2016 was definitely the year of the bowl. Everyone started to deconstruct food and serve it up in a big health bowl. I saw everything from smoothie bowls to taco bowls to sushi bowls to veggie bowls. I even jumped on it with a couple of breakfast bowl dishes: Savory Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl and Potato Bacon Breakfast Bowl. Well, I am back at it and even though I created this dish in 2016, the New Year is the perfect time to share it when everyone is getting on the health food bandwagon. It seriously amazes me how January 1 signifies a resurgence in dieting and eating healthy. Trader Joe’s looked like it had been ransacked and I heard a cashier say “Everyone’s trying to get healthy, so they are shopping at Trader Joe’s.” We’re all, out with the overindulgent holiday foods, cookies, desserts, rich dinners and in with all of the SALAD!
I have to admit that for me, especially, after 9 months of letting lose while being pregnant and indulging a little too frequently, then enjoying the heck out of the holidays (and no longer being pregnant at Christmas and New Year’s), I too am ready to get back into our regular lifestyle of eating healthy. I’m sharing these delicious baked falafel bowls just in time. They are the perfect thing to jumpstart a little holiday detox and set the mood for a good diet. Loaded with greens, veggies, powerful proteins, nuts, whole grains and full of flavor, these are hard for anyone to resist.
What I love about bowls like this one is that the toppings can easily be adjusted to your taste. Since my husband does not like tomatoes, you’ll notice the second bowl in these images does not have tomatoes on it for him. If you don’t like spinach, try another green such as arugula or just ditch it completely for additional quinoa. If you can’t eat dairy, then don’t add the feta cheese and make a dairy free tahini vinaigrette without the yogurt.
A few years ago, we decided to really get healthier by changing up our diet and adding a regular exercise routine to our lives. I use the word diet here and most people think that’s a short-term change to how we eat, but really your diet is your lifestyle and should be a long-term goal to treat your body better by examining what you are putting into it every day. We started adding more fiber rich foods and healthy proteins to our diet instead of ingesting too many simple carbs and sugar. We cut out eating white potatoes and white rice often opting for whole grains like quinoa and brown rice. Quinoa is a great source of plant based protein and fiber, it cooks very quickly and can easily be added to casseroles instead of using rice.
But the star here is the baked falafel loaded with fresh herbs, chickpeas, nuts and seeds. Rather than frying them in a pan of oil, these get just as crispy and delicious baked off in the oven with a little olive oil spray. You really won’t miss the meat in this dish because the falafel is so hearty and full of flavor from garlic, cumin and coriander – all spices with added benefits for your health.
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup raw almonds
- 1 (16 ounce) can chickpeas, drained + rinsed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- cooking spray
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 cups baby spinach
- English cucumber, seeded and sliced
- cherry tomatoes
- radish, thinly sliced
- pine nuts
- crumbled feta
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400.
Combine all ingredients in food processor and mix until a crumbly dough forms. Using a large cookie scoop (1 1/2 Tbsp), form mixture into balls (makes 20-24) and drop onto a lined baking sheet. Flatten out with a spoon or the palm of your hand into disks. Spray tops of each with cooking spray.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until beginning to brown on top.
Combine Greek yogurt, tahini and lemon juice until well blended. Adjust flavor to taste with additional tahini or lemon juice if needed.
Stir parsley, olive oil, and vinegar into quinoa. Fill each bowl with 1 cup baby spinach. Top with 1/2 cup quinoa, 4-5 falafels, lemon tahini sauce and remaining toppings of your choice.
Yum! Here’s to a Happy 2017 – a year of great things and good health! Enjoy <3 K&R