These Falafel Bowls Will Satisfy Your Mediterranean Craving
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and health. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Got a craving for Mediterranean? These falafel bowls will be sure to satisfy your appetite with no time at all. We love eating the Mediterranean way at mbg, as this eating plan has shown to promote gut health, cognitive function, and longevity, and this bowl is the perfect way to get started on a new Mediterranean-inspired diet. With ingredients like tahini and cumin, you'll be sure to indulge in a meal that's rich in minerals like magnesium while containing essential, anti-inflammatory components. Plus, you'll have lots of leftovers for healthy, hearty meals throughout the week—what more could you ask for!
After making the falafel, feel free to get creative with the bowl ingredients (I'm partial to purple cabbage for its hormone-balancing properties and cucumber for ultimate hydration), and let your inner artist shine through.
Mediterranean Falafel Bowls
Yields 12 to 20 falafel or 4 portions (3 to 5 falafel per portion)
Prep time: 25 minutes (plus overnight soaking)
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1½ cups (375 g) dried chickpeas
- ⅓ cup (20 g) chopped fresh parsley
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) tahini
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 to 4 tablespoons (24 to 32 g) whole wheat or chickpea flour
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for cooking
- 1 cup (30 g) baby spinach
- ¾ cup (110 g) diced bell pepper (any color)
- ¾ cup (90 g) chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) red wine vinegar
To make the falafel: Pour the dried chickpeas into a large bowl and add enough cold water until the chickpeas are just covered. Place a clean dish towel over the top of the bowl and let the chickpeas soak overnight on the counter. (Note: If it's warm in your house, you may opt to soak the chickpeas in the refrigerator.) When you're ready to prepare the falafel, drain any liquid from the chickpeas and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Add the soaked chickpeas, parsley, garlic, shallots, tahini, cumin, pink salt, and black pepper to a food processor or blender. Pulse to combine and stop to scrape down the sides when needed. When the mixture forms a crumbly dough, start adding the flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, to absorb any wetness. Don't overmix the dough. Test the dough by forming a small ball in your hands; if the dough sticks together and not to your hands, it is done. Refrigerate the dough for about an hour to help the falafel stay together while cooking.
When you're ready to cook the falafel, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and a large plate with paper towels. Set aside.
Form the falafel dough into balls the size of golf balls and press them onto the parchment-lined baking sheet to flatten slightly.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough olive oil to generously coat the pan, about 2 tablespoons (30 ml). To test to see if the oil is hot enough, sprinkle a drop of water into the pan. If it sizzles/pops, it is ready.
Add the falafel balls to the pan. Do not overcrowd. Cook until the underside is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes, and then, using silicone-handle tongs, turn them over one by one, cooking them for 3 to 4 more minutes. Remove from the skillet and transfer them to the paper-towel-lined plate to absorb any oil.
Once cooked, store the falafel in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze them in freezer bags for up to 3 months.
To assemble the bowls: Equally divide the spinach, bell pepper, and celery into 4 containers, storing 3 to 5 falafel each in 4 separate containers for up to 5 days. You can enjoy the falafel cold or warm; to reheat, microwave for 30 seconds or warm in the oven at 375°F (190°C) for 5 to 6 minutes. When ready to enjoy, drizzle the salad with the olive oil and vinegar, and toss to coat the vegetables. Top with the falafel.
Pro Prep Tips for a Busy Chef
If you are short on time, you can use canned chickpeas. Two cans (15 ounces, or 425 grams, each), drained and rinsed, will give you the same quantity of beans needed for the recipe.
Making falafel from scratch can be tricky. If the balls are not binding together, add flour, 1 tablespoon (8 g) at a time, to your mixture, until you can easily press it into balls or patties. Warming the mixture in the microwave for 20-second increments before rolling into balls can also help bind the mixture.
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