Spinach & Feta Falafel with a Pistachio & Pomegranate Tabbouleh Salad
Falafel are wonderful things, they really are a fairly simple combination of ingredients; chickpeas, herbs and spices mixed together and fried. I love the crispy exterior and the moist flavorful interior; they really are quite substantial and make an excellent alternative to meat. In this adaption of the classic falafel recipe I have added feta cheese and spinach to the falafel to give them some extra flavor and texture, the refreshing tabbouleh and raita sauce compliment the dish well
Yield (serves): 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 – 30 minutes
1 x 13 ounce (375 g) can cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons tahini sauce
5 ounces (150 g) feta cheese
2 large handfuls fresh spinach
1 large free range egg
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon chilli powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons white flour
¼ white onion (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ teaspoon baking powder
Fresh cilantro/coriander (chopped)
Oil, for deep frying
For the pistachio and pomegranate tabbouleh salad
1 small of bunch fresh mint
½ bunch fresh parsley
¼ cucumber (diced)
1 ¼ cups (200 g) bulgur wheat
Seeds from half a fresh pomegranate
1/3 cup (50 g) chopped pistachios
Seasoning to taste
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
For the dill raita sauce
One small pot natural/plain yoghurt
3 tablespoons freshly chopped dill
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh mint (chopped)
¼ Cucumber (diced)
1. To make the falafel: pulse the chickpeas, tahini, egg, lemon zest, cumin, garlic, lemon juice, coriander/cilantro, chilli powder, and salt in blender or food processor until mostly smooth, but still slightly chunky. Transfer to bowl, and stir in the flour, onion, parsley, and baking powder.
2. Shape the chickpea mixture into 8 large or 12 smaller balls and lightly dust with flour.
3. Fill a heavy bottomed pan with vegetable oil and heat until hot, test the oil by dropping a cube of bread into it and if it begins to cook and become crispy then the oil is ready for the falafel. At this point turn the heat to medium/low so that it doesn’t over heat.
4. Carefully drop the falafel balls into the oil and cook for approximately 5 minutes until they have become golden and have risen to the surface.
5. To make the tabouleh salad place the bulgur wheat into a heavy bottomed pan and cover with hot water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes before draining into a colander and washing under cold water to cool.
6. In the meantime finely chop the mint and parsley and dice the cucumber, mix well with the cooled bulgur wheat and stir in the chopped pistachios, seeds from half a pomegranate, the white wine vinegar and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.
7. To make the yoghurt sauce: Combine all ingredients in serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir well, serve with the warm falafel and tabouleh salad.
You can make the falafel patties in advance and keep them refrigerated until needed
For a vegan alternative don’t add the feta cheese to the falafel mixture and use plain soy yoghurt for the dill yoghurt sauce
For an easy way to remove the seeds from the pomegranate slice it in half between the stalk and base and hold each half in the palm of your hand with the seed side facing downwards over a bowl. Using a heavy metal spoon or ladle hit the top of the pomegranate repeatedly and the seeds will simply fall out, repeat the tapping until all of the seeds have fallen out.
Try these classic wines: The acidity of the raita sauce together with texture of the falafel would match very well with a dry Pinot Blanc from Alsace or a Pinot Grigio from Italy. A Riesling from Germany in a Kabinet style would also work very well with this dish
Try this new world wine: Riesling from Eden Valley (New Zealand)