From-scratch Baked Falafel Salad with Honey Tahini dressing

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It’s sppprrriinnngggtiimmmeee peoples!! How do you all feel about having a birthday party for spring? As many of you may know, I have a die-hard obsession with Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers movies (the Parent Trap featuring Lindsay Lohan and Lindsay Loan and You’ve Got Mail being at the tippy-top of the list). In Nora Ephron’s top success (if you ask me) You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan famously says that Fall “makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

Now what would you say about Spring to your mysterious email-pal? I know my friend Molly would say she’d send somebody a package of freshly cut green grass, as she claims the green lawns of UVA made her commit to going to school there. I might say I’d like to take a music box and capture the sound of birds in the morning or the sound of the whistle from soccer practice. What about the last class before spring break? How about the smell of dew hitting your nose as you walk out the door, the fresh scent of lilies, or eating warm ham biscuits with mustard on Easter? Going to Mellow Mushroom after soccer practice, and walking through the gardens at UVA. I love it! In addition to loving spring, I also love a good revival of an old fashion trend to bring back when the weather gets warm. One year it was overalls. This year, I’m feelin the comeback of platform flip flops. Thoughts?

And in true spring fashion, I’ve got a green-colored dish for you all. It just so happens that it’s the day before St. Patty’s as well. This year, I went to Savannah for St Patty’s and brought some Guinness cupcakes with me!! Are you an enthusiastic baker who jumps at the chance to make holiday-themed baked goods?? If so, come hang with me.

On to falafel. Fa-la-la-la-fel. One of my absolute FAVORITE foods, and also one that I haven’t ever mastered. Falafel is essentially a fried ball of chickpeas and herbs (but in this case baked.) Alas!!! A baked falafel recipe worth sharing from Cookie and Kate, a favorite blog in my home. There’s this place that sells delicious falafel by my office called Ameer’s. Every time I go, I try to craft a falafel salad which ends with me ordering side salad and falafel appetizer. Awkward meal, no more. I had heard that to make a homemade version of falafel, it is essential to use dried chickpeas. Well I don’t know if I mastered how to cook dried chickpeas, but I did get a good consistency.

Cookie and Kate says to soak the chickpeas for a long period of time, but I think you are also supposed to cook them once they soften. Mine were a little bit dry but all it did was make the falafel more firm.

Baked Falafel, adapted slightly from cookie+kate

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in water at least 8 hours
  • ⅓ cup chopped onion (she says red I only had white)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Sesame seeds, for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep two wide skillets with 2 tablespoons olive oil while the oven heats.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine soaked and drained chickpeas, onion, parsley, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Puree until smooth, 30 seconds-1 minute.

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3. Before you start forming the falafel patties, make sure you’ve oiled the pans because otherwise you’re going to have a mess. Scoop out roughly two tablespoons of the mixture and roll into a ball first. Then flatten the ball lightly into a patty about 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick.

4. Place each patty into one of your oiled skillets and drop a few sesame seeds on each.

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5. Bake falafel on the middle rack of your oven for 13 minutes on one side. While the first side is cooking, prep your dressing.

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6. QUICK DRESSING: Whisk about 2 tablespoons tahini, 1/2 tsp honey, 1 TBS water, a dash of cumin, salt and pepp, 1-2 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar together.

7. Flip your falafel and bake for another 13-15 minutes. I found that for the flip I needed some more oil to get a crispy crust. In reality, this recipe may need more oil all around because I never got them to be super crispy.

8. Remove falafel from the oven. Sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds. Serve on a bed of lettuce, with chopped cucumber, carrot, tomato if you have it and some toasted walnuts. Drizzle dressing over top or use as a dipping sauce. Enjoy!!

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