Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Falafel Feast and Quinoa Tabouli

The other day, I was having a serious craving for tabouli. This traditionally Middle Eastern salad is something I’ve only recently come to enjoy. I think I had a bad first experience with tabouli in a Lebanese restaurant where it was nearly entirely parsley and was just too much to chew.

041 Falafel feast with dilly tzatziki, hummus, quinoa tabouli, whole wheat pita, and fresh sliced cucumber, carrots, and celery.

Alex and I talked about going to Myra’s for dinner to enjoy some tabouli, but after having seen several bloggers making falafel recently, I decided to try this at home and make my own feast of falafel, hummus, and tabouli.



The first thing I did was to make tzatziki, and I adapted a recipe so much that I am putting my on tzatziki recipe below. This is something I came up with on my own that was good, though. Really good. I used dill, and I’m not sure that’s entirely authentic, but that’s a whole ’nother question about whether I can make any authentic food. Let me tell you, though, I bought a big bunch of fresh dill and I loved the smell. I think I’ll have to try growing dill next year.

I’ve made falafel before, but only from a boxed mix. The reason I tried making it myself again was because I figured I could bake it instead of frying it. I’m not against fried food, but it’s too much trouble for me at home, and it’s probably best it’s a special treat for eating out.

This was my first attempt in making “real” falafel, and I used a recipe I saw recently on Vegan Epicurean. This turned out wonderfully. I used a mix of garbanzo beans and soybeans and for green herbs I used both dill and cilantro, and I did use her suggestion to include raw sesame seeds. I mixed all the ingredients in my teeny-weeny food processor and it wasn’t too terribly difficult. Alex rolled them for me. He wants to make sure he gets credit.

Vegan Tzatziki


  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo, I use Vegenaise
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • dash cayenne
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley


Place Vegenaise, garlic, lemon juice, dill, paprika, and cayenne in blender. Blend until smooth. Just before serving, mix in cucumber and parsley.

Tzatziki is usually made with yogurt, and this is one of those things that gets stronger as it ages. I made this in the morning when I realized we would be having falafel, and it was just perfect by suppertime.

I also made hummus in the food processor. Actually, I made that right before I made the falafel and I didn’t worry too much about cleaning it in between.

The final component of this feast was the tabouli. Even though I was craving tabouli and I had bulgur on hand, I decided to veer from the tradition and make mine with quinoa. I used a recipe I found online, and I used red quinoa. Even though I only used one cup of dry quinoa, this made so much tabouli that we will be eating it for days. But hey, that’s what it might take to satisfy this craving.

043My biggest mixing bowl, nearly full with quinoa tabouli. I’m adding the tomato a serving at a time, though, to keep it fresh.

Even though all these components were a lot of work, the ingredients went with each other (a few lemons, a bunch of parsley, a bunch of dill, cucumbers all over the place, sesame in the falafel and tahini in the hummus, and so forth). And I’m not going to pretend that this is authentic by any means, but it’s good. Good, good food, and that is the reward for all this work.

Oh my, I feel like I’ve fallen to peer pressure. Again. Do you get cravings just by seeing what someone else is eating?


  1. That does look like a delicious and perfectly executed plate of falafel...that tabouli looks so good; I love crimson quinoa.

    Your tzatziki sounds great too! I like the sound of the dill in it. Yum.

  2. That plate looks amazing. I feel that I need to have this for breakfast now.

  3. Your falafel looks awesome...great job! :o) Your tzatziki sounds really good also. I may have to give that a try the next time I make falafel.

  4. I <3 red quinoa. I made some MexiQuinoa last night!!

  5. Your falafel look perfect congratulations!

    I would think of it as peer pressure more like suggestions from the blogosphere. I think we all get cravings reading food blogs. At least I know I do.


  6. I love falafel feasts! I've never tried baking them, but I probably should. I fry way too much. :-) I'll try your sauce next time for sure. And I've had similar experiences with takeout tabouli that contained too much parsley. I love your quionoa version. So pretty!

  7. I never liked Tabouli till I had Whole Food's style with Quinoa and tons of lemon. I then became addicted. Now I'm in recovery and know I will never attempt to make my own.

  8. Hey, I went out and had falafel for lunch today! Coincidence, haha. They are so good. Even my carnivorous boyfriend loves them.

    You're really doing very well with making these classic vegan dishes!

  9. thanks for checking out my blog! i am pleased to have you in my list of awesome reraders. this looks scrumtious! what kind of camera do you use? these photos are beautiful!

  10. Thanks for the wonderful comments, everyone! This was indeed a tasty feast.
    Rikki, I take most of my photos at home with a Nikon D3000. I'm glad I found your blog through today's interview!

  11. i always get cravings and inspiration from looking at other blogs! now i'm thinking falafel sounds good :)

  12. I first ate all of this kind of food in Egypt and Israel in college so whenever I see it, I am flooded with the memories of the tastes and smells from over there. And yes, your olive tofu salad thing really wreaked havoc on my Eat to Live diet willpower. :)