One of the best ways to get me excited about a salad (especially when it’s cold and dreary out) is to add a falafel!
Falafels are typically deep fried balls of chickpeas, spices, and herbs. They are often served at greek restaurants on top of a bed of romaine lettuce and tzatziki sauce, or in a big pita wrap.
They became a favorite of mine when I first started experimenting with vegetarianism. I would often find myself at a food court or airport, not having any clue what I could order without meat and still enjoy. I quickly got tired of quesadillas, and though I could never tire of pizza, I knew I needed to figure something out that was a notch healthier. I discovered falafels and I was hooked!
Now, usually falafels are deep fried, which isn’t something I would consider real, whole, or clean food. Making these puppies at home ups the nutritional content exponentially. And with this recipe, we heat them in a pan with a little oil- no deep frying allowed! (I mean you can deep fry them instead, if you must.)
They have lots of real foods, like chickpeas, which are loaded with fiber and are a perfect combo of carbs + protein. They also have lots of greens- my fave! Cilantro and parsley are both great for the gut and have dexofiying properties. There is a smidgen of flour, but I used an oat flour which is gluten free and it worked perfectly!
I must say (in bold letters) THIS RECIPE TAKES A BIT OF PLANNING. It calls for dried chickpeas (which you can find in the bulk section of most grocery stores) that need to be soaked for 12 hours, or overnight. Canned chickpeas just don’t work as well. And after soaking, they need to be drained and laid out on a paper towel for about an hour to dry.
But once the chickpeas are taken care of they are super easy to make! And the best part is that you can double the batch, freeze half, and cook them up whenever you feel like a falafel! Whoop! Totally worth a little planning, IMO.
This is a falafel salad recipe, but obviously, falafels are good with so many things. Pair with rice and baked veggies for a nice rounded out meal. Throw them in a tortilla or pita with a few pieces of lettuce and tomatoes for an on-the-go option. Or have them solo with a little of the dressing recipe below as a dip for an exciting new snack!
Whatever you do with your new, homemade falafels, I hope you enjoy!
This makes about 2 dozen falafels. I strongly encourage you to double and freeze half!
Falafel Salad Dressing
Salad Ingredients- For 1 salad
If you are interested in freezing the falafels, follow directions through step 5. Once they have been frozen on a plate for about an hour, you can transfer them to a bag or container and place back in the freezer.
Vegan Option- Omit the feta cheese. Omit the greek yogurt in the dressing- it is still really good! Or you could add hummus in place of the greek yogurt.
Meal Prepping Tip- Portion out all of the salad ingredients into containers. Place the dressing in small containers for each salad. Cook up the falafels and then place in microwavable containers. When ready to eat, dump the dressing onto the salad, replace the lid and shake so that the dressing disperses evenly. Heat falafels in the microwave or stove (if you have access to one) and top salad with them.