Vegan Falafel with Cardamom and Coriander Oils & Tahini Sauce

recipe, Uncategorized

I became a fan of falafel the day I sunk my teeth into one of those warm balls of crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, pillows of delight at an Israeli restaurant in Chicago on my lunch break.  Sorry I don’t have a photo.  I will take one the next time we make them and post it.

My husband is part Lebanese and grew up eating all sorts of Mediterranean foods.  He’s gotten me into eating some foods that I normally wouldn’t have tried.  Falafel with tahini sauce has become a cheap, healthy and easy dinner for us.

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) is one of the main ingredients in falafel and is a great source of iron, protein, fiber, manganese and folate.  There are also pecans in this recipe, so there’s a little more protein for ya!  All around, it’s a great side dish or meal for any day of the week.

I found this recipe online and tweaked it a little to my liking and to sub in some essential oils for the dried herbs (dried herbs have much less flavor and aren’t as potent!).

Enjoy!



FALAFEL
  (Vegan)

INGREDIENTS:

1 15-oz can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed & patted dry
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced (~ 3/4 cup | or sub white onion)
2 Tbsp finely chopped pecans (or sesame seeds)
1 1/2 tsp cumin, to taste (or cumin essential oil)
1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 drops Cardamom essential oil (send me a message for my brand)
2 drops Coriander essential oil (send me a message for my brand)
4 Tbsp whole wheat flour

3-4 Tbsp grape seed oil
Tahini Sauce for serving (see recipe below)
OPTIONAL: Panko bread crumbs for coating


INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to generously coat the pan – about 2 Tbsp.  Swirl it around to coat.

Add chickpeas, parsley, shallot, garlic, pecans, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander and cardamom oils to a food processor and mix/pulse to combine, scraping down sides as needed.  You want a a crumbly dough, not a paste.

Add flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and pulse/mix to combine until you can mold the dough into a ball, but not sticky.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necesary.

Scoop out rounded Tablespoon amounts and gently form into 11-12 small discs (about 1/2” thick or more).

OPTIONAL STEP: Sprinkle on panko bread crumbs and gently press to adhere – flip and repeat. This will produce a crispier crust but is optional.

Once the oil is hot, add only as many falafel as will fit very comfortably in the pan at a time – about 5.

Cook for a total of 4-5 minutes, flipping when the underside is deep golden brown.  Serve warm with tahini sauce or hummus, inside a pita atop a bed of greens.

 (NOTES: Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator covered for several days. Freeze after that to keep fresh for up to 1 month.)



TAHINI SAUCE FOR FALAFEL

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup tahini sesame seed paste
3/4 cup lukewarm water, or more for consistency
3 cloves raw garlic (or 5 cloves roasted garlic)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
2 tsp fresh parsley, minced (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put tahini paste, lukewarm water, garlic, lemon juice and salt together in a food processor or blender till sauce is creamy and ivory-colored.  You may need to scrape the sides of the processor periodically during processing.

After a few minutes of blending, sauce will turn into a rich, smooth paste.  If mixture is too thick, slowly add more water until it reaches the preferred consistency.

Taste often during the blending process; add more lemon juice or salt, if desired.

 

Low Fat Spiced Cassia & Cardamom Glazed Pecans

essential oils, gluten-free, homemade

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Merry Christmas!

I have been wanting to do this blog for months now, and finally had some spare time.  (I know…spare time?  What is that?!)

Every Christmas, I see recipes for spiced pecans on Pinterest, and have been dying to make my own with ESSENTIAL OILS!  Weee!!!  They make wonderful flavoring agents to baked goods, in lieu of dried spices from the grocery store.  While the heat of the oven will bake off any of the health properties of the oils, the flavor will remain! 

PLEASE NOTE:  do not just use any ol’ essential oils that you find at the store.  Most oils purchased at stores are not pure and are not labeled as consumable.  Please be sure the oils you are using are from a reputable source, are labeled as consumable, and are 100% pure.  If you need some direction, please leave me your email in a comment below.
I have chosen to spice my pecans with cassia, cardamom and cinnamon.  I chose these 3 because they are perfect for the Fall/Winter holidays because they are so warm and comforting.

Cassia is one of my favorite scents to diffuse in my home when I want to make it home-y and inviting (along with cardamom and wild orange!).  Cassia smells like cinnamon, but softer and sweeter.

Cardamom is another one of my favorites.  It is used in many Scandinavian baked goods.  I grew up eating boller (or “mom’s Norwegian buns,” as we called them) *snicker* which contains this spice.  So, every time I smell cardamom, it reminds me of mom’s buns *snicker snicker*.   We’d eat them as a snack with butter and strawberry jam.  Sooooo gooood.  (I will be doing a boller blog as soon as I find more of that spare time lying around!)

Cinnamon was the final spice chosen for this tasty treat.  I could have left it out, because those other 2 spices are delicious enough on their own.  If you leave any of them out, make sure you double one of the other oils.  You want to make sure you have enough flavor.  And 2 total drops of oil doesn’t quite give the pecans enough spiciness!  (Also, if you don’t have essential oils, you could always substitute the oils with powdered spices.  I would use 1/2 tsp of each spice)

 

 

The recipe below is very easy.  If you don’t have Ziploc bags, just use 2 large mixing bowls.  If you use any different spices, be sure to comment below and let me know how they turn out –  I’d love to hear of different combos!  I have seen some recipes out there with cayenne, cumin, sriracha sauce or turmeric on their spiced nuts, but I am not a fan of super spicy things.  Cinnamon, cardamom and cassia are spicy enough!

No need to diffuse any essential oils in your home while baking these nuts.  The aroma from the nuts will fill your home and make you grab a glass of eggnog, pop in a DVD of “Elf” or “A Christmas Story” and get cozy!

 

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Gift box them and give them to a friend!

 

When the nuts are finally baked and cooled, you can put them in holiday-themed tins or mason jars and make cute and budget-friendly Christmas gifts.   You can go one step further and decorate the jars with ribbon and a fancy nametag.  Add that personal touch!  I love crafty things, but have no time to decorate, so I re-use gift boxes/tins that I’ve collected over the years.  Spiced nuts make great teacher gifts!  Put out a bowl of these nuts at a Christmas party or toss them on top of your salad.  Even kids will gobble them up!

 


Cassia Cardamom Glazed Pecans

2 egg whites
2 Tbs melted butter (can be omitted)
1/2 Tbs vanilla extract
1/2 Tbs water
1 lb pecan halves
1/2 cup sugar (I used brown)
1 drop cassia essential oil
1 drop cardamom essential oil
1 drop cinnamon essential oil
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 250°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a gallon sized freezer bag, mix together the egg whites, melted butter, vanilla extract, essential oils and water.

In a second gallon sized freezer bag, mix together the sugar and salt.

Add pecans to the bag with the egg white mixture. Seal the bag and shake around the pecans until they are evenly coated.

Transfer the coated pecans to the bag with the sugar mixture. Seal the bag and shake around until the pecans are evenly coated with the sugar mixture.

Spread the pecans on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely.


 

I hope you enjoy this recipe!  Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Blessings,
Karen