Mediterranean Falafel Bowl with “Tabbouleh” Rice

If you aren’t a huge fan of falafel it’s probably because you haven’t had it made right. They should be moist and light on the inside while crisp on the outside. The browned fried chickpea balls are speckled with herbs and have just a little spice. Falafel is a great protein-packed vegan alternative to meats in salads. I could eat just the falafel with the yogurt sauce for an appetizer! Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern dish typically made with bulgur but for this recipe I decided to substitute rice for a heartier base for the bowl.



For the falafel:

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

½ cup chopped white onion

3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

4 cloves garlic, chopped

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus additional for dredging

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Vegetable oil, as needed, for frying


For the “tabbouleh”rice:

1 cup long-grain rice

¼ cup chopped cilantro

¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 medium Roma tomato, cored and diced

½ kosher salt


For the spiced yogurt sauce:

1 cup Greek yogurt

½ teaspoon coriander

½ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


For the Mediterranean bowl:

1 cup  hummus

½ cup thinly sliced red onions

1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced

¼ cup sliced peperoncini peppers

2 cups pita chips



For the falafel:

Add the chickpeas, onion, parsley, cilantro, cumin, red pepper, garlic and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until the mixture is blended but not puréed. Stir in the flour and baking powder. The mixture should be dry enough to not stick to your hands but wet enough to hold together in a ball.

Sprinkle a parchment paper-lined baking sheet with flour. Measure out rounded tablespoons of the mixture. Roll the mixture into balls. Add flour to a medium shallow bowl and dredge the balls in the flour so they are completely coated.

 Add enough oil to a large skillet so that it fills ½” of the pan. Heat the oil to 375º. Working in batches, fry the falafel balls until they are deep brown, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.


For the “tabbouleh” rice:

Bring the rice and 1¾ cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once boiling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Let cool then fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the cilantro, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice and tomato. Season with salt.


For the spiced yogurt sauce:

In a small bowl whisk together the Greek yogurt, coriander, cumin, white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of cold water.


For the Mediterranean bowl:

Divide the rice among 4 bowls. Top each with hummus, onions, cucumber, peppers, pita chips and falafel.


Serves 4. 



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