A layered salad that is much easier to serve and eat than when stuffed into pocket pita. To make it quicker, use purchased hummus and shredded lettuce. Also make Israeli Salad in a processor.
32 purchased fully cooked or half-baked falafel (thawed frozen or refrigerated)
olive oil (spray or liquid)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
1/2 cup tahini
2-4 tablespoons ice water, more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Persian or hothouse English cucumbers, diced, do not peel
1 1/2 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup minced sweet onion
1/2 cup minced sweet bell peppers, any color
3/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
ISRAELI CABBAGE SALAD
(optional but really nice)
(or just add shredded cabbage to the Israeli Salad)
1/4 Head of Cabbage, finely shredded
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
5 or 6 4-inch middle eastern garlic sour pickles (no dill), sliced 1/8″ thick
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
6 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup tahini
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large pinch ground cumin
1 pinch cayenne pepper
3/4 cup ice water as needed
8 GOOD QUALITY Pocket Pita, cut in half
First, start the falafel:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Place thawed falafel in a single layer in an olive oil brushed 13 x 9″ lasagna pan. Smash falafel a bit to make a fairly solid flat layer.
Spray or brush with a moderate coating of olive oil and bake for 20 minutes until fairly crispy. Set aside to cool completely.
Meanwhile make the hummus:
Place the chickpeas in a medium saucepan and add the baking soda. Cover the chickpeas by several inches of water, then bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling, reducing heat if necessary to prevent overflow, for about 20 minutes, or until the chickpeas look bloated, their skins are falling off, and they’re quite soft. In a fine-mesh strainer, drain the chickpeas and run cool water over them for about 30 seconds. Set aside (no need to peel the chickpeas for this recipe!).
Meanwhile, in a food processor or high-powered blender, combine the lemon juice, garlic and salt. Process until the garlic is very finely chopped, then let the mixture rest so the garlic flavor can mellow, ideally 10 minutes or longer.
Add the tahini to the food processor and blend until the mixture is thick and creamy, stopping to scrape down any tahini stuck to the sides and bottom of the processor as necessary.
While running the food processor, drizzle in 2 tablespoons ice water. Scrape down the food processor, and blend until the mixture is ultra smooth, pale and creamy. (If your tahini was extra-thick to begin with, you might need to add 1 to 2 tablespoons more ice water).
Add the cumin and the drained, over-cooked chickpeas to the food processor. While blending, drizzle in the olive oil. Blend until the mixture is super smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor as necessary, about 2 minutes. Add more ice water by the tablespoon if necessary to achieve a super creamy texture. Taste and adjust salt and lemon juice as necessary. Set aside. Taste, and adjust as necessary
Prepare the Israeli Salad:
Place the diced cucumbers into a large mixing bowl along with all the other ingredients. Mix until vegetables are well coated with parsley, oil, lemon juice, and salt.
Prepare the Israeli Cabbage Salad:
To a blender add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt. Blend until smooth. Shred or finely chop cabbage. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.
Prepare Tahini Sauce:
In a medium bowl, combine the garlic and lemon juice. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, to give the garlic time to infuse the lemon juice with flavor.
Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into another medium bowl. Press the garlic solids with a spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the garlic.
Add the tahini, salt, cumin and cayenne to the bowl. Whisk until the mixture is thoroughly blended. Add water 1/4 cup at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth (it may seize up, don’t worry.) After about 3/4 cup you will have a perfectly creamy and smooth, light-colored tahini sauce.
If desired, thin with additional water for a more drizzly sauce. Adjust if necessary—if you’d like more tang, add more lemon, or for more overall flavor, add another pinch of salt.
Spread cooled Falafel with the Hummus, top with Israeli Salad, Cabbage Salad, Pickles, and Shredded Lettuce. Drizzle with Tahini Sauce, reserving some to add later.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Keeps at least 24 hours if necessary.
Serve with Pita halves.