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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Mashed Potato Casserole

A cheesy, creamy, baked mashed potato casserole that’s perfect for ANY holiday or just a special meal with family and friends. 🙂

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

Sometimes it’s the simplest recipes that are the best, aren’t they? My family has long tried to find the best cheesy potato recipe because everyone loves them. My sister is pretty much the biggest cheesy potato fan I know, and my husband is pretty much the biggest mashed potato fan I know, so this is a dish to please them both!

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

Regular ‘ole mashed potatoes aren’t my favorite Thanksgiving side dish of all time, but add in a bunch of cheddar and parmesan, and you make this girl veryyy happy! All that cheese + some sour cream or greek yogurt jazz up plain mashed potatoes, but it’s the baking of them that take this dish over the edge! I don’t know what it is about baking dishes but that just adds an extra layer of deliciousness to the final product… especially when there’s cheese involved. Think about stovetop mac & cheese vs. baked mac & cheese. I’m right, aren’t I? There’s just no competition! Baked wins every single day. 🙂

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

I’ll admit that some may take issues with this dish because it’s not traditional enough… and there isn’t even any butter in it [gasp!]. But all the cheese and sour cream sure makes up for it. One of the best parts about this creamy ‘n cheesy side dish is that you can make it ahead AND it reheats beautifully in the microwave. Regular mashed potatoes can get kinda weird after the microwave but these absolutely do not! Have I convinced you to make them yet?!? I sure hope so, because they’re pretty much the tastiest version of mashed potatoes I’ve ever enjoyed and I bet you will too!

one year ago: Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups
two years ago: Chipotle-Cilantro Mashed Potatoes

three years ago: Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese
four years ago: Crockpot Saucy Italian Chicken
five years ago: Layered Taco Dip

Mashed Potato Casserole

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 60 minutes
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from The Kitchn

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 8 ounces sour cream or plain yogurt [regular or greek]
  • 1/2 cup half and half or milk
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 large shallots, minced – about 1/2 cup
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place potatoes in a large stock pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender, when a fork easily pierces through. Drain and return potatoes to pot.

Off heat, add sour cream and half and half to potatoes, then stir to combine. Use a potato masher to smash until desired texture is achieved. Stir in cheddar, shallots, and pepper. [If desired, shallots could be sauteed in butter or olive oil for a few minutes to soften.]

Transfer potatoes to a medium baking dish – a 10 inch round, 8×8 square, or the like, at least 2.5 quarts. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with Parmesan and extra freshly ground black pepper, and broil for about 2 minutes until golden brown.

Notes:

Dish can be prepared up until the baking step up to 24 hours in advance. Let dish come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before baking.

If desired, shallots could be sauteed in butter or olive oil for a few minutes to soften before adding to the potatoes. The flavor was fine when raw, but even though they were minced small, we found them a little crunchy, especially the ones that were left on the top of the dish.

 

Red Cabbage, Raisin, and Apple Slaw

This easy red cabbage slaw is sweet and crunchy, bursting with raisins, apples, and carrots. It’s creamy and tangy so everyone will love it!

Red Cabbage, Raisin, and Apple Slaw | thepajamachef.comI don’t really like the word “slaw.” Or the words “cole slaw.” It just sounds… unappetizing to me. But when you need a cold veggie side dish for summer picnics or barbecue pork, or just a normal weeknight dinner, it’s just really the best choice. You can make it ahead and it’s good in the fridge for up to a week too! And this slaw [shudder!] tastes really, really, really good. So that helps too. 🙂 I’m so picky about cole slaw, besides the name. The taste is super important to me. I don’t like it to be too creamy [like my dad prefers] or too vinegary… but rather, something in the middle. Like this recipe! The dressing for this red cabbage based slaw is creamy AND tangy. I used mayo, Greek yogurt, and sour cream for optimal creaminess along with a hint of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice for tang. Perfect!

Red Cabbage, Raisin, and Apple Slaw | thepajamachef.comBesides the taste of the dressing, a great slaw to me has to have some sweet elements. The more the merrier, I think! This slaw also features raisins and apples and carrots for tons of sweetness. The perfect blend. 🙂 My slaw isn’t quite as pretty as traditional cole slaws because the holes of my circa-1980 food processor are kinda wonky, so if you take the time to slice a head of cabbage your slaw will look MUCH better than mine. Take a look at the original recipe and you’ll see what I mean. But looks aside, this slaw is fantastic and is sure to be a staple in my home for many summers to come. Enjoy! Happy Labor Day weekend!

one year ago: Healthy Crumb Topped Zucchini Bread
two years ago: Pumpkin Coconut Soup
three years ago: Chocolate Mousse

four years ago: Pumpkin Granola
five years ago: The BESTEST Pizza Sauce Ever + A Pizza How-To

Red Cabbage, Raisin, and Apple Slaw

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 10 minutes
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slightly adapted from Budget Bytes

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup mayonaise
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small head purple cabbage [about 1.5 pounds]
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, cored
  • 1/2 cup raisins [I used a mix of regular and golden]

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, yogurt, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, and pepper for the dressing. Set aside.

Use a food processor or a sharp knife to shred the cabbage into thin strips and place in a large bowl. Grate carrots and apple, then toss with cabbage. Pour dressing over vegetables, then gently toss until combined.

Slaw is best within the first day or so, but lasts in the fridge up to one week.

 

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
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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!