Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Falafel (Salad) with Tahini Dressing

Falafel is a fried ball or patty made from chickpeas and is popular in the Middle East. It is typically served wrapped in some sort of flat bread, such as pita. It can be drizzled with a tahini-based sauce. I've never had it before, but have always thought that is sounded like something I would like.

And you know me...I turn everything into a salad (or at least serve it with one)! So I cooked my falafel in just a tiny bit of oil (I have never deep fried anything in my life...I'll leave that to the experts!). I made a really easy tahini dressing and served the whole thing over a salad composed of butter lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes, red bell pepper, green onions, and chopped cilantro.

It's always a good idea to have a meatless meal. The falafel provides a good source of protein and fiber. The dressing adds a serving of healthy unsaturated fats. And I don't have to tell you why the veggies in the salad are good for you!

If you like chickpeas (or hummus) you should give this a try.

Falafel (Salad) with Tahini Dressing
adapted from Eat Real and Tyler Florence

Makes 4 servings

2 slices of whole wheat bread, torn into large pieces
2 cloves garlic, quartered
1 large handful fresh cilantro, coarsely torn or chopped
2 green onions (scallions), trimmed and chopped into thirds
1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
a pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

Place bread pieces in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add garlic, cilantro, scallions, chickpeas, baking powder, and seasonings; pulse a few times to blend ingredients. The mixture should be coarsely ground and not entirely smooth.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon lemon juice over chickpea mixture and pulse a few more times. Add the additional tablespoon of juice, if needed, so that the chickpea mixture reaches a workable paste-like consistency.

Using a large tablespoon or an ice cream scoop, scoop balls of dough into your palms and form them into 8 patties.

At this point you have 2 options...bake or saute (I sauteed).

1) Baked - Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. While the oven is getting hot, line a baking pan with foil and brush with olive oil. Arrange falafel patties on oiled baking sheet and brush them with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and crispy. Turn once midway through baking.

2) Sauteed - Working in batches if necessary, heat olive oil in a large (non-stick works well) skillet over medium-high heat. Add falafel patties and cook 3 - 5 minute per side until browned.

Per serving (2 patties each) - 213 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 32 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 8 g protein (exchanges: 1 ½ fat, 2 starches)

Tahini Dressing

Makes a little more than 1/2 of a cup (about 5 2-tablespoon servings)

¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
¼ cup warm water
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
good pinch of salt
black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine (the warm water should help loosen up the tahini...if it's still thick put the entire mixture in the microwave for 10 second intervals, stirring in between...make sure you are using a microwave safe container!).

Per serving (2 tablespoons) - 74 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat, plus a little protein)


Just in case you DO need me to remind you why vegetables are good for you read this. Along with why they are good for you, it ranks all veggie according to their nutritional it a surprise to you that kale is #1 and spinach is #2? How many of the "superstars" do you eat on a weekly basis?

1 comment:

  1. What a healthy and delicious salad! This would be absolutely perfect for a nice lunch on the patio.