I didn’t always like falafel. Actually there was a time when it grossed me out. Especially when I found out that chickpeas were involved. Yes, that’s correct, I was not always a healthy eater. There was a time when chicken mcnuggets and strawberry milkshakes were my jam, instead of this…
As my palate evolved, and I grew up a ‘lil, I turned a corner. When I grew to love chickpeas, I decided to revisit my distaste for falafel. Now I can’t get enough of it. I wouldn’t say that I’m a falafel connoisseur exactly, but I’ve noticed that each falafel I’ve eaten has a different fingerprint.
When I buy it from the local schwarma shops (which are on every corner here in Toronto), I noticed they taste a bit greasy. Like they’ve been rubbing elbows (or were nestled in the bosom of a burger) with a burger that was probably fried right next to it. Ugh. From some places they’re dry like chapped lips on a cold wintery day.
So, what’s a girl to do when they don’t like something? A girl must make her own falafel.
Now with this falafel you have a couple of options. Dried chickpeas, or for the busy bee, canned chickpeas. For this recipe I used dried chickpeas. I’ve also made them with canned chickpeas. Yes, I’m going to tell you what the difference is, ‘hol up, I’m getting to that.
Okay back to the dried vs. canned chickpea debate. Here’s the major difference, in terms of taste. The texture. With canned chickpeas your falafel will be a bit more dense and heavy. With dried chickpeas, you’ll have a lighter, fluffier texture. After many falafel taste tests, my vote is for light n fluffy.
Okay soooo to use dried chickpeas here’s what you do. Place your dried chickpeas about 1 ½ cups in a bowl with enough water to completely cover chickpeas. Remember the chickpeas will expand so the more water the better. Cover them, then stick them in your fridge and go to bed (hopefully you’re getting at least 7 hours sleep).
The next day, when you return home from work (or have soaked them for at least 6 hours), drain them and then you can add to the rest of the falafel ingredients.
If I’m completely honest I don’t always use dried chickpeas. Hey, I’m just keepin’ it real.
Okay I can sense your next question. What are the benefits of dried chickpeas vs canned? I’m so glad you asked.
Yes, canned chickpeas are a bit higher in sodium than dried chickpeas. For a 100gram serving, canned chickpeas have 246 milligrams, or 10 percent of the daily value vs. dried (cooked) chickpeas which weigh in at only 7 milligrams of sodium. Increased intake of sodium puts you at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. If you do use canned chickpeas make sure to rinse them very well to minimize excess sodium.
Chickpeas are rich in essential vitamins and minerals like zinc, iron and magnesium however these nutrients are diminished in canned chickpeas. The percent of Daily Value in canned chickpeas is five to 10 points less than for chickpeas cooked from dried.
So the moral of this story kids is to use dried if you can.
If you’re like me, you like to eat with your eyes, and my eyes almost popped out of my head when I plated this salad. I just loved the abundance of colour and I immediately started salivating. The hubster who is a pretty big meat eater went back for seconds and thirds on this one. This is usually my barometer of if I have a hit on my hands 🙂
Since I had some romaine and spinach in my fridge I used a combination of each as the base of my salad. Red cabbage contains an abundance of anti-inflammatory nutrients to ward off inflammation in the body – and also pops right off the plate!
You could throw in some cucumbers as well.
The lemon tahini sauce is kind of a must. I usually try to provide work arounds for you guys but this sauce is off the chizzain….so don’t skip it.
I am all about including healthy fats in each meal to help you manage cravings and keep your metabolism revved up.
Falafel Bowl with Lemon Tahini Dressing
- 1 ½ cups dried chickpeas
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ large or 1 small red onion
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- ½ cup fresh cilantro
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon za’atar spice optional, you could just use ¼ tsp each dried thyme and oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ head large red cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 cucumber thinly sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes sliced in halves
- 6 cups romaine lettuce or salad greens
For Lemon Tahini Dressing
- ½ cup tahini
- 2 large lemons about ½ cup juice
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Soak chickpeas at least 6 hours (or overnight). Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place garlic in food processor and process until minced. Cut onion chunks; add to food processor processing until chopped.
- Add soaked chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and olive oil. Process until smooth, until it resembles dough. You may need to stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Take a few tablespoons of dough, roll it into a ball and then pat it flat. Try to get a similar thickness. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake the patties for 24 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- While the patties are in the oven, whip together the dressing.
- In a small bowl, combine tahini, lemon juice, water, olive oil, and sea salt. Whisk vigorously to combine.
- To serve, place greens in a large bowl. Top with falafel patties, cabbage, cucumber, and tomatoes. Drizzle on dressing and enjoy!