Falafel Salad with Flax Hummus (or How I Almost Ate a Cup of Coconut Oil) (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

DSC01700

Let’s cut to the chase (I hate it when bloggers tell a whole epistle to the Romans before they finally get to their recipe, making their readers scroll forever, what with their many process shots):

I was kinda craving a Middle Eastern bowl like the ones they sell at Fresh Restaurants in Toronto.  I really felt like eating falafels, and I was paying too much for store-bought and fast-food versions so I resorted to “home-made.”  These taste like the real thing.  Plus, they’re healthy, they’re filled with protein and healthy fats and they’re gluten-free.  It’s a win-win all around.

Falafels

3 cups chickpeas

1/2 red onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 cup fresh parsley (or 3 tbsp dried parsley)

1/3 cup flour (you can use gluten-free or rice flour)

2 tsp salt

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp baking powder

4 tbsp tahini (optional)

cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:

  1. I’m the kind of person that just likes to dump everything into my food processor and let it spin, so that’s what I did.  Don’t let it process too long though– the batter is supposed to be slightly lumpy.  We don’t want a smooth, paste-like, spread-like consistency here.  We like lumps and bumps.
  2. Form your falafel batter into small balls and put them in the fridge so they can firm up a little.  I didn’t do this the first time around and so they fell apart while frying in my frying pan and soaked up a lot of oil, which is why I almost ended up eating a cup of coconut oil with my falafels.  If you let them firm up and take shape, they will be much easier to fry.
  3. Fry them like you would fry fried dumplings (assuming that you know how to fry fried dumplings…): Put 3 tbsp of oil (coconut or avocado oil) and fry each side until browned.  Add more oil if needed (but hopefully you won’t need much because you’ve allowed your falafels to take shape in the fridge beforehand right?).
  4. Let drain on a plate covered with paper towel.  Serve hot on a bed of tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce, or in a pita.

Flax Hummus (adapted from the Fresh Restaurant cookbook)

I’m not gonna sit here and act like I have an innovative recipe for hummus — they are many floating around the internet and the recipe is pretty standard.  So instead of reinventing the wheel (which is already fine as it is), here’s a recipe for hummus:

1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic (I like microwave my garlic cloves to make them easier to peel and reduce their sharp, peppery garlic taste)

1/2 to 1/4 cup water (optional and as needed)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp flaxseed meal

1/3 cup tahini

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

  1.  Throw it all into a blender and blend.  Add the water in a little as a time to achieve desired consistency.
  2. Once the mixture has reached a smooth consistency, pour it out and keep in a container.  The hummus can stay refrigerated for up to a week.  I wouldn’t hold onto it longer than that.

For more hummus recipes, see here.

Curry Lentil Salad (Vegan, Gluten-Free and Paleo option)

I’m convinced that everything tastes better with curry.  You’ll see what I mean when you make this salad.  Enjoy.

021

For the salad:

1 cup green lentils (it’s the main component, but leave out if making this paleo)

1 lb of grilled chicken breast, chopped (optional)

1 apple, chopped (Pink Lady, Honey Crisp, Fuji or Royal Gala are excellent choices)

A handful (about 1 cup) of baby spinach or roughly torn apart kale (dinosaur/black kale preferably) (optional)

1 mango, sliced thin

2 tbsp dried cranberries or pomegranate arils

½ cup walnut pieces, toasted (toasting your nuts makes ALL the difference.  Trust me.)

For the salad dressing:

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)

2 ½ tbsp honey or coconut nectar

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp Jamaican curry powder (pick a brand with salt; if not, add 1/8 tsp of salt to your dressing)

1/8 tsp salt, or to taste (if curry powder doesn’t already have salt)

¼ cup olive oil

  1. Cook your lentils according to package directions. Set aside and let cool (refrigeration is recommended).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the salad dressing ingredients (they can even be mixed in a food processor or blender). Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients with your salad dressing. Serve chilled.

On another note, I’m entering this recipe into the 2015 Canadian Lentils Recipe Revelation Challenge!  Yay!  Likes and repins of my recipe count as a portion of the total scoring, so please like it and repin it!  Here’s the direct link: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/214554369724083662/

014

Curry Apple Mixed Greens Salad

I literally just made this. 5 minutes. Tops.

Curry (esp. Jamaican curry) is such a versatile seasoning.  That’s why I love it so. You can use it in a tofu scramble or even in quinoa (I will upload a post about this). It is spicy, bitter (because of the turmeric) and it will stain your hands, clothing, counter etc (I learned this the hard way), so a little goes a long way.  Not only is it versatile, but the turmeric in the seasoning is said to be anti-inflammatory (think arthritis, diarrhea, digestive problems, auto-immune diseases, allergies — the root of many diseases is inflammation).

You can even use it in salads. Who would’ve thought? The following salad was delicious, nutritious, and had loads of veggies.

Ingredients
1 whole Royal gala or 1/2 of a Pink Lady apple, chopped
2 cups of mixed greens (I bought the President’s Choice pre-washed container of greens)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp honey
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Jamaican curry
1/4 cup olive oil (or less)

Toss together and serve immediately (with a smile of course)!

2014-03-18 23.09.58