This is one of those times where I don’t feel like I should be writing. It’s the time I set aside for this post today, however, so here I am. It’s day two and a half of Jessie without Scott while he is at his work retreat. I’m so stoked for him to be there, that much is true, and it makes me happy to think of him in a beautiful snowy cabin in the mountains with all these crazy talented people that make up the company which employs him. However, I’m lonely. I miss my bud. Every time he is away it is made even more clear to me how much of my life revolves around him, and I love it. I love having someone to make food for, clean up after, consider their thoughts, feelings, preferences. I love basing my schedule on his, making plans with him, doing nothing with him. I love having someone to help me out, make me relax, bounce all my crazy ideas off of, and laugh. I know, MUSH, but you know what? TRUTH! So I’m saying it, HE IS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE AND I WANT HIM BACK. Okay there, now you can go make these falafels.
I have a habit of starting a recipe with one flavor inspiration, then piling on one after another, and usually end up with a recipe five flavor layers deep. This is one of those recipes. My goodness people, the flavors. It goes like this: first you put turmeric in the falafel batter and it turns out stellar. Then you make harissa and are like WOAH this stuff is great. Then you blend said harissa in a tahini sauce, have a little flavor melt down, and do a happy harissa-tahini-sauce-dance in your kitchen. Then you make za’atar from scratch and want to sprinkle it on evvverything. Then you make a lemony cucumber tomato salad because why not. Then you combine all of these things in a ginormous romaine leaf, take a bite, and faint from flavor overload. You wake up happier than a pizza pocket and do it again. Sound magical? This could be your life. Instructions below.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram and tag photos you post of my recipes with #FWmakers so I can see!
Tid-bits: If cooking the chickpeas from scratch I recommend using this method. If buying pre-cooked, might I suggest purchasing ones that are organic and that have been packaged in a BPA-free lined can such as these. As for this ingredient and instruction list you are about to marvel at – don’t let it hinder you! Each component can be made ahead of time if you wish. Plus you don’t have to make the harissa and za’atar from scratch like I did if you already have those on hand!
Makes 22 falafel balls. About 12 ounces of harissa. 2 happy servings of harissa tahini. 4 servings cucumber salad. About 1/4 cup za’atar.
3 cups cooked chickpeas
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 bunch fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves
juice from half a lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
few dashes of cayenne and paprika
5 New Mexico chilis
5 guajillo chilis
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon pure sesame seed butter tahini
1 teaspoon harissa paste
juice of half a lemon
1 clove of garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt to taste I used about 1/4 teaspoon
water to thin
1 tablespoon sumac
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons sesame seeds hulled
2 teaspoons majoram
2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
tomato cucumber salad
2 tomatos I used roma
juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
large romaine leaves for serving
For the falafels, rinse and drain your chickpeas well and add them to the food processor bowl. Rinse the cilantro and parsley, and chop off the stems. Place the leaves, as well as the rest of the ingredients listed, with the chickpeas and herbs in the processor bowl and blend. Pause to scrape down the sides and give a bit of a stir in between blending to make sure everything gets evenly incorporated (pictured above). Scoop the falafel batter using a spoon or cookie scoop into balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet (or plates). Bake if eating right away (instructions below), or place the sheet/plates in the freezer to allow the falafels to freeze. Once frozen (about 1 to 2 hours) place in a freezer safe container or bag and keep in the freezer until ready to use. Thaw in the refrigerator before baking.
When ready to bake the falafels, preheat the oven to 375F and bake the falafels on a parchment lines cookie sheet for 20 minutes. Flipping carefully after 10 minutes to get even browning on both sides.
For the harissa, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the chilis to the pot, turn off the heat, and cover. Make sure all of the chilis are submerged in the hot water, rotate the chilis from top to bottom after 15 minutes if necessary. Once the chilis are hydrated, drain the water from the pan, remove the seeds and stems, and place the chilis in a blender. Toast the seeds in a dry pan on the stove set to low heat. Toss every few minutes to keep from burning. They are done when they have slightly browned and are fragrant (about 5-8 minutes). Add the toasted seeds, garlic, lemon juice, and salt to the blender with your chilis (you can also use a small food processor, or an immersion blender with a small mixing bowl). Puree the harissa into a paste. Use right away and store the leftover in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.
For the tahini, blend all of the listed ingredients together. Add the water last, one tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. This makes enough to serve 3 or 4, but feel free to double or triple it to use throughout the week, its that good. Store any leftover in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.
For the za’atar, combine the listed ingredients in a small bowl and toss. You can amp up the flavor by toasting the sesame seeds in a dry pan on the stove set to low heat for about 5 minutes if you have the time. Make sure to toss to keep from burning and remove when slightly browned and fragrant. Keep leftover za’atar in an airtight jar in your pantry.
For the tomato cucumber salad, quarter the cucumber and slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Finely chop the tomatoes and toss with the cucumber, lemon juice, plus salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator as well and use within a few days.
To assemble the falafels, take a large romaine leaf and place three falafel balls inside. Scoop a few spoonfuls of the tomato cucumber salad on top, drizzle with harissa tahini, and sprinkle za’atar on top to finish it off. Dig and and experience the FLAVOR.