Deconstructed Falafel Bowls

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights. 

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights.

Spring is here! My birthday was yesterday, and #BabyVolde’s is next week. He’ll be ONE on Friday. I can hardly believe it. Last weekend we celebrated his birthday and his baptism. Almost our entire family came down for the occasion. It was a whirlwind weekend (and unfortunately it rained the whole time) but it was so fun.

Our little family

One of the best parts of spring (aside from the great running weather) is all the fresh produce at the grocery store! It’s almost farmer’s market season too. I can’t wait. I foresee quite a few lighter meals in our future, like these deconstructed falafel bowls. Regular falafel, while delicious, are a little too intense for weeknight dinners at my house. All that shaping and frying/baking. Noooo thanks! BUT if you just roast the chickpeas in the oven and layer them up with some grains, a tasty Mediterranean salsa bursting with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, and herbs, and drizzle a tangy tzatziki yogurt sauce over top, suddenly falafels on a random Wednesday night is doable. Even if you have a baby crawling all over the kitchen, getting into evvvvvvverything.

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights.

Though they take about 45 minutes to put together, most of that time is hands-off, waiting for the chickpeas to get all crispy in the oven. To make this meal faster, you can prepare the grain base (I used bulgur but anything goes–couscous, quinoa, rice, etc.) and tzatziki yogurt sauce ahead of time. Then, when the chickpeas are cooking you can throw the Mediterranean salsa together in a hurry… and presto! Dinner is served. 🙂 We loved all the textures/flavors in this dish, as well as the temperature contrast between the hot, smoky chickpeas and the cool, creamy tzatziki sauce. This is a great one dish meal that has definitely earned a spot on my spring/summer dinner rotation. Next time, I’ll be sure to pick up some pita bread and hummus to enjoy on the side. Happy Friday!

one year ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Oreo Dream
two years ago: Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers
three years ago: Easy Homemade New York Bagels
four years ago: Kale Fried Rice
five years ago: Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup
six years ago: Mexican Pizza

Deconstructed Falafel Bowls

  • Servings: 3
  • Time: 45 minutes
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adapted from Delish Knowledge; Tzatziki from my blog

  • 1 – 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted very dry with towel
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup uncooked bulgur, couscous or other grain/grain susbtitute of choice

for the Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and grated, pressed dry with a clean dish towel
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill (or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped])
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for the Mediterranean salsa

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Begin by making the chickpeas. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the chickpeas–they should be very dry–with olive oil, then spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cook for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and season with cayenne, cumin, and paprika.

While chickpeas are cooking, prepare grain according to package directions. I made bulgur but couscous, quinoa, farro, or even rice would be great choices! Basically, anything goes here.

Next, make tzatziki. In a small bowl, stir together greek yogurt with grated cucumber, then fold in dill. Season with pepper and salt to taste. If desired, add mayonnaise. It adds a little extra tang that I love, but it can be omitted. Cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend. Tzatziki can be made the day before if desired.

Finally, make the Mediterranean salsa. Stir together tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion in a medium bowl. Gently fold in parsley and mint, then season with a bit of pepper. Let rest while chickpeas finish cooking.

 

When ready to serve, place bulgur in individual bowls. Top with chickpeas, Medterranean salsa, and a drizzle of tzatziki. Enjoy!

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SRC: Tunisian Chickpea Salad

This easy Tunisian-inspired chickpea salad is wonderfully flavorful. In fall and winter, your spices and dried herbs will amaze you… and in the summer, this salad comes alive with fresh herbs. Great year-round dish!

Tunisian Chickpea Salad... an easy, delicious side dish! #secretrecipeclub #src via thepajamachef.com

For years I thought I didn’t like chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans. My dad [who admittedly isn’t the biggest fan of vegetables] would top his salad bar salads at Pizza Hut with lots of those cream-colored, round beans while I looked on with a disgusted look on my face. They looked odd, beans weren’t something I ever ate, they had a weird name, and why would you put beans on a salad anyways?!? Sometime along the way I discovered hummus, and with it… learned that chickpeas were the star of that great show so I gave the chickpeas a good ‘ole second [or fiftieth] chance. And now I can’t get enough of them.

Chickpea burgers, chickpea salad, roasted chickpeas… I love it all. So when I saw this Tunisian Chickpea Salad on simply.food, a vegetarian food blog run by the lovely Nayna, I pretty much immediately knew I was making it for the Secret Recipe Club this month. Nanya has so many great recipes on her blog though, so it was a tough decision between this chickpea salad and Pumpkin Rice, Sweet Rice, or Spicy Stuffed Tunisian Bread. Nayna’s mission with her blog is to create simple, home-cooked recipes that are sensational and mouth-watering. She even has a couple of cookbooks available, so she must be doing something right!

Tunisian Chickpea Salad... an easy, delicious side dish! #secretrecipeclub #src via thepajamachef.com

Ben and I absolutely loved this light and refreshing chickpea salad. I made it on a Saturday afternoon and we enjoyed bowls of it during football watching… a little appetizer-precursor to our homemade corndog mini muffins. 🙂 Not exactly two foods that go side-by-side, but two delicious dishes nonetheless. This salad was incredibly flavorful–full of aromatic herbs like coriander and mint along with some staples like garlic powder [I think fresh would be too potent], crushed red pepper, green peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes. I used dried herbs because it’s November, but in the summer this would be a great way to use all the herbs I grow in the backyard! I do have to say though, part of the reason I was SO into making this salad was because this year I actually dried all my leftover herbs from my garden instead of letting them die with the first hard frost. So now I have a huge mason jar filled with dried mint. I forsee a lot of tea… and now this salad[!!!] in my future! I am so excited.

Tunisian Chickpea Salad... an easy, delicious side dish! #secretrecipeclub #src via thepajamachef.com

This awesome chickpea salad gets more enticing the longer it sits, but it doesn’t make a huge batch so I don’t think it’ll last very long anywhere! Next time I make it, you better believe I’ll make a double batch. Nayna recommends serving it with pita bread which I will DEFINITELY try too! Enjoy! Thanks, Nayna for a great recipe!

one year ago: Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin
two years ago: Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls
three years ago: Pork, Apple, and Ginger Stir Fry
four years ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Bars
five years ago: Lime-Soy Chicken

Tunisian Chickpea Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40 minutes
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from simply.food

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped – optional
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

In a medium bowl, stir together chickpeas, tomatoes, green pepper, and shallot. Pour vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice on top, then stir again. Sprinkle with coriander, crushed red pepper, mint, and garlic and gently stir. Taste and add salt or pepper if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let flavors meld, then serve chilled.


Please check out all the other great recipes made for the SRC this month at the link below! Happy Monday! 🙂

Indian-Style Chicken Curry with Chickpeas and Raisins over Spiced Couscous #bookclubcookbookCC

Fragrant, rich chicken and chickpea curry incorporates great flavors to make an amazing dish! Serve it over spiced couscous for a special treat. 

Indian-Style Chicken Curry with Chickpeas and Raisins over Spiced Couscous | thepajamachef.com #thebookclubcookbookCC

Happy Friday! I joined a new blogging group… the Book Club Cookbook Cooking Crew. And guess what! YOU can join us. Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla organized a group of bloggers to read through some great books and make some great recipes inspired by them. We are using The Book Club Cookbook as our guide and inspiration… you can read more about the club on her blog, but here’s the gist. Each month, one blogger serves as hostess to choose a book and a recipe from the cookbook. From there, we can make the chosen recipes OR draw inspiration from the selected book to create a recipe. Camilla is our July hostess and she chose Jhumpa Lahir’s Interpreter of Maladies for our book of the month, and invited us to make curry and lassis with her. At the end of the month, you can win a copy of the cookbook so you can follow along! Go to Camilla’s blog to enter now! 🙂

On with the recipe though! Have you ever heard of Jhumpa Lahir’s Interpreter of Maladies? I had not, and was surprised when I picked up a copy at my local library. It’s actually a collection of short stories centering on the themes of family, home, marriage, belonging, and more. Many take place in America, but I thought some of the most interesting stories were set in India. You don’t think about adaptations to new life in your own country… this book is just lovely! The first and last stories were my favorites, but they are all good. Have you read this book before? If not, you should pick it up! I highly recommend it.

Food is an integral part to all of the stories, and nearly each one mentioned curry! An Indian classic for sure, with as many variations as there are people. One of the recipes Camilla chose for us to make this month was a hard boiled egg curry. It sounds SO interesting. But Ben hates hard boiled eggs with a passion, so that’s a no go for us [and I don’t think I could eat a whole batch alone]. Instead, chicken curry it is!

Indian-Style Chicken Curry with Chickpeas and Raisins over Spiced Couscous | thepajamachef.com #thebookclubcookbookCC

This is one of my very favorite curry recipes, and actually is the one that made me love Indian food! Ben and I have made this recipe a handful time over the past few years… it is absolutely delightful each time! Every bite is rich and flavorful, and your kitchen will smell absolutely wonderful while you’re cooking. Ginger! Garlic! Garam masala! Mmm, mmm, mmm. The tomato and coconut based curry sauce is fabulous over the chicken and chickpeas and plump, juicy raisins… and the flavors are magnified since it’s not just served over regular ‘ole rice, but instead over a spiced couscous that is just bursting with more raisins and rich spices. Yes, it’s a lengthy recipe with quite a few ingredients… BUT it is oh-so-good. A great dish for company, a great dish to make on a relaxing night at home. It’s just as fantastic as anything you could get at a restaurant, but easy to make at home with accessible ingredients too. Make it this weekend! 🙂 Enjoy!

Indian Spiced Peas | thepajamachef.com

And oh! If you’re looking for an easy side dish to serve with this, try these easy Indian-spiced peas. No real recipe… just mix together a teaspoon or two of coconut oil, a 10 ounce bag of frozen peas, and a teaspoon each of curry powder and garam masala in a skillet. Cook over low heat until hot, then mix in a about a 1/4 cup of coconut flakes. Ahhhmazing! Next time I might toast the coconut to make it even better. Yum!

one year ago: Ginger Ice Cream
two years ago: Mom’s Potato Salad

three years ago: Mediterranean Feta Dip
four years ago: Lemon Crinkle Cookies
five years ago: Big Thumbs Up Bite Size Soft Pretzels –> yes! my blog is FIVE! 🙂

Indian-Style Chicken Curry with Chickpeas and Raisins over Spiced Couscous

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Print

from Jenna’s Everything Blog – go to either post for great step by step photos if that’s your thing!

Ingredients:

for curry

  • 2 tablespoons curry powder [I used a sweet curry powder]
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 serrano chili, minced – remove seeds to reduce heat… or not, your call
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 – 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts [I’ve also used chicken thighs]
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

for couscous

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend [I forget what size it is…about 18 or 20 ounces I think] — can also substitute 1 pound Israeli couscous plus a couple tablespoons quinoa and orzo — or an equivalent amount of rice [I’ve made it all three ways!!]

Directions:

Set a small skillet over medium heat. Pour in curry powder and garam masala, then stir constantly for about 1-2 minutes to toast spices, until fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.

In a Dutch oven or other large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. When hot, add onions and season with salt. Stirring occasionally, cook for about 15 minutes until onions are browned and caramelized. If you have you more time, cook the onions on medium-low heat for a longer amount of time to caramelize them more. But either way works!

After onions are cooked to your liking, add garlic, ginger, and chili pepper. Stir and cook for about a minute, then add in toasted spices and tomato paste. Pour in the chicken broth and crushed tomatoes, stirring to mix everything up. Add chickpeas, chicken, and raisins. Make sure the chicken is submerged as much as possible. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until chicken is just about done.

Meanwhile, prepare couscous while chicken is cooking.

In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until soft. Stir in garam masala, cooking for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add chicken broth, butter, and raisins. Stir and bring to a boil. Add couscous [or other grain], bring to a boil again, and cook for about 10-15 minutes until fully cooked. Liquid should be absorbed but exact time depends on what grains you use. Season to taste with salt or additional garam masala then set aside to serve with curry.

When chicken is fully cooked, remove to cutting board and chop it up into bite-sized pieces. If the chicken isn’t fully cooked, it will finish cooking in the sauce.

Return chicken to pot, then stir in coconut milk and peas [if using]. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add in half of the cilantro.

Serve curry over couscous, with additional cilantro on top. Enjoy!

SRC: Green Goddess Dressing

A creamy, tangy dressing filled with lots of fresh herbs and onions… green goddess dressing is divine! 

Hello, friends! What a week! We just moved and are getting settled in our new home. But I couldn’t miss out on the Secret Recipe Club this month so I made my recipe wayyy in advance. So unlike me. 🙂 This month I was given Jenna’s blog, The Painted Apron. Jenna is a lovely woman who gets to divide her time between Birmingham and Orange Beach, Alabama. She loves her family [just browse her blog for adorable grandkid photos! Awww.], football, and hospitality. My husband was very sad to learn that she’s an Alabama fan and wants to say GO BUCKS! OH! He’s a major Ohio State fan and is still basking in the glow of Big Ten > SEC victory in the National Championship last January.

Green Goddess Dressing | thepajamachef.com #src #salad

All that aside, it was so fun to check out Jenna’s blog this month. Some of the recipes that caught my eye included: Creamy Corn Dip, Cranberry Salsa [must make at Christmas!], Cinnamon Roll & Sausage Breakfast Pudding [this would be an awesome dish to make while on vacation… we always stay in condos so low-prep recipes are great!], Apple Pear and Walnut Gorgonzola Galette, and Savory Apple Pie Quesadilla. I must have been in a fall mood when I browsed her blog, but I eventually settled on this great salad dressing. I know I’ll be able to enjoy it all summer long!

Green Goddess Dressing | thepajamachef.com #src #salad

I’ve heard of Green Goddess Dressing before, but don’t really think I’ve ever had it before. Apparently it was concocted in the 1920s in San Francisco as part of a movie celebration. Fun! Truly, it reminds me of a more sophisticated version of ranch dressing. Creamy, herby, and tangy, this dressing is a fun creamy topping for salad. Traditionally, this dressing is made with sour cream and mayonnaise, but this time I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream because I had it on hand. We have enjoyed this dressing for the past two weeks on any and every salad we can find… but the first time, it was fabulous on a salad made up of red leaf lettuce, sauteed asparagus, sliced radishes, chickpeas, crumbled feta, and sliced hard boiled eggs. No matter how you serve it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did! Thanks, Jenna, for a great recipe. 🙂

one year ago: Tropical Cake Mix Cookies
two years ago: Sweet Potato and Kale Egg Bake
three years ago: Reese’s Blondie Pie
four years ago: Sweet Potato Waffles

Green Goddess Dressing

  • Servings: 1.5 cups
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Print

from The Painted Apron

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil [or basil paste from Gourmet Garden]
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley [or parsley paste from Gourmet Garden]
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice [from about 2 lemons]
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • crudites or salad, for serving

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a jar or small bowl, then process with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve as a dressing or dip. I enjoyed my dressing with this Asparagus and Chickpea Salad from A Nutritionist Eats [ingredients: red or butter lettuce, sauteed asparagus, sliced radishes, chickpeas, crumbled feta, and sliced hard boiled eggs].

Dressing keeps well in the fridge for about a week. Enjoy!


Check out all the other delicious recipes made by my friends in the Secret Recipe Club this month!

Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers

These chickpea burgers are amped up with bacon and Sriracha, making them a fabulous addition to your burger repertoire!

Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers | thepajamachef.comAre you scared of veggie burgers? If so, no shame necessary here… these aren’t TRUE veggie burgers! I say they’re close enough though. Legit vegetarians can use facon instead of bacon to make these tasty treats, and the rest of us can use the good stuff. 🙂 I have a long history with veggie burgers, though I am most certainly not a true vegetarian [though I do threaten to become one from time to time, just to agitate my husband]. Back in the day, I’d love to have some packaged veggie burgers or black bean burgers in the freezer at all times for an effortless, tasty dinner. But in recent years, I’ve made my own. I’ve tried alot of recipes online and have invented some of my own, with mixed results. While I’ve seen some highs in this veggie burger quest, I’ve also seen some lows. Some really, really deep lows. Ben would agree that the lowest point of them all was a sweet potato burger that I [secretly] hated but pretended I liked so I could convince him to eat them. What can I say? The recipe made a bunch and I HATE food waste. Oops.

Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers | thepajamachef.comI doubt you’ll have to waste any of these burgers though. They are good. SO good in fact, that you may not want to share them. I certainly didn’t. The burger itself is made out of chickpeas, so they’re kind of reminiscent of falafel, except with a spicy, meaty twist. They’re chewy and hearty, just as a burger should be. If spice isn’t your thing, omit the sriracha and things should be justtt fine. If you like spice, I would think some red pepper flakes or jalapenos might make a tasty addition. I like some spice, but not a ton, so I was happy with the recipe as written.

Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers | thepajamachef.comAs you can see from the above photo, I’m a ketchup-lover and I don’t care who knows it. I don’t style my food in ways that I wouldn’t eat it, and the naked bun looked plain so I added my condiments. 🙂 The original recipe suggested serving these burgers with a roasted garlic yogurt sauce [YUM], arugla, and red onions, all of which sounded amazing. But I used what I had, which was [a giant piece of] lettuce and ketchup. No matter how you serve these burgers, they are fab. I highly suggest you make them asap! Enjoy friends!

one year ago: Zin-Zen Chicken
two years ago: Guacamole Salsa
three years ago: Ham & Cheese Baked Pasta
four years ago: Oreo Truffles

Spicy Bacon Chickpea Burgers

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 50 minutes
  • Print

from Running to the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices thick cut bacon [or 4 slices of regular bacon]
  • 3 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed [from 2 – 15 ounce cans]
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 inch thick slice of onion [or a few green onions if you want a milder onion taste]
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  •  1/2-1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • buns, optional
  • toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, ketchup, Sriracha, honey mustard, etc.

Directions:

In a large skillet, fry bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Place bacon on a paper towel to drain, and reserve bacon grease in the skillet. When bacon is cool, chop into small pieces.

Next, place half of the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until roughly chopped. Remove to a large bowl.

Add remaining chickpeas, garlic, onion, sesame seeds, Sriracha, cornmeal, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and egg to the food processor. Process until smooth, then transfer to the bowl.

Stir chickpeas, chickpea mixture, and mayo together. Fold in bacon.

Form mixture into 8 patties, about 1/3 cup each. You can use a scoop or your wet, clean hands. Place on a lined baking sheet and cover, then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat skillet with reserved bacon grease over medium-high heat. When hot, cook for 3-4 minutes per side until crispy and golden brown.

Serve on a bun with desired burger toppings, or serve fritter-style with a dipping sauce [honey mustard, mayo + ketchup + Sriracha, garlic yogurt sauce, etc.].