Friday, August 11, 2017

Easy Falafel Salad with Savory Pita Croutons

If you're a lover of falafel sandwiches, wraps or platters like I am, this is a fun take on the traditional way of serving {and eating} those delectable little chickpea fritters. And, with a couple of store-bought shortcuts, this salad is on the table in about fifteen minutes. It's fresh, healthful and light, yet is hearty enough to serve as a casual meal for two.


I'm always looking for fresh and unique salad ideas. I pretty much could live on salads all throughout the summer months. If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know that I have gravitated towards more-frequent and deliberate meal prep with the focus on what I like to call "Intentional Eating." Instead of aimlessly grazing about my fridge and cupboards during the day {nibbling my way from a string cheese to a handful of granola to a spoonful of nut butter}, I have been trying to keep fresh, healthful ingredients on hand that either incorporate quickly into interesting, cravable salads or grain bowls for myself OR they inspire me to take a little time to meal prep a few days worth of quick-to-grab lunches.

Having frozen or fresh store-bought falafel on hand is especially lovely for me. I adore falafel. I do enjoy making from-scratch falafel, but don't always have the time {nor do I always want to take the time} to do so. I like to get bags of frozen falafel from Trader Joe's to keep on hand. But, I have, also, been noticing both refrigerated and frozen varieties more frequently in regular grocery stores, too.

NOTE: When I have made homemade falafel, I always follow Alton Brown's recipe. It never disappoints.

And while I do often make hummus from scratch, there are many really good brands and flavors of store-bought hummus these days. {I prefer the garlic or roasted red pepper versions of hummus for this salad.} I utilize hummus here as the base for the dressing. With just a bit of water to thin the hummus, you've got a quick, flavorful salad dressing that really ties everything together. With both falafel and hummus already in the fridge, whipping up this delicious salad is a total breeze.

Yields 2 servings.


Ingredients:

1 round soft pita bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Pinch paprika
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
8 - 10 falafel balls/fritters
2 - 3 ounces mixed salad greens of choice
1 ripe tomato, cored and cut into wedges
1/2 cucumber, sliced thin into half-moons
1/2 small red onion, peeled, trimmed and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons hummus {garlic or roasted red pepper version recommended}
Water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut pita into small wedges. Lay out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika and sesame seeds. {Be sure oil is well-distributed onto wedges.} Bake for 5 - 7 minutes or until just barely beginning to crisp. Remove from oven. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare falafel according to package instructions. {Most store-bought falafel packages recommend roughly the same cooking temperature as needed for the pita croutons, so both can probably be baked at the same time.}

Once the pita croutons and falafel are ready, prepare the salad by laying down a bed of salad greens onto a large platter or into a large serving bowl.

Arrange tomato, cucumber, onion, pita croutons and falafel balls atop greens as desired.

For the dressing, whisk hummus with a splash of water. Add additional water until a salad dressing-like consistency is achieved. {Approximately two tablespoons worth.}

Serve salad immediately drizzled with hummus dressing at the time of service.




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