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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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Well Rooted Beet Hummus

I have always loved hummus but never tried making it on my own until recently and let me tell you - GAME CHANGER. I love being able to create my own flavors and experiment with different additions. This is my current favorite - maybe it's the ruby red color, maybe its the light, creamy texture or maybe it is because I know how good it is for me.

You can make this recipe as easy or as hard as you like - personally I cooked my own chick peas and roasted my own beets but there are ways around both of those things suggested below. I love that I can whip up this impressive and pretty dip in just a few minutes if I wanted to.

If you are a fan of beets (which you should be because they deliver so many nutrients in such a delicious package) then you will not be able to get enough of the savory and sweet combination. Give it a try!

Serves: 10 • Prep Time: 15 minutes OR 2.15 hours (if you cook your chick peas from scratch)

  • 2 cups cooked chick peas (about 1.5 cans)
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 medium or 3 small roasted beets
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 glove of garlic, peeled
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Set the oven to 425*F and wrap your cleaned beets throughly in tin foil and place them on the rack. Roast until fork tender, somewhere between 30-45 minutes. While still hot, rinse the beets with cold water - this should help you peel them easily with a vegetable peeler.

NOTE: You can skip this step by purchasing pre-roasted beets at the store (just make sure you drain them) or by using beet root powder if you have it.

2. If you are going the route of prepping your own chick peas from their uncooked state simply follow package directions. Rinse and allow to fully cool. 

NOTE: I like the option of cooking your own beans because that way you can control the amount of salt that goes into addition, it seems to me that the final texture of the hummus is a bit more fluffy when made with beans from scratch. It is time consuming but simple enough, cook up a whole bag and make a few different hummus's for a party!

3. In a food processor combine chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, cumin and garlic. Pulse till combined - you may have to press the mixture down a few times with a spatula and it may appear a crumbly and dry, if this is the case add a few tablespoons of water but be on the conservative side as the roasted beets contain some moisture.

4. Once the hummus mixture is smooth, nestle roasted beets and pulse till the entire mixture takes on a pink-ish red hue. You can of course add more or less beets depending on your liking.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Keeps for a few days. 





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Easy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (Oil-Free)

Life lately has consisted of me desperately searching for ways to include my tahini obsession in most every meal. I do normally stick to diet on the lower-fat side but I also am constantly listening to my body, and when my body says, eat this tahini - I listen. All fats are not made equal so when I do crave them I always to the food in its whole form as much as possible (aka very limited amounts of oil). Now, tahini isn't an oil but a "butter" of sorts, its ground sesame seeds just as all *good* peanut butter is simply ground peanuts. Sesame seeds are full of more protein than almost any other seed and also contain ton of wonderful nutriets, like vitamin E, that justify this craving.

Now, I have come to discover that not all tahini is made equal - for years I didn't even think I liked it because of a few misinformed purchases (and the fact that I really do actually hate the overwhelming flavor of toasted sesame a la sesame oil, anyone else?). But I will take the leg work out of it for you - THIS tahini is the one you need. It's just sesame seeds - there's no salt or preservatives. PLUS the texture is the creamiest, smoothest and most delightful thing - I could totally eat it straight out of the jar. The flavor is nutty but neutral. Not to mention, you can buy it on Amazon and it's at your door in an instant (okay, maybe a few days). 

Now I pivot to tahini's running mate - everyone's favorite multi-purpose spread, hummus. Hummus is one of those things that once you make it and realize how easy it is, you'll never buy preservative laden store-bought variety again. I love this particular recipe because of the intensity of flavor that the roasted pepper adds, and you just can't beat that gorgeous color. I love using this spread on sandwiches, in dressings, on toast and of course, for dipping! This recipe is perfect, easy thing to bring to a last minute event or gathering - serve with some veggies and crackers and make sure to tell everyone it's homemade! 

Let me know how you like it!

Serves: 4 • Prep Time: 8 minutes, all in 

  • 16 oz. can low-sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 3 rounded tbsp Achva Tahini
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 large roasted red pepper (from a jar or fresh roasted)
  • 1/2 large lemon, juiced
  • Optional: Salt/pepper

1. Rinse and drain garbanzo beans and pat dry with a towel

2. Add beans, tahini, garlic, red pepper and lemon juice to a food processor, blend til totally smooth (this takes about a minute), scraping down the sides a few times as needed.

NOTE: If you want to roast your own pepper, try it! It's easy as long as you have a gas stove and a pair of tongs! Just turn a burner on low and set the whole red pepper directly on the grate, after a few minutes the skin of the pepper facing the flame will begin to turn black and char - use the tongs to turn the pepper a few times so that all of the skin is charred (some red can be left). Then immediately move the hot pepper into a large plastic bag or bowl with a lid, seal and let the pepper steam for 15 minutes. Once cool, you can remove the pepper from the bag/bowl and use your hands to peel off the charred skin. Use half in this dish and store the rest for another use (tacos, anyone?)




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Almost Fat-Free Cilantro Lime Hummus

If there is a heaven, I am pretty sure there is plenty of hummus there. Hummus is just one of those things that makes life worth living and for a vegan, it has totally replaced the need for cheese, mayo and the like. I spread hummus on everything and have been known to polish off a store-bought tub in a day or two. With that said, making my own hummus was always one of those things I planned to do but never acted so when I got my Vitamix a few months ago I figured I might as well start. It took a few tries but I found the perfect proportions of ingredients and am happy to share this kicked-up recipe with you.

One of the best things about making your own hummus is that you can flavor it anyway you like - I was in the mood for a bit of mexican flavor so this recipe has chili powder, lime instead of lemon and a big handful of cilantro but you can of course adjust to your taste. 

Serves: 4 • Prep Time: 10 min


  • 1 can of (unsalted) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • 1 small handful of cilantro
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper (or sun dried tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder, chili powder, ground pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 cup water

1. Drain and rinse your beans well, really well. Rinse them until you no longer see the foamy bubbles that appear when the water falls over them. Apparently not fully rinsing the liquid that surrounds the beans in the can increase the unwanted ah-hem...symptoms some of us experience when we them.

2. Add your beans to a high-speed blender along with all other ingredients and pulse, you may need to add more or less water depending. My blender needed a little help, so I had to use the tamper to get everything combined. 

3. Taste your hummus and adjust the seasonings if needed (I added the salt at this point, maybe a 1/2 tsp). 

Keeps for 3-4 days in the fridge! 


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