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Healthy Falafel Salad with Tahini Mint Dressing

Looking for a healthy, whole foods baked falafel that rivals it's fried counterpart in taste and texture? Look no further. I've been testing this recipe for what seems like forever, and finally, perfection. I'm excited to share it with you!

If you haven't invested in a simple food processor, what are you waiting for?! My $30 device has allowed me to make a whole slew of dishes that are otherwise impossible - this being on of them. You can use a blender but I find that I go for my food processor more and more when it comes to making savory dishes. 

The falafels themselves can be shaped anyway you like (with varied baking times) but I choose to go with a classic shape and put them on top of a fresh salad inspired by all the fixins' of a traditional pita. Crisp cucumber, home-roasted red pepper, bright pink quick pickled onion, fresh tomato, hummus and a creamy mint-tahini dressing all come together to make this a seriously superior salad perfect for dinner or entertaining. 

As I said above, I've tested healthy falafel recipes every-which-way for at least a year and I think I found the secret to crispy on the outside, tender on the inside baked (not fried) chick pea balls - and it's more chic peas - chic pea flour to be exact. The addition of this ingredient helps to create a nice outer crust without drying out the center. I found chick pea flour in the bulk section of my local grocery store but if you don't have it on hand you can sub regular flour or oat flour for a gluten free option. I also think the addition of just a little bit of baking powder helps to keep these guys so light and airy. This recipe calls for a ton of fresh herbs which along with fresh garlic helps to make these falafel into little flavor bombs. They are a great thing to meal prep and have on hand to add a protein-punch to any dish throughout the week - hot or cold!

I served my falafel salad with hummus and an amazingly simple tahini-mint dressing that, in my opinion, really made the dish. The combination of fresh, bright mint and creamy sesame paste is one for the record books - add a hit of acid from lemon juice plus a little sweetener and you are in business. 

Let me know if you make this recipe - the falafel, the dressing or both! I am so excited to hear how you like it!

Healthy Herbed Oven-Baked Falafel

  • 1 can chic peas, rinsed and drained well
  • 1/4 cup chic pea flour 
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 low-sodium veggie boulion 
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. masala spice (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. tahini (optional)
  • Pink salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400*F and spray a parchment lined baking sheet pan with coconut oil spray. In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic till minced.

2. Add the chic peas, chic pea flour, baking soda, lemon, boulion and spices - pulse until well combined, using a spatula  occasionally to ensure even distribution. If it looks a bit dry add more lemon juice or tahini. Then gently pulse in the herbs just until they are mixed through. Mixture should be slightly damp and stick together easily - you should still be able to distinguish some bits of chic pea, onion, etc.  

3. Before forming into balls, give the mixture a taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Then, shape into 2" diameter rounds and place on the baking sheet. You should get apx. 6-8 falafel. Spray the tops with a bit more coconut oil to ensure browning. Bake for 20 minutes, turn falafel over and cook for another 15 minutes or until the tops are slightly cracked and golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

For the Salad

  • Fresh spinach or other salad green
  • Sliced red cabbage
  • Hot house cucumber, sliced
  • Bell pepper, roasted on open flame and sliced thin OR pre-jarred roasted red peppers

NOTE: If you have a gas range and have never roasted your own red peppers - what are you waiting for?! This was totally life changing for me because prior to learning this method I didn't really like roasted reds in the jar (kinda mushy, no?) but now I put them on EVERYTHING. It's just so easy and takes a simple pepper from 0 to 60 in only a few minutes. 

Simply turn on your GAS burner (do not attempt if you have an electric stovetop) to medium heat and place your whole red pepper directly on the grates. Toast on all four sides for apx. 1-2 minutes per side until the flesh is somewhat black and charred. Allow to cool off heat and then slice as you normally would. 

  • Fresh tomato, sliced
  • Quick pickled red onion

NOTE: To quick pickle, slice the onion thin and add to a jar with equal parts vinegar, and water, plus 1 tbsp. sweetener of choice. 

  • Hummus (homemade or store bought)
  • Whole wheat pita bread, warmed slightly on an open flame (optional, but recommended) 

No real steps or required measurments for the salad (other than what is listed above) - but it's good to assemble the elements while your falafel are baking/cooling. That way, everything is ready at the same time!

Mint Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • handful mint leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • enough water to reach desired consistency (I used about 2-3 tbsp.)

1. In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients till creamy and smooth!




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