My husband likes to make fun of me because I can’t leave a recipe alone. I’m always adding a pinch of spice, or swapping the rice for quinoa, or adding black beans and omitting potatoes…I’m probably not destined to be someone else’s recipe tester. A tiny part of me thinks, maybe they didn’t try this one thing that would make this recipe SING!
When I first started cooking, I followed a recipe like it was a royal edict. I leveled off Tablespoons, scooped chopped onions into ½-cup measures, and weighed ingredients by the ounce. By the time I was done cooking a simple weeknight soup, the kitchen looked like I’d catered a dinner party for 12. Every measuring spoon we owned would end up in the dishwasher, and the sink was piled high with mixing bowls. All so I could get the recipe just right.
These days? I can’t follow a recipe any better than I can judge whether or not a cup of coffee at 4:00pm is a good idea.
Even a few weeks ago, when I made a recipe from Plated, I couldn’t stick to the recipe. And mind you, the whole DEAL with Plated is that they send you the EXACT ingredients you need and a step-by-step recipe card to follow to a T. When we sat down and I declared the recipe was pretty good but didn’t “look like the picture,” my husband just looked at me sideways and said, “Now I wonder why that could be.” -_-
Now, sometimes the fact that I can’t follow a recipe leads to new, awesome things, like this salad. The recipe starts as inspiration, and before I know it, I’ve launched the recipe into a different place.
With this salad, I started out by following 3 separate recipes: one for the falafel, one for the dressing, and one for the salad. But by the time I was through, they had all morphed into something new.
And I’ll confess, I started making this salad because I was craving that ‘90s steakhouse staple—The Wedge. A thick wedge of crunchy iceberg smothered in creamy bleu cheese dressing and salty bacon….not very vegan.
So I started with a base of iceberg and a creamy tahini dressing. That seemed to need some tomatoes and olives, and then it was getting so Mediterranean, it definitely needed falafel. And by the time I was adding sprouts and zucchini? Well, those just sounded good.
You’re going to love this salad! Crunchy, fresh vegetables, briney olives, fragrant baked falafel, and a creamy dressing. In the words of Ina, “How easy is that?” 😉
*Note, I tried this salad without the falafel, and it’s still pretty awesome! This falafel recipe is lightly adapted from Ella Woodward’s recipe in the Deliciously Ella cookbook. I removed the pine nuts and baked for far less time. Stores well in a lunchbox with the falafel and dressing on the side.
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 Tablespoons sticky sweetener, like date syrup or Steen’s syrup
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 Tablespoon turmeric
- 1 Tablespoon tahini
- 2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Handful fresh cilantro
- Flour of your choice for dusting
- 3 Tablespoons tahini
- 2 Tablespoons almond milk
- 1 teaspoon Za’atar seasoning (or sub Herbs de Provence)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, roughly torn and rinsed
- ¼ cup pitted green olives, halved
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 zucchini, shaved in ribbons (use a potato peeler!)
- ½ cup pea shoots (or other sprouts)
- Salt + Pepper for seasoning
- To make the falafel, add garlic, sweetener, applesauce, cumin, turmeric, and tahini to a food processor and pulse until grainy. Add the chickpeas and cilantro, and pulse until sandy in texture. Season with salt and pepper.
- Shape the into patties (you should have 10-12), lightly coat with flour, and space evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.** Bake in 400ºF oven for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl or jar and whisk or shake to combine. Chill until ready to serve.
- To assemble the salad, layer the lettuce, green olives, cherry tomatoes, shaved zucchini, and pea shoots in a large bowl. Top with 2-3 falafel each, then drizzle liberally with dressing. Season with salt and cracked pepper, and serve immediately!
The Waco Vegan is no longer updated. You can find me over at RandleBrowning.com instead.