Falafel Fattoush Middle Eastern Salad Recipe
Molly Yeh, star of the TV show 'Girl Meets Farm,' cookbook author, and food blogger, shares her twist on the food that harks back to her roots
When I first moved from Brooklyn to the North Dakota–Minnesota border, where my husband is a farmer, I felt a little out of place. What helped me get to know my new community was learning about its food culture. (P.S. The Middle Eastern Diet Might Be the New Mediterranean Diet)
One dish, in particular, falafel fattoush—a coming together of flavors that are new to this area and others that have been grown here for generations—really resonated with me. I’ve loved falafel all my life, first as a Chinese Jewish kid in Chicago, then when I was in college in New York City, my friends and I would have Food Stand Friday and go to the falafel cart on the corner of 65th and Broadway for lunch. When my husband and I started dating, we’d do Falafel Mondays.
Once we got to the farm, I had the urge to counteract the fried-ness of the falafel with fresh vegetables, so I created a version that is an ode to the amazing summer garden we’re so lucky to have. We get the best tomatoes and so many cucumbers. I always try to grow rainbow radishes, which make my salad even prettier, and mint, which adds a delightful brightness. And you can’t have falafel without pita, so that’s where croutons come in. (Related: 7 Middle Eastern Ingredients to Start Cooking With)
I really adore the textures of this dish. There are so many levels of crunch: the snappy vegetables, the crisp falafel shell, and the toasty pita croutons that stay a little chewy on the inside. It all makes magic when bound together by a nutty, creamy tahini dressing.
It’s the perfect casual dinner for my husband and me—we like to eat it out of big bowls while watching Seinfeld—and it always leaves me feeling satisfied and happy.
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for 10 hours or overnight and drained
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves with stems, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves with stems, roughly chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Black pepper
- A pinch of crushed red pepper 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Olive oil or flavorless oil, for frying
- Olive oil or flavorless oil, for frying
- 3 day-old pitas, chopped or ripped into 1- to 2-inch pieces
- Kosher salt
- 6 lightly packed cups spinach
- 1/2 English cucumber or 3 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced 2 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped Black pepper
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon sumac
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
To make the falafel:
- Toast coriander seeds and cumin seeds in skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant, then coarsely grind in a spice grinder.
- In a food processor, combine cumin, coriander, soaked chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, a few turns of black pepper, crushed red pepper, flour, and lemon juice and pulse quickly, 80 to 100 times, until mixture is combined, but still slightly grainy.
- In a large skillet, heat 1/4-inch oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Fry a 1-tablespoon test patty until golden and then taste it. Adjust seasonings in mixture as desired.
- Form balls of falafel mixture, 3 tablespoons each, packing firmly and flattening slightly. Fry on all sides until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel.
To make salad, dressing, and serve:
- In a skillet, heat 1/4-inch of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Fry pita pieces until lightly browned, 30 to 60 seconds on each side. Transfer to a paper towel and immediately sprinkle lightly with salt.
- In a large bowl, combine pita chips with spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, radishes, and mint leaves. Season with a few turns of black pepper and salt to taste.
- To make dressing: In a bowl, whisk together tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic, sumac, and salt, stirring until thickened.
- Drizzle half of the dressing over salad, toss, top with the falafel, and serve with remaining dressing.
Recipe from MOLLY ON THE RANGE Copyright © 2016 by Molly Yeh. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Molly Yeh. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Shape Magazine, June 2019 issue