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Wednesday
May082013

BAKED HERB + PISTACHIO FALAFEL

We ate our last lunch of a quick trip to NYC at Carnegie Deli. There was a line outside, which I'm guessing is due to an Anthony Bourdain or Seinfield episode because I know there is better food in New York. My dad, as you'll gather from a few headnotes in our cookbook and snippets here, likes his food straight forward (although, I did bring raw chia date brownies for plane snacks and he LIKED them! Heavens to Betsy). A few days in New York for this man necessitates pretzels, pizza and a hot pastrami sandwich.

My dad was my date to the James Beard dinner in town - an event I attended hesitantly seeing this month is more travel heavy than average. Thanks to a few friends coaxing me, I knew I would regret it if I didn't make it happen - something I may get to experience once in a lifetime. We shopped around to find me a new dress, he found a bagel, I found a salad bar (and a dress!), we communicated mostly in sarcasm and jest, as my family does, and the day was really nice. That evening, I sat around a table of collegues from my publishing house, amid a room full of cookbook and journalism professionals. I was taking it in, but mostly just nervous, my legs shaking in high shoes I couldn't walk far in. I knew my odds were quite slim, but when you are the small fish in a big pond, the magnitude of the pond itself is enough to make your legs wobbly. Regardless of what is even happening in said pond, but you just swim anyway. Winners gave a little speech, think of a food version of the Acadamy Awards. It crossed my mind for a split second, what would I say if I did win? Every underdog has their chance, right? The people who build me up: My husband who had slipped a homemade card in my purse reminding me, albeit humorously, how proud he was, my mom checking in all day wanting the details, my sister responding to my dozens of picture texts helping me choose a dress, my dad who had made the trip across the country to go with me, and a complimentary and supportive publisher. I had encouraging notes and emails from long time friends and blog friends alike. You know the phrase moms say about raising children, "it takes a village"? I felt like I had my village cheering me on. You must listen to the village. Your own voice will question and doubt and make your legs wobbly, but your village has pom poms and megaphones and big red finger sponges telling you you're great. I am so thankful for my village.

A friend and I were emailing about cookbook business and she mentioned "the ubiquity of blogger cookbooks." While there is certainly a trend to it, I find that I garner a ton of wisdom and inspiration, both personally and food wise, from blogs. It is such a pleasure to see personal work all bound up in a pretty package. I am excited to be cooking out of the new book from Green Kitchen Stories, Vegetarian Everyday. It is every bit as wonderful as their site. Filled with super gorgeous vegetarian recipes, many vegan and gluten free. I am going to try their cauliflower pizza crust and dark danish rye bread next, and the homemade vegetable chorizo sounds so unique. I really like how light these falafel taste and feel in your tum as opposed to a breadcrumb-heavy, deep fried alternative. So glad I have leftovers.

I know you worked your buns off for this, David and Luise, and the book is absolutely lovely. Many congratulations to you! 

BAKED HERB + PISTACHIO FALAFEL // Makes about 20

Recipe barely adapted from Vegetarian Everyday by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl

David and Luise suggest a simple cashew nut dressing in their book which is a blend of soaked cashews, oil, lemon juice, and salt. I had some tahini sauce to use up, so I went that route instead. Just use half the amount of water called for. A fresh tzatziki would be refreshing here too. The original recipe uses 2 cups pistachios, I scaled it down a bit due to preference which is why mine yields a bit less than thiers. Your call. Don't be shy with the herbs, these falafels can take it. 

  • 12 sprigs of mint
  • 12 sprigs of parsley or cilantro
  • 1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 2 cups chickpeas, cooked or canned
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 T. buckwheat flour (or another flour of choice)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • hearty pinch of salt 
  • / tomato chili salsa /
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (I used baby tomatoes)
  • 1/2 a small red chile, seeded and finely chopped (one jalepeno works)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. fresh chopped oregano
  • pinch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • collard leaves, cabbage or pita bread for serving
  • fresh herbs for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375'. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or oiled foil. 

Pulse the herbs in a food processor. Add the pistachio nuts and pulse again to chop. Add the chickpeas, garlic, onion, oil, cumin, flour and baking soda and blend for thirty seconds, scraping down sides when necessary. You want the mixture a bit rough. 

Using your hands, form 20 small round falafels. Place them on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake them for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned. 

Stir all tomato chili salsa ingredients together in another bowl. Allow ingredients to sit for flavors to blend. 

Make your wraps with the collard, cabbage or pita with a generous spread of the sauce and the tomato chili salsa. Falafels will keep for about a week covered in the fridge. 

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Reader Comments (75)

That's so wonderful that your dad went with you. The perfect date!

These falafel look WONDERFUL---such beautiful and refreshing flavors.

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I think I'll be finding a way to squeeze this onto my meal plan next week, it looks delicious :).

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I love love love the idea of baked falafel The herbs sound (and look) like great add-ons, can't wait to try these out!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Beautiful ! And it looks so delicious !

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChantall

I've been meaning to try this recipe ever since my copy of David and Luise's book arrived and, having seen this, I'm pretty sure there on the list to make this weekend. So vibrant and delicious.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

Sara, I love LOVE the mental image of your village having big red finger sponges and cheering you on, even when you doubt yourself and your legs are wobbly. It is seriously bringing tears to my eyes, such a beautiful sentiment. You are a talented writer as well as a talented chef! Hey, have you seen that Brene Brown TED talk, I think it is called "On Vulnerability?" You probably have, it has been going around, but it kind of has that same "believing in yourself even when your legs are wobbly" boost of confidence to it. :)

Congratulations on your nomination! That is a HUGE honor!!!! I cannot even imagine a pond in which you would count as a small fish though. This must be like the all-star, dream team best foodie pond EVER in the history of humanity? :)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

oh I loved this post- thanks for the reminder about our village of cheerleaders :)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSimply Life

I volunteer for town council of your village. Hugh can be mayor. ;)

xo, and wowza, we'll be making these.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertara

"Holds up red finger sponge" Yes, the magnitude of the pond is great. But sometimes you just have to leisurely swim and accept the grandness of it, you know? I think you do, lady.

Also, wink wink nudge nudge on the ubiquity comment. I am with you on sincerely appreciating a hold-in-your-hands creative effort from people you already admire in an online sense. Frequency in blog-y books sure, that's totally a thing. But when they're great, they are SO great (like ahem, yours). Cannot wait to pick up the GKS book. This looks so delicious. Pistachios win. Always.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

This looks so amazing! And bonus, it uses up all the herbs from my CSA that I have no idea what to do with.

Your description of the James Beard night is beautiful, charming and so honest. I hope you were able to enjoy and savor those moments.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Death just became me, like, 5 times in a row.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBev Weidner

Death just became me, like, 5 times in a row.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBev Weidner

This looks fantastic! I love that you included pistachio, and the salsa sounds amazing, too! I'll have to add this to my menu!

Your honesty is awesome and I feel like this is what food bloggers are adding to the cookbook world. A bit if realness and humility, if that makes sense? I can't wait to see the GKS cookbook, I just know it must be super stunning. Huge congrats on your nomination and stoked to hear you had a great time in NY, wobbly legs and all :-) xx

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmma Galloway

Sara, this recipe is a DELIGHT to the eyes and the post SO honest...Hugh, the photos are as usual stunning.Over in this corner, I have a red finger waving, pom poms, flags, a band and more - still cheering you on since I first met those cute wobbly legs long ago. With love from one of the village moms and a very old cheerleader who has always believed in you, Can't wait to try this YUUUMMM! KP xo

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKris Patton

Congrats again on your nomination, Sara. I know I'd be super shaky and working up a sweat mustache (awkward!) if I found myself at such an event. I sure love food bloggers and their books and can't wait to get my hands on a copy of David and Luise's book. This recipe looks stellar.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathryne

Congrats again on your nomination, Sara. I know I'd be super shaky and working up a sweat mustache (awkward!) if I found myself at such an event. I sure love food bloggers and their books and can't wait to get my hands on a copy of David and Luise's book. This recipe looks stellar.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathryne

Just gorgeous----can't wait to try them.

Looks delicious.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Lovely. You've updated a classic dish to make it light and seasonal. I can't wait to try this! And I love the photos, especially the ones of the herbs. Thank you for this. It's a great way to start the weekend.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDena

Lovely. You've updated a classic dish to make it light and seasonal. I can't wait to try this! And I love the photos, especially the ones of the herbs. Thank you for this. It's a great way to start the weekend.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDena

Such a beautiful post and a wonderful recipe I'm dying to try!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAurora

These looks fantastic! My boyfriend emailed me the recipe as soon as he saw it and said he's making them tomorrow. Recipes aside, reading your words is always a pleasure, and Hugh's photos, oh my, unbelievably stunning.
Tomorrow I'm making your cocoa layer cake with blackberries for my birthday, I'm sure it'll be a hit!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebeca

I cannot wait to make these!!!! How fitting for my current obsession with a good hummus pairing... Lovely pictures, recollections, words, thoughts, recipes.. Thank you and Congratulations on all of your success!!! Your cookbook sits proudly on my kitchen shelf :)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShelby

Sara, thank for sharing! I love the fresh ingredients and colorful flair with which you always cook. You're honoring approach of other food bloggers is noteworthy. It's so lovely to come across such a humble, yet gifted girl like you. Thank you.

I'm all over this! Falafel is basically the love of my life except that I hate the mess that deep-frying creates. I must make this ASAP!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMallory

Oh it looks so tasty!!!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStella

How good does this look? Healthy and sounds delicious too! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichard P

It's funny how we view ourselves vs. how others view us...I never thought of you as the underdog! I kept checking the site and Twitter to see if you'd won, because I wasn't just cheering for you, I wholeheartedly believe that you deserved to be up at that podium. In any case, I agree with you that there is a 'trend' of blogger cookbooks, but....who cares? The people writing them are incredibly talented, inspirational, and every bit as deserving. In fact many of my go-to cookbooks are written by...you guess it, bloggers! This looks like another beautiful cookbook! xo

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKasey

I became slightly obsessed with falafel after eating it in mass amounts while in Ireland (it was the only thing I could find at a rest stop suitable for me), and I cannot wait to try this recipe. Love the idea of wrapping them in greens instead of heavy pitas because that means I'll have more room for falafel ;)

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAshlae

I just finished a book (not a cookbook, it's about getting started sewing) and I just have to say you are so right! I never knew why authors wrote pages of heartfelt acknowledgements before, but now I sure do. Without my village, I never would have gotten this together, or believed in it enough to hit the "publish" button. Thank goodness for them!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTasha

What a lovely presentation! I like home-made falafels a lot but never tried with pistachio. Is the pistachio taste intense (which would be great)?
I did not not know yet the blog and book you are linking to. Thanks for the inspiration!

These look great! With such lovely fresh ingredients in them I bet they taste as vibrant and fresh as they look. By the way... sometimes Dad's make the best dates!

May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFern

waving red + white Canadian pom-poms over here!!! these falafels are sure to make it on our menu this week.

May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

They look great! I've never thought to bake falafel which makes them healthier, also being allergic to onions and wheat reading your blog post made me realise I can improvise with loads of other ingredients anyway! Thanks!

May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristianne

These look incredibly delicious. And I have to say, congratulations again on your nomination. I have a feeling it won't be the last... ;)

May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJade Sheldon

as usual, beautiful recipe and beautiful photos. i am very excited to try this one as it has so many lovely ingredients AND i can use up some of that buckwheat flour i bought and have been staring at questioningly! thank you for sharing.

May 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertina

I can't even take it! This looks AMAZING! I'll have to try it as soon as possible! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Just made these, and I have to say, they are amazing!!!!
Thank you so much for this delicious and incredible recipe!

May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlixe

Wow, this looks incredible. Lovely handiwork!

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthecitygourmand

Absolutely brilliant! Such a lovely twist on falafel... I was so excited to meet David and Louise recently at a book signing in London! They're so inspiring, as are you and Hugh. Thanks for sharing! I love it when my favourite food bloggers overlap.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIrina @ wandercrush

I've made the version on the GSK blog and it's so delicious. Love your adaptation - cheers to baked falafel, still delicious but so much healthier!

May 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf

Looks so delicious.

May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNuno

I love pistachios, but I'm allergic to tomatoes. I'll be be making this with zucchin instead of tomatoes. Thanks for the idea!

I love your blog, including the beautiful photography!

Oh man. I LOVE that you went with your Dad. So awesome and something I'm sure neither of you will forget. He sounds a bit like my dad who hides cookies in his car because his girlfriend (my folks are divorced) won't allow sugar in the house. He sneaks out for sandwiches, too. It kills me. Anyway, I was thinking of you that night. Such a big, big deal and so glad you got to share it with family. xox

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMegan Gordon

Just made this for dinner, loved by all. I also now have enough for lunch tomorrow. Thank you!!

May 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Hi! amazing falafel! my husband is allergic to garbanzo beans, do you think we can substitute them with anything else? for example: cannelini beans or lentils. i dont know! i would love to make these for him

May 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErika Jimenez

@Erika - yes! I would try lentils, a firmer type like French or black.

May 15, 2013 | Registered CommenterSara

I made these for dinner the other night and wow-seriously one of the best falafel recipes I have ever tried! The 1 cup of pistachios was perfect, made them hold together really nicely without overwhelming the other flavours.That together with the spicy tomato salsa really made a very healthy and relatively easy meal to prepare. And yes, the leftovers were perfect for work the next day. Thanks

May 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnita

What a beautiful recipe. I was already thinking about getting this cookbook and now I am convinced. Must go buy it now! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

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