Baked Falafel Bowls
Oh my falafel!
Can we talk about falafel? Let’s also talk about how I only experienced my first falafel wrap a mere month ago. Now, when it comes to exotic fruits and vegetables, worldly veggie cuisines, and absolutely bizarre looking/sounding/tasting vegetable, bean, or non-meat dishes, I consider myself quite well read on the subject from lots of traveling and experimental eating. Which is why when I announced that I had never eaten falafel the other day, I was received with looks of pure agony, disgust, and dismay from those around me.
So, succumbing to peer pressure and mad curiosity, I sampled my first falafel – wrapped between collard greens with all sorts of goodness inside, and instantly realized my mistake. Holy falafel, where have you been all my life?
Then I became crazed until I could recreate the perfect falafel dish in my own kitchen, one made vegan, filled with plants, flavor, the perfect bite, and absolute goodness. This falafel is just that – filled with fiber and protein rich chickpeas, Vitamin K boosted arugula and cilantro, and delicious spices and flavors from the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, extra virgin olive oil, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Chickpea flour is a bit of a secret ingredient, and is a naturally gluten free flour made from ground up garbanzo beans. Unlike blah white flour, chickpea flour has iron, protein, and fiber too, which means it won’t spike your blood sugar but it will leave you feeling satisfied. If you don’t have any spare chickpea flour lying around, you can also ground up rolled oats to a flour-like consistency to sub instead.
My favorite way to use falafel is to put them in a hearty salad bowl with tons of fresh veggies and a substantial drizzle of lemon tahini dressing. These bowls are filled with peppery arugula, fresh cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes, delicious avocado for beneficial fatty acids, and a bit of red onion for zing and some special antioxidant properties. As I put tahini on practically everything, of course I’m drizzling these bowls with simple and perfect lemon tahini dressing. The dressing comes together in one minute flat, while your falafels bake in the oven. From beginning to end, you can have a delicious lunch or dinner ready to go in about 35 minutes!
Simple, delicious, and completely amazing; holy moly falafel, you’ll love these!
Baked Falafel Bowls
Makes 2 bowls, and 12 falafel
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15oz can, drained & rinsed)
½ cup cilantro
½ cup arugula
3 cloves of garlic
2 heaped tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon cumin
Dash of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
black pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons chickpea flour
3 big handfuls of arugula
1 cucumber, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
½ cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, quartered
1-2 tablespoons red onion
Lemon Tahini Dressing:
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Small pinch cumin
Pink Himalayan sea salt & pepper
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375° F.
In a food processor combine all falafel ingredients except for chickpea flour. Pulse until ingredients are completely broken down, creamy, and paste like.
Place falafel mixture in a small mixing bowl and stir in chickpea flour tablespoon by tablespoon, until mixture is doughy and slightly sticky.
Ball up a heaping tablespoon of falafel mixture and place it on the baking tray. Lightly press down to create a thick disk shape. Repeat for the remainder of the falafel mixture.
Bake falafel 20-30 minutes total – flipping after about 12-15 minutes. The outside of the falafel should be lightly brown – do not overcook, or they’ll dry out!
Once falafel are finished baking, remove from oven and let slightly cool.
While falafel is baking prepare your bowls and dressing. To make dressing, simply place tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and olive oil in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. For the bowls, divide arugula between two bowls and top with sliced cucumber, tomato, avocado, and red onion. Sprinkle additional cilantro if you’d like. Top each bowl with a few falafels and drizz1le with lemon tahini dressing. Enjoy!
*You’ll have extra falafel from this recipe (unless you eat them all in one sitting!) You can simply store them in the refrigerator and then heat them back up when you’re ready to heat. A quick warm up in the oven or a slight sautee in a cast iron skillet both work well.