My Falafel Salad Bowl is such a fabulous vegetarian main course salad, it makes Meatless Monday everybody’s favorite night of the week!
This Falafel Salad Bowl is inspired by one of my favorite places to grab a bite. I don’t know about you, but some of my favorite restaurants are the most casual, you might even call them holes in the wall. I have a few rules, though…it has to have table service (pet peeve about ordering at the counter)…it has to have comfy seating…it can’t be too loud…needs to serve wine…and have amazing food. That’s not too much to ask, is it? They serve a salad like this one at one of the restaurants at our local mall, of all places, and they make the best falafel around. Hard to believe, but true. It’s always deep dark and crunchy on the outside ~ fluffy and bright green inside.
Falafel are Middle Eastern fried chickpea patties, or balls, and they’re a long time favorite of mine ~ I’ll eat them instead of meat anytime. As long as they’re made right, that is. I make mine the authentic way, from soaked (not canned, not cooked!) chickpeas, and lots of fresh herbs and spices. I grind up garlic and herbs, then add the chickpeas and process until I get a coarse paste. I love this recipe because it cooks up lighter and moister than falafel made with chickpea flour. If you’ve been turned off by dry or flavorless falafel in the past, try this one.
TIP: I don’t like to make this green falafel mixture too far ahead of time because the herbs release moisture, and make it wet.
I mix in the seasonings and I’m ready to scoop and fry. You can do balls or patties, but patties allow you to use less oil because you can shallow fry them like fish cakes.
The patties will cook up in about 5-6 minutes, but flip them carefully, they’re delicate!
They’ll get quite browned and crispy on the outside, but the inside will stay bright green and soft. Don’t be afraid of the dark color, the best falafel is quite deeply colored.
The two sauces I made guarantee that you’ll have endless taste combinations for every bite. The tahini sauce is traditional, but I also made a spicy feta dip. The warm falafel with the cool crisp salad is just perfect, and saves you the extra carbs of a pita pocket. I would happily eat this every night of the week :)
- 1 batch falafel mix ~ see recipe HERE
- 1 small head of red leaf or romaine lettuce, rinsed, dried, and chopped
- olive oil and vinegar of your choice
- 1 cup prepared tabbouleh (for homemade, see recipe HERE)
- 1/2 cup pitted olives
- 1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup peppadew peppers
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, diced
- 1 lemon, cut in wedges
- 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste, look for it near the peanut butter, or in the International aisle)
- juice of 1 lemon
- water to thin
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup roasted red pepper or sun dried tomato in olive oil
- 1 pepperoncini, stem removed
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- olive oil
- salt to taste
- I like to fry my falafel in patties for this salad, as opposed to round balls like my original recipe. I use a 1 1/2 inch scoop to portion out the mixture and then I flatten it into a disk shape. This way it cooks evenly in a shallow amount of oil.
- Pour about 1/2 to 1 inch of vegetable oil in a skillet and heat until the oil reaches about 325F. Gently slide the patties into the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until crisp and deep brown. Be gentle when you flip them, I sometimes use two spatulas, one to push the patty onto the other, and then I ease the patty over. Drain on paper towels. This recipe will make approximately 20 falafel. I use 4 per salad serving.
- For each salad fill the bottom of a bowl with chopped lettuce. Drizzle the lettuce lightly with olive oil and vinegar. Put a large spoonful of tabbouleh in the center. Arrange olives, cucumbers, feta cheese, tomatoes, peppadews, and onions around the edge.
- Place 4 falafel patties on each salad, along with lemon wedges and a small container of both sauces.
- To make the tahini sauce, stir the tahini with the lemon juice, and then add water, a little at a time, while stirring, until you get the consistency you like. It will thicken up quite a bit, but if you want it thinner, just add more water. Season with salt to taste.
- To make the fire feta, put the ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil and salt in a small food processor and pulse until the mixture is combined into a rough paste. Add olive oil to thin, and salt to taste.
- An inexpensive cooking thermometer is a great tool to have handy in the kitchen, but if you don’t have one, do a test falafel in your oil, it should sizzle on contact with the oil, and turn deep brown in about 2 minutes per side. If it burns, turn the heat down, and if it doesn’t brown quickly enough, turn it up.
- You can reheat your falafel by wrapping it loosely in foil and putting it in a 350F for 10-15 minutes, or until warm.