Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Falafel Salad with Grilled Vegetables

This is what happens when I'm in the mood for a new version of falafel and have been spending time lingering in Raw food blogs looking for desserts and bread substitutes I can eat. The Raw food thing intrigues me but I could never do it. Just modifying this recipe for dinner frustrated me to the point I had to tap in the fella to cook while I did dishes for awhile unmolested by the falafel that refused to blend.

The pumpkin seeds were a problem. First of all we could only fine salted and roasted pumpkin seeds which made the falafel super salty. Also pumpkin seeds are a bitch in the food processor, or at least in mine. It was not going well and when I added the rest of the sticky viscous ingredients it was even less cooperative. Eventually after much swearing (on my part) and gentle coercion (on the fella's part) we got a mixture with a nice consistency. Unlike other falafel recipes that tend to fall apart in the pan, there was no risk these doing so, once those pumpkin seeds gave it up these were some hardy balls of falafel . And aside from being too salty they were delicious. Who knew that pumpkin seeds, sun dried tomatoes and olives would go so great together.

While the fella was sweet talking the falafel mixture into submission I grilled the veggies on one of my favorite things in the kitchen, the grill pan. This is as close as I get to grilling so I would be lost at moments like these with out it.

The falafel and veggies on top of some baby spinach made for a delicious and very filling dinner. Not bad for borrowing an idea for something uncooked and turning it into a big warm salad. I am curious about the directions for an uncooked flour free tortilla and hummus made from macadamia nuts. If I can borrow a dehydrator from someone I would give his carb free breads a try.

I have no idea what sort of wine to pair with something like this so I went with what I was in the mood for. Root:1 wines from Chile are some of my favorites. The Sauvignon Blanc is a tropical fruit salad of yum. And the Cabernet is full of red fruit and spice. It isn't super complex, it just makes for good drinking when you want a big bodied red that isn't going to make you think to hard about it. My only warning is, let this bad boy open up for an hour or so before drinking. Straight from the bottle it is too tight and will punch you in the uvula, its worth the wait, I promise.

Falafel Salad with Grilled Vegetables

1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped (I skipped this)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
8 sun-dried tomato halves packed in oil
3 tablespoons cilantro
1 clove garlic, coarsely shopped
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olives (I used black olives)
2 teaspoon oregano
Pinch cayenne
Pinch pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Process all ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly mixed. This may require adding additional oil or lemon juice in order to get a consistency that will allow itself to be well blended.

Form into small flat rounds and brown on both sides in an oiled pan over medium heat. They should be warmed throughout but not over cooked.

3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large zucchini, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 a medium red onion, sliced
1 fresh tomato, sliced

2 cups baby spinach or mixed greens

Combine oil, lemon juice, and salt in a large bag or a bowl, marinate all the vegetables, except for the spinach, for a couple of hours. If you're short on time brush marinade on on vegetables before cooking. Heat grill pan over medium high heat and place vegetables over heat in small enough batches to prevent over crowding. Cook vegetables to your preferred level off softness and set aside until all vegetables are finished grilling.

Cover bottom of individual salad bowls with baby spinach then cover with 1/4 of the grilled vegetables and falafel. Top with hummus or a bit of toasted sesame oil if you like.

Original recipe from The Raw Chef Blog.

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