I've been feeling kind of ineffective lately. I'm used to having a regular training schedule requiring me to be awake and present somewhere at ridiculous hours of the morning (last summer I left home at 4:15am to get to practice on time), or at least a full time class schedule which I have to plan my schedule around. Right now, I have a couple of hours of class in the afternoon, train at random times depending on how my ankle is feeling, whether I can get on the water, when I work, and when I drag myself out of bed. For some reason this lack of structure leads to a lot of sleeping in and a lot of forgetting to bring lunches. An accident which sometimes wonderfully results in me buying myself falafels to eat for lunch. I know they're fried, but they can't be thaat bad for you, right? Chickpeas, herbs, in a wrap filled with vegetables... regardless, they are oh-so-delicious.
The one time that I tried to make falafels, I didn't have too much success, so I decided to go a different route. The idea for this salad started off as a kind of deconstructed falafel concept - chickpeas, cilantro, parsley, onion, tahini. In reality, it is not really falafel-like in the slightest. It is, however, delicious. The smoky, spicy and flavourful roasted vegetables and warm, garlicky toasted bulghur and chickpeas are a hearty and delicious base, coated with a smooth, lemony and creamy tahini and herb sauce. This tastes decadent and rich, but is actually very healthy and full
of protein since the sauce is made creamy using silken tofu.
This is really easy to toss into a jar in my backpack for lunch, as it tastes good cold as well as warm. It is also, unfortunately, really easy to forget said jar in the fridge. I guess I will have to go buy more falafels...
- 1/2 cup uncooked bulghur wheat
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp paprika
- salt, to taste
- 1 eggplant, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt, adjust as desired
- 1/2 tsp cayenne, adjust as desired
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 container silken tofu, firm
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 1 small bunch parsley, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
- 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
1. Pour boiling water over bulghur, cover, and let sit for at least 20 minutes.
2. Place eggplant, zucchini, onion, garlic, paprika, cayenne, salt, and olive oil in a bowl or dish, and toss to combine.
3. Roast vegetables in a pan or on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Add red pepper, toss vegetables, and roast for another 10 minutes or until they are thoroughly roasted.
4. While vegetables are roasting, combine tofu, tahini, parsley, cilantro and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
5. Melt coconut oil on a pan, and add garlic. Add drained, cooked barley and chickpeas, garlic, paprika, and salt. Sauté for a few minutes until most of the water from the barley has evaporated and it begins to turn a deeper golden colour.
6. To serve, either mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, or layer roasted vegetables on top of barley and chickpea mix, and spoon the dressing on top of the vegetables.
Notes: Be sure to add a decent amount of salt and spice to the vegetables and barley, since the sauce is very cool and creamy. Make the vegetables more spicy than you would normally want so that the spice still comes through.
Change up the vegetables if you want, or add more. If I made this again, I would probably make it a little more vegetable-heavy.
Do NOT skip the toasting step for the bulghur and chickpeas. The first time I ate this it was a little watery and bland - good, but not great. Luckily I had stored my three parts in separate containers, so I toasted the barley and chickpeas with the garlic, paprika, and coconut oil, which really added depth to the dish and made it fantastic.