Certain foods evoke wonderful unforgettable memories. They often stir up a whiff of nostalgia and we bask in warm, fuzzy feelings of those wonderful times gone by. This sense of food-invoked wistfulness is extremely common in my life!
2018 started with an inevitable reality finally setting into my husband and my world. We relocated to India in 2014, but a part of our hearts has always been (and will always be) in the US. As my in-laws sell their US home and relocate to India, we are coping with the reality of a severed link with our other homeland. We are slowly letting go of our easy annual trips back, along with everything from losing our long held US cell phone numbers, to a US permanent address and a lot more. While we are excited to finally have both sets of parents’ live near us, this is certainly a bittersweet time for us.
This new reality has been a lot more painful for my husband. To help us relive these amazing memories, I have decided to draw inspiration from some of our favourite foods from DC! This Baked Falafel Salad Recipe is an ode to an amazing time gone by in our lives.
As a young, newly married couple living in the DC metro area, we often found that our late night adventures ended at Adam’s Morgan at Amsterdam Falafel. Not only did that Falafel hit the spot after several drinks, it was also pretty damn tasty when one was completely sober. Since, we moved to India I’ve worked on perfecting my falafel recipe, as nothing I have tasted here, has come close to our favourite one.
Since loving your husband also means keeping a check on his waistline, I’ve created a healthier version. I bake my traditional falafel balls and serve it up on a bed of salad, instead of sandwiching in a pita. It’s simply dressed with a zingy, yogurt tahini sauce instead of an oil drenched garlic toum. The fat has been cut back, drastically, without diminishing the joy of eating a delicious falafel.
This recipe is for my husband, – we’ll always have these amazing food memories and I look forward to creating new ones throughout our lives. In the mean time we’ll stay calm and relish this Baked Falafel Salad!
Baked Falafel Salad Recipe
Recipe adapted from Epicurious: My Favorite Falafel
Time: Inactive: 12-24 hours Active: 30 minutes
Yield: About 12 falafel balls
½ cup dried chickpeas
½ cup red onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 tablespoon galice, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon baking powder
2-4 tablespoons all purpose flour (maida)
salt to taste
¼ Plain Greek yogurt, quarter cup (See Notes)
2 tablespoons Tahini
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika powder (Can use more if you prefer it spicier)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups romaine lettuce, ribbed and roughly chopped
¼ cup pickled radishes or turnips, chopped (optional)
¼ cup red onion, sliced
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup cucumber, sliced rounds
- If using regular yogurt, do hang it in a muslin cloth for 20 minutes to remove the excess liquid.
- Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, drain them the next morning.
- In a large food processor or blender jar add the chickpeas, along with the parsley, cilantro, salt, chili powder, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
- Remove the mixture into a large mixing bowl and add in the baking powder. Add in 2 tablespoons of the flour. You can add an additional 1-2 tabelspoons so that you have a mixture that’s not too sticky when you are forming the falafel balls. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 1 hour.
- When ready to bake remove the mixture from the refrigerator. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bursh the parchment paper/foil with some olive oil.
- Form golf ball sized falafel balls and then slightly flatten then with your hands to form cutlets. Place these on the pre-lined baking sheet and brush the falafels with more olive oil.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping the falafels halfway through.
- While the falafels are baking, mix together all the dressing ingredients and set aside. Place all the salad ingredients into a serving bowl.
- Once the falafels are cooked remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes. Then place them on the salad vegetables and top with the dressing. Serve immediately.