Baked Falafel Bowl

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Falafel is a go-to vegetarian comfort food across the Middle East. While traveling in Israel I had many falafels, which are traditionally served in a pita with pickled vegetables, hummus, or a tahini based-sauce. The name is often confused or interchanged with equally delicious shawarma which is various meats cooked on a spit. Falafel is traditionally made with chickpeas, flour and spices then deep fried for an amazingly crunchy snack or meal. I eventually had to stop eating the falafel because of how sick I felt which was most likely from the combination of deep-frying and gluten.

I am so excited about this recipe! Finally, I have found a way however to enjoy falafel stomachache-free and with no bloating. Keep in mind however; chickpeas do contain sugars that humans cannot digest so if eaten in mass quantities some digestive upsets can occur. These falafels are gluten free, dairy free, and vegetarian. I personally love eating out of bowls, mugs, cups etc… It is weird but I always preferred a platter to a sandwich. I like making my own little combinations on my fork or mini sandwiches with gluten free pita on the side. I placed mine in a bowl with grated carrot, Israeli salad, brown rice, pumpkin seeds and my homemade hummus! Feel free to wrap yours in a whole grain pita, top on quinoa or place on top of salad (which I had for lunch the next day, yummy!)

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Serves 2-3

Falafel Ingredients:

•One 15-oz. can chickpeas, well drained or 2 cups fresh (see my homemade hummus recipe for directions)
•1 french shallot or 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
•2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
•1/4 cup almond flour (you could also use chickpea flour)
•3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh parsley
•1 1/2 tbsp (about 3 cloves) chopped garlic
•1/2 tbsp ground coriander
•1/2 tbsp ground cumin
•3/4 tsp salt
•1/2 tsp baking powder
•1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
•1/8 tsp paprika, or more to taste
• a few dashes hot sauce
• salt and pepper, to taste

Bowl Ingredients:

• 3 carrots grated (I used a box grater)
• 4 radish thinly sliced (optional)
• 1 1/2 cups short grain brown or wild rice
• 2 tomatoes diced
• 1/2 cup diced cucumber
• 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
• a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice
• 2 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds or toasted sesame seeds
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
homemade hummus (store bought is fine too!)
• fresh lemon wedges for serving
• salt and pepper to taste

Makes about 18 Falafel (Serves 3-4 people)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Combine all falafel ingredients except 1 tablespoon olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 10 seconds. Stop motor and scrape down sides of bowl, then pulse for another 10 seconds, until all ingredients are well incorporated but mixture is still slightly coarse and grainy.
3. Using a tablespoon, scoop mixture out and form into balls. Brush with remaining tablespoon olive oil.
4. Bake on a cookie sheet for about 40-45 minutes, making sure to flip half way through until brown and crisp.
5. While the falafel is cooking, prepare the rice (follow directions on bag) and grate carrots.
6. For the israeli salad: Mix in a small bowl cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, red wine vinegar and lemon juice, salt and pepper.
7. Toast pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds in the oven at 350 F for 10 minutes or in on medium heat in a dry pan until the oil is released.
8. Arrange falafel, rice, carrots, israeli salad, hummus and seeds. Top with tahini or extra hot sauce! YUM!

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Mung Bean Pad Thai

Photo 2014-05-08, 6 32 22 AM
Who doesn’t like pad thai? Something about the  combination of sweet, sour and salty just gets me every single time. Something else also happens every. single. time. I feel AWFUL. I know I’m not the only one who feels bloated, tired and uncomfortable. Even though the base of rice noodles, veggies and meat sounds like a healthy trio it is loaded with copious amounts of fat and sodium.

Pad thai has been on my recipe list for a while now. I think most home cooks steer clear of asian flavours because they seem complicated. Once you build up your pantry with the basic sauces however, most asian dishes can be tackled with ease. Whats best is that you can control all the ingredients that go inside. You really dont need so much oil, salt and sugar to get the awesome flavours. Use fresh herbs and spices and you’ll see that you actually prefer your own cooking to what you get in restaurants!

My favourite thing to hear from friends, family and guests who eat my food or try one of my recipes is how surprised they are by how great it tastes while still being good for you. What’s best is that everyone feels so much better. People dont want heavy. Why eat a meal if you are going just feel awful and potentially guilty afterwords. You want to feel energized, light and satisfied. And that’s exactly what this Pad Thai will do! I will eventually tackle a raw version of this dish, but these mung bean noodles were an awesome addition.

Mung Beans are packed with protein, fibre and vitamins. If you are not in the mood for meat or tofu, you will get plenty of extra nourishment from the noodles itself. I found these noodles at a speciality grocery store. Check your asian markets or health food stores! If you cant get your hands on these, try using buckwheat soba or brown rice noodles! Also, the tofu can be replaced with chicken or beef. Bon appetit!
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Serves 4

Ingredients:

• 1 package mung bean noodles or noodle of choice
• 1 1/2 cup bean sprouts
• 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
• 1 inch piece of ginger (finely chopped)
• 2-3 limes
• 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
• 1 jalapeño or chilli pepper (seeds removed, chopped)
• 1 package non GMO tofu (cubed) or meat of choice
• 1 red pepper (chopped)
• 1 cup broccoli
• 1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
• 2 eggs (lightly scrambled) (optional)
• 3 tbsp cup roasted peanuts (roughly chopped)
• 2 tbsp sprouted buckwheat
• 2 tsp coconut oil (divided)
• 1 tsp sesame oil

Sauce Ingredients:

• few dashes fish sauce (to taste)
• 1/4 cup all natural creamy peanut butter
• 2 tbsp gluten free tamari
• 8 drops stevia or 1 tsp honey
• 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• juice of one lime

Directions:

1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, toss in sesame oil and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk sauce ingredients until combined. Set aside.

3. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in a wok or large pan, and cook onion until tender about minutes.

4. Add garlic, ginger, peppers, bean sprouts, broccoli and cilantro. Sautée for about 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and set aside.

5. Heat remaining coconut oil on medium-high heat and cook tofu until browned. Then re-add veggies and the eggs. Stir until the egg is cooked through. Then add the noodles and pad thai sauce. Stir until completely combined and thoroughly heated, about 3 to 4 more minutes.

6.Remove from heat and toss with peanuts before serving. Garnish with lime wedges, peanuts, buckwheat groats and additional cilantro.
Photo 2014-05-08, 6 32 24 AM