Falafel was the first thing I ever ate from a food truck. Picking up a snack, or even a full-blown meal from a food truck is pretty much a rite of passage for New Yorkers, and when it came time to stamp my card, I beelined straight for falafel in a wine-induced euphoria. It. Was. Amazing. Let me tell you, for as sketchy as some of those random stands on side streets in NYC seem, there are some real food gems hidden amongst them. Along with E. Coli and sewage rat, probably. Let’s not go there.
Now that I’ve ruined all your appetites, I’ll try and rev them back up again with a super-simple, super flavorful falafel recipe. I’m calling this a “deconstructed” falafel bowl, which is really just a fancy dumb way of saying it’s everything good that comes in a pita dumped into the bowl, without the pita so you don’t feel quite as guilty.
For the falafel, throw one can of rinsed chickpeas (about 1 1/2 cups), the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 2 tablespoons chopped garlic and 1 cup lightly packed fresh parsley into a food processor. Pulse on “grind” until the ingredients have turned mushy (but are still a bit chunky) and have combined well. Spoon out into a bowl, then add 1/4 cup flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder (this is also the time to add things like cumin or chili powder if you want a little kick).
Once you’re ready, form the falafel into flat disks with your hand and fry on low in a bit of extra virgin olive oil, leaving them to brown on each side about 2 minutes (but check them occasionally just to be sure!). Set them to drain on a piece of clean paper towel (ed note: they’re really delicious just like this, so be sure not to eat too many of them or you’ll have none left for your bowl!).
Now the fun part: bowl construction! Throw in some greens (I opted for baby kale), some veggies (I went with cucumbers, yellow pepper and heirloom tomatoes) and a bit of feta cheese. Top with your warm falafel and lemon tahini “dressing” (it’s really just one clove garlic, 1/2 cup tahini, 3/4 cup water and the juice of one lemon whisked together with some salt and pepper). Enjoy!