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Baked Falafel Salad with Carrot-Tahini Dressing

Somehow or the other, everything that I have eaten and posted recently seems to have been beige hence my desire to make a really colorful salad. Of course, once topped with golden brown falafel I reverted to type, but the salad below the falafel was colorful -- red, greens, purple, orange...

This felt as if it were very good for me and my gut health, and a definite step towards eating my seven a day. It was also absolutely delicious, so much so that the quantities that I inhaled were quite prodigious...I wanted to use as many vegetables, colors and textures as my fridge could offer so used mixed greens, shredded purple cabbage, crunchy red pepper, roasted yellow onion, roasted cubanelle pepper, cucumber, shelled edamame beans and pickled green tomatoes remaining from the batch I made in late September (and, of course, carrots in the dressing.) I also planned on using cherry tomatoes, but forgot until I was half way through eating the salad. Moral of the story -- use whatever you want, just make sure that the salad contains a variety of items so that each bite is different, not more of the same.

This recipe makes ten small falafel patties, half of which you can freeze for future use or have the next day, topped with some of the leftover dressing, along with a glass of wine at apéritif hour. I had only ever had baked falafel made with canned falafel and using the raw beans was a revelation, and surprisingly simple.

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (or covered with boiling salted water and allowed to sit for a couple of hours until softened)

1/4 cup onion, roughly chopped

Large handful parsley, stems and all, roughly chopped

Large handful cilantro, stems and all, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

2 tsps chickpea flour

1/8 tsp baking soda

Salt to taste

Olive oil to keep the falafel from sticking

(Dressing ingredients are listed at the end of this recipe)

Drain the chickpeas.

Place them and all but the last three ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix and grind into rubble. The mixture should resemble bread crumbs or rough sand.

Tip the mixture into a bowl and stir in the remaining three ingredients. If your mixture feels wet and doesn't stick together when you try to form some of it into a ball, add a teaspoon or so more chickpea flour.

Place in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up before shaping into ten equal sized balls. I used a melon scooper to get uniform shapes and sized but you can definitely free form these as well.

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil. Oil the paper or foil liberally and place the balls on the tray, leaving some distance between each one.

Press down on each ball to flatten it and brush the top with oil before placing the tray in the oven.

Bake for fifteen minutes.

Remove from the oven and turn each falafel over. I found that the easiest way to do this was to lift up the foil and peel the falafel off manually, rather than trying to flip it with a spatula or tongs which damaged the exterior crunchy coating.

Place back in the oven and bake for an additional ten minutes.

Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes before placing on the top of a salad made of an assortment of greens and vegetables as discussed above.

Drizzle with a dressing made of two carrots, one tablespoon of tahini, one teaspoon of olive oil, the juice from one lemon, a dash of salt, a generous pinch of sumac and just enough water to get a dressing-like texture when you blitz the whole thing together in the blender.

Let me know what you think.

Inspiration recipe, here.


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