I knew as soon as I got up yesterday morning what I wanted to make for #MeatlessMonday’s dinner: a falafel casserole. Falafels are easiest eaten in a pita wrap, but A) we didn’t have pitas and B) I’m still trying my best to make suppers that don’t depend on simple carbs for their form or structure. Now, the problem was actually finding a recipe for a falafel casserole. Apparently, Falafel Casserole isn’t really a thing yet.
Well, I have news for you, folks – Falafel Casserole is a THING now – furthermore, it’s one of the BEST THINGS you’ll make in your kitchen this month.
|Tomato Pickle Salsa|
Falafel has a special place in my life: the first time that I ever ate a falafel was on my husband & my first date. It was sort of an impromptu date. He showed up at my house with a mocha/white chocolate swirl from Starbucks (I hate coffee. But I drank it.) the day after his 25th birthday party (that I crashed) to help me study Abnormal Psychology. I was wearing sweat pants, an oversized hoodie, and no bra – I hadn’t even showered yet! Anyhow, nothing like discussing the Oedipus & Electra complexes with your hopeful love for 4 hours. Once I was satisfied that I was ready for the PSY-321 final exam the next day, I quickly brushed my teeth for the first time that day! and Brian took me out to Renee’s Middle Eastern Cuisine (a little hole in the wall – quite literally – that sadly no longer exists) and I had my very first ever falafel. Did I mention that he was a vegetarian when we started dating? No lie – I seriously contemplated if that was something that I could live with or not. The rest, they say, is history – but that was my introduction to falafel.
|Baked Falafel Balls. Could be Gingersnaps.|
Enough of the sappy stuff. There’s something about falafel that’s fresh & bright, and so full of fantastic textures – crispy, crunchy, soft, moist…deliciousness.
After searching the world wide web for a while, I grabbed some components from a few different places, made up some of my own stuff, and then went to work.
This recipe makes enough for an 8×8 pan & serves 4 if you have a side, but next time I’m going to double it because I had some for leftovers today for lunch and WOW. Even better the second day!
Falafel Casserole (Serves 4)
- Falafel Balls (Adapted from Experimental Culinary Pursuits)
- 1 can or 2 cups of chickpeas/garbanzo beans
- 1 cup of gluten free bread crumbs or crushed Chex cereal
- 1/3 cup of chopped cilantro or 1/8 cup cilantro paste
- 2 tsp of cumin
- 1 tsp of ground coriander
- 1 tsp baking soda
- a drizzle of olive oil
- 1/2 tsp of chili pepper flakes
- 1 egg
- 5 slices of dill pickle
- Tahini Sauce (from Ron Whitfield)
- 1 c Tahini
- 2/3 c water
- 1/2 t salt
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- 2 T chopped curly parsley
- Tomato/Pickle ‘Salsa’
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 2 medium sized dill pickles, diced or 10 slices of dill pickle, chopped
- 1/2 cup curly parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 vegetable stock bouillon cube
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 3 Tbsp curly parsley
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Place all ingredients for Falafel Balls into food processor & process until the mixture is a thick paste.
- Form into ~1″ balls and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, then set aside.
- Turn oven down to 325.
- While Falafel is baking, cook the quinoa. Typically, you’ll want 1 cup of water for a 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa. Add (rinsed) quiona to water & bouillon in a pot. Bring to a boil, then cook on low for 15 minutes. Let rest in pot with the lid on until you’re ready to use.
- As the quiona cooks on the stove, prepare your tahini sauce by thoroughly mixing together all of the ingredients (tahini, water, salt, lemon juice, garlic, & curly parsley). Set aside.
- Combine the tomatoes, dill pickles, curly parsley, & salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
- Assemble: Spread the cooked quinoa on the bottom of an 8×8 casserole dish. Drizzle about 1/3 of the prepared Tahini Sauce on the quiona, followed by 1/2 cup of feta cheese and all of the Tomato/Pickle Salsa. Drizzle another 1/3 of the Tahini Sauce on the Salsa, then slightly flatten the falafel balls and arrange them to cover the whole casserole. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Before serving, drizzle with remaining Tahini, sprinkle with remaining feta cheese and 3 Tbsp of curly parsley.
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