Oct 12, 2016

Falafel Bowl with “Tabbouleh” Rice

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Crispy falafel are served over tabbouleh-inspired rice filled with hummus and a spiced yogurt sauce for a complete "healthy-ish" meal.

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Falafel is made from mashed chickpeas combined with herbs and spices and should be moist and light on the inside while crisp on the outside. Falafel is a great protein-packed vegan alternative to meats in salads. I also like to eat the falafel served with the yogurt sauce for an appetizer! While there are many different versions of falafel, it can be found throughout Middle Eastern culture. This recipe is based on a traditional Israeli version. An Egyptian variation is typically made with fava beans rather than chickpeas.

Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern dish traditionally made with bulgur and herbs but for this recipe I decided to substitute rice for a heartier base for the bowl. This recipe is in no way traditional but a spin on a dish using the same flavors and herbs.

Falafel Bowl with “Tabbouleh” Rice

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Chickpeas – Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans add texture and protein to this recipe while keeping it vegetarian. Using canned chickpeas in this recipe cuts down on the prep time in this recipe. Swapping with dried chickpeas requires a bit more foresight since they need to be soaked for a long period of time then boiled.
  • Herbs – fresh parsley and cilantro are used to flavor the falafel.
  • Seasonings – The falafel are seasoned with a mixture of cumin and red pepper flakes in addition to the fresh herbs.
  • Greek yogurt – How does Greek yogurt differ from regular yogurt? It’s strained to remove any excess whey – resulting in a richer, creamier consistency yogurt. Full-fat (5% fat) Greek yogurt is combined with coriander, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and lemon juice for a tangy white sauce to pair with the falafel bowl.
  • Hummus – While store-bought hummus is fine, I recommend making your own. It comes together using just a few ingredients and in my opinion, it’s better homemade. Use my recipe here to make your own.
  • Pita – I love serving this falafel bowl with toasted pita or pita chips for scooping up the elements of the bowl.

How to Make This Falafel Bowl

  • Blend the falafel mixture. Add the chickpeas, onion, parsley, cilantro, cumin, red pepper, and garlic 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, baking powder and salt until combined. The mixture should be dry enough to not stick to your hands but wet enough to hold together in a ball.
  • Shape the falafel. 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.
  • Fry the falafel. Add enough oil to a large skillet so that it fills ½” of the pan. Heat the oil to 375ºF. Working in batches, fry the falafel balls until they are deep brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Cook the rice. 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.
  • Make the “tabbouleh” rice. Let cool then fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the cilantro, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, tomato and cucumber. Season with salt.
  • Make 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.
  • Serve. Add a handful of arugula to each bowl. Divide the rice among 4 bowls. Top each with hummus, onions, peppers, pita chips and falafel.

Middle Eastern-inspired Falafel Bowl with “Tabbouleh” Rice

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • Use a rice cooker to make the rice. I find this so much easier than cooking rice on the stove.
  • Make your own hummus! It has so much flavor and is easy to do! Try my recipe here.
  • Make the falafel ahead of time. Broil to reheat and serve.
  • Serve over any greens you like. I like using peppery arugula but shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce work great.
  • In a pinch, omit the spices from the Greek yogurt and just serve the plain yogurt as a sauce.

Middle Eastern-inspired Falafel Bowl with “Tabbouleh” Rice-43.jpg

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Falafel Bowl with “Tabbouleh” Rice

Print Pin
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

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 an additional 1 cup 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
  • 1 medium English hothouse cucumber diced
  • Kosher salt, as needed

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:

  • Wild Arugula
  • 1 cup hummus
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onions
  • ¼ cup sliced pepperoncini peppers
  • 2 cups pita chips, optional

Instructions:

For the falafel:

  • Add the chickpeas, onion, parsley, cilantro, cumin, red pepper, and garlic 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, baking powder and salt until combined. 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, tomato and cucumber. 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:

  • Add a handful of arugula to each bowl. Divide the rice among 4 bowls. Top each with hummus, onions, peppers, pita chips and falafel.

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  1. My first attempt at making a complicated mediteranian dish such as this. I was expecting the same dry falafal I have eaten several places, this by far was the best I have had anywhere. These were moist with a nice crunch outside. I made mine into patties instead of balls. I was doubling this dish to serve 8. I did use only one large cucumber, 3 roma toms and the required greens, eventhough I believe I used 1 – 1-1/2 the amount of cilantro and parsley and worked out perfect. Everyone loved this dish and will make this many more times to come. It is a huge winner in the house. We will look to make parts ahead of time to make faster in future. It is a little time consuming doing it by yourself, but the steps were broken out nicely. I would say, I would like to see ingredients next to the steps I"m doing.

    John

    • So happy to her you enjoyed the recipe John! Patties sound like a great way to do it! If you turn your phone on it’s side or open the recipe on desktop the ingredients will be shown next to the steps to make it more clear! Thanks so much for sharing and glad to hear it was a hit!