Who loves falafel? This girl! And if you haven't tried this middle eastern treat, you totally should. It has a sharp bite of spices and garlic that will stay on your tongue long after you take a nibble. And its a great alternative to meat, as the chickpeas are filled with protein and delicious goodness! Of course falafel is often served in pita, on naan, with tzatziki or in a variety of other ways. But here, I decided to make a nutrient dense salad with kale and shaved carrots. But hey, do what you want, get creative... Serve falafel as an appetizer with a dip, make it a wrap or wear it as a hat like that chick from the movie She's All That (Lainee Briggs?). (Secretly ashamed that I remember the movie title and the associated details long into adulthood. I could probably go into more detail; but I will spare myself the embarrassment and you the shame that we will both feel if we take the trip down memory lane to a series of average teen movies.)
And if you just HAVE to have some animal protein, add some diced chicken breast; a not-pictured-here addition to my husband's salad. Because apparently real men have to have animal protein if they are going to eat a kale salad. Haha. The falafel recipe will yield 10-12 3" in diameter size falafel patties, and the tahini dressing recipe makes roughly 14 ounces. I don't remember how much kale I used since I generally have a precut bag in my fridge... so we will use the falafel and salad dressing as a gauge for serving sizes. :)
For the Falafel:
3 cups chickpeas
6-7 garlic cloves
1/2 a yellow onion
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup cilantro
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
3-4 tbsp grape seed or olive oil
1. Mince the garlic and finely chop the onion. Add them to a pan and cook for 4-5 minutes in half a tbsp of oil. When they're fragrant and translucent, add them to a large mixing bowl.
2. In a food processor, add the chickpeas, 1 1/2 cups at a time, and hold the blend/pulse button down for 5-10 seconds. You want the pieces to be small, but still maintain some chunkiness to them. Do not blend into a complete puree. Dump each batch of minced chickpeas into the same bowl as the onions and garlic.
3. Add the chopped up parsley and cilantro to the bowl.
4. Add the spices, egg, flour and baking powder to the bowl and mix together with your hands until everything is thoroughly blended.
5. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
6. Remove a small-medium size ball of the falafel mixture and press it into a patty that is roughly 1/2" inch thick and 2-3" inches across.
7. Add roughly 1 1/2 tbsp of oil to a hot pan and place the falafel patties in there as well. Cook until browned on each side. (This is about 2-3 minutes per side.)
8. Set aside on a paper towel until you're ready to plate the salad.
For the Tahini Salad Dressing:
1/2 cup tahini paste
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
pinch of red pepper flakes
1. There's no real science here... Add the ingredients to a food processor and puree until smooth. The End!
Kale (roughly 2 cups, chopped, per person)
1. Chop the kale up so that its comparable in size to something you would want in a salad.
2. Peel and clean the carrots. Using a fruit and vegetable peeler, "shave" the carrots by running it down the length of the carrot.
3. Plate the salad by tossing the kale and carrots in the tahini dressing (roughly 2 tbsp per salad).
4. Top with 2-3 falafel patties and some crumbled feta.