I'm kind of embarrassed to admit how much queso I've consumed in the past week. It's staggering. I'm equal parts proud and disgusted by myself, but I have definitely come to the conclusion that I need to lighten things up quite a bit. Is it just me, or anytime you make a conscious decision to eat more vegetables, or salad or just healthier in general, all you want is major comfort food? Like the deep-fried kind?
Falafel is definitely comfort food to me. I love to eat falafel piled high with lots of other toppings - tomatoes, lettuce, sometimes even tzatziki sauce. And of course it's all wrapped up in a big, soft, warm pita. Ahhhhh.
Well, let me be clear and tell you that you won't think you're eating a falafel when you eat this salad. However, it's really really good in its own right. It's not so much meant to taste like a falafel, but to mimic some of the flavors. In the healthiest way possible, of course.
This chopped salad has chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, and lots of fresh herbs. It's dressed in a lemon-cumin-tahini dressing that is so good you'll want to eat it by the spoonful. And then it's tossed with some crispy baked pita chips to round the whole thing out.
This is a pretty substantial salad, and I served it on it's own for dinner one night. Especially for a vegetarian salad, this was surprisingly filling, and wouldn't you know? I didn't even crave a fried sandwich that night.
Deconstructed Falafel Salad
barely adapted from Weeknight Wonders
I prepped everything in advance, then at dinnertime I simply tossed it all together, making this one of the easiest and quickest dinners ever.
- 3 whole wheat pita pockets (each 6-8 inches in diameter)
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 2 medium lemons
- 3 Tbs Tahini
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups halved or quartered grape tomatoes
- 1 large English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 4 scallions
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut each pita into 2 rounds. Using 2 tablespoons total of the oil, lightly brush the pita rounds with the olive oil. Cut each round into 8 wedges, and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle very lightly with salt. Bake the pita triangles for about 8 minutes, or until they are lightly crisped and beginning to brown. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, juice the lemons into a large bowl (you need about 1/3 cup of juice). Add the tahini, the remaining tablespoon of oil, the cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Whisk well to combine.
To the bowl, add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, cilantro, mint, and parsley. Add the pita chips to the bowl, and gently toss to combine everything with the dressing. Serve immediately.