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Baked Red Lentil Falafel Salad Recipe

Baked Red Lentil Falafel Salad

Makes 20 falafels and 2 salad servings


For the falafels:

1 cup dry split red lentils
2 cups loosely-packed Italian parsley leaves, stems removed
2 cups loosely-packed cilantro leaves, stems removed
5 garlic cloves
1 red onion
1 to 2 serrano peppers, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons whole sesame seed tahini paste
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 to 3 tablespoons chickpea flour (or whole spelt/whole wheat/all-purpose)
Olive oil spray

For the tahini dressing:

1/3 cup whole sesame seed tahini paste
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons water
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/4 cup minced Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the salad:

3 cups shredded lacinato (Tuscan) kale
3 carrots, shaved into ribbons
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Soak the lentils in fresh water overnight. When ready to make the falafels, strain and rinse the soaked lentils. Make sure to pick through the batch and discard any stones or debris.

In a food processor, pulse the lentils until they are coarsely ground, 3 to 5 times. Add the parsley, cilantro, garlic, onion, and serrano pepper to the bowl, and pulse another few times. Drizzle in the tahini paste, olive oil, spices, salt and pepper, and blend until almost smooth. Make sure not to over blend the mixture; you still want some crumb. Taste the mixture, and adjust the seasoning according to your liking. Add the baking soda and the chickpea flour. Start by adding 1 tablespoon of chickpea flour at a time. If the mixture is still too liquidy add another. The mixture should be fairly moist, and if you add too much flour, the falafels will become too dry and hard when baked. I wouldn't add more than 3 tablespoons.

Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 375° F.

To make the tahini dressing, whisk the tahini paste, lemon juice, water together until creamy. Mix in the grated garlic clove, minced parsley, paprika, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss the salad ingredients together.

Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out 2 tablespoons of the refrigerated falafel mixture into the palm of your hand. Roll into a ball and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Generously coat the falafels with olive oil spray and bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Make sure not to over cook these — you don't want them to dry out.

To serve, plate the falafels over a bed of kale-carrot salad with a heaping dollop (or two) of tahini dressing.

Recipe Notes

To keep the recipe gluten free, I chose chickpea flour to bind the ingredients together, but any flour would work well here.

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