely do I find excellent falafels, but when I do it is a rare gem.

This recipe was taken from a simple falafel recipe I found online, but I decided to change it from the original and add my own take. I used ingredients like parsley and cilantro along with jalapeño to add a bold flavor while complementing the chickpeas perfectly.

For me, this is the best summer meal. It’s light, yet filling, cooling, yet warming, and not overly complicated to make. If you give it a try let me know by commenting below or slide into my DM’s.

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INGREDIENTS


Yields: 4-6 servings

For the Falafel

2 cans of chickpeas, drained and strained

1/4 parsley, roughly chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp sesame seeds

For the Salad

1 small head of romaine lettuce, roughly chopped

1/4 small red cabbage, slivered

1 small cucumber, diced

1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 pint strawberries, sliced, optional

For the Dressing

3/4 cup greek yogurt, or plain yogurt of choice

1/3 cup tahini

1 lemon, juiced

3 garlic cloves, minced


METHOD


For the Falafel

For these steps, you will need a food processor. 

Step One

Open the can of chickpeas and drain and rinse well. If you are using dried chickpeas, you will need to let them soak in water overnight and then drain and rinse them.

Step Two

In a food processor combine all of the ingredients for the falafel. If you have a small food processor, I mixed the onion, garlic, jalapeño, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, parsley, and cilantro together until it was finely chopped. Then set aside in a large bowl and add the chickpeas to the food processor.

Note: Some people like to add baking soda and flour to the mix to lighten up the texture inside of the falafel balls. If the mixture is too runny and too sticky and the balls are not forming, then add flour and baking soda. I don’t usually add it, since the falafel is generally pretty fluffy on its own.

Process all of the ingredients until they have the texture of couscous or a light paste. You want the mixture to be able to hold together, and a more paste-like consistency will help with that sort of thing. However, don’t over process, especially if you separate the ingredients, otherwise, it could turn into a hummus.

Then cover the bowl and allow it to refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the meal. Approx. 10 minutes.

Step Three

Fill a skillet with vegetable oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat. The ideal temperature should be between 360 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember, it is always easier to warm the oil up than cool it down so start slow and take your time. You don’t want any splash back or burns.

Once the falafel mixture is cooled, begin forming them into small 1-inch balls and begin frying. Start with one small ball and test it. The color should be a warm brown color and should take approximately 2-3 minutes. If it takes longer than that your oil is not hot enough, but only increase the heat slightly.

Then set aside on a paper towel and allow to dry.

For the Salad & Dressing

Step One

Start by roughly chopping your romaine lettuce, parsley, and cilantro, then set aside. Then start dicing your cucumber, halving your cherry tomatoes, and slicing your red cabbage and strawberries. You can either combine all of these ingredients in a bowl and serve together, or set aside and assemble separately as I did.

Step Two

In a bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and minced garlic to a bowl and whisk together. If the consistency of the dressing is too thick, simply add water gradually until it reaches the consistency desired. I personally prefer mine similar to a light ranch rather than a thick yogurt.

Set aside in fridge and allow to cool.