This is always sort of a strange time around Carpé Season. The days feel more and more like fall. I wake up and the first thing I do is put on my Smartwool socks. We pack jackets for our walks. My neck wants its scarves back.
Yet, at least in Minnesota, the farmers markets still have summer all over their tables. There are still tomatoes and peppers and zucchini in abundance. Squash are starting to show up, but they are right alongside the bell peppers and sweet corn. It’s a little seasonally confusing.
So, while the rest of the world is starting to crave pumpkin everything, I am giving you a salad. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that both my babies, while in utero, have craved Greek food like someone out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I could probably eat a gyro every night of the week at this point. My dreams are filled with tzatziki sauce.
So this salad is my slightly healthier alternative to that scenario. I got this recipe from one of my favorite blogs – Cheap Recipe Blog. I changed up the falafel mix from Haley’s wonderful recipe just slightly: swapping out the parsley for cilantro and adding a little more flour to the mix to keep the falafels together a little better. After frying these little Greek wonders up, I threw them on top of a salad of greens, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, cucumbers, and feta. Finally, I had made a homemade tzatziki feta sauce that I used as a dressing. We served this salad with pita wedges toasted with olive oil and garlic salt…and then proceeded to eat every last bite.
This salad is summer’s last call. Don’t miss it.
(recipe slightly adapted from Cheap Recipe Blog )
(yields 2-3 servings as a meal, 4-5 as a side dish)
A summery salad of mixed greens and vegetables topped with these easy homemade falafels, feta, and a homemade feta tzatziki sauce.
For the Falafel:
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small onion, finely minced
3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp. olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
pinch hot pepper flakes
2-4 tbsp. flour
3-5 tbsp. of olive oil, for frying
For the Salad:
app. 6 c. mixed greens, Romaine, or spinach, chopped
1 c. tomatoes, chopped (I like to use Romas or cherry tomoates)
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
1/4 to 1/2 onion, depending on size, thinly sliced
5 oz. or 1/3 c. feta, crumbled
Dressing: Homemade feta tzatziki sauce (recipe below), or any olive oil & balsamic vinegar blend
For the Salad:
Assemble a mixture of greens, tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion, and feta on each plate and have ready.
For the Falafel:
In a food processor, mince your garlic, onion, leaving a few small pieces (not totally puréed). Add your chickpeas and 1 tbsp. olive oil in batches until the mixture is mostly smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl, and mix in the lemon juice, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper flakes. Add in 1 tbsp. of flour at a time, mixing thoroughly until the mixture is wet but starting to hold together somewhat. Form them into little patties, approximately the size of an Oreo. Place patties on a parchment-paper lined plate or baking sheet and place in freezer for about 20 minutes.
Prepare a plate or baking sheet by lining it with a couple layers of paper towels. Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Place a few falafels into the hot oil, being sure not to crowd them or have them touching each other. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, gently checking 1 or 2 to see when the bottoms are starting to brown. When starting to brown, gently flip the falafels over, allowing the other side to brown, about 2 minutes. The falafels may fall apart or lose shape a bit, but just use your spatula to help re-form them as they cook. Remove cooked falafels from pan and place on your paper-towel-lined plate.
Continue to cook falafels in batches, adding more olive oil between batches as needed. Be careful not to add too much oil, or it will begin to splatter.
Once falafels are cooked and drained, top your assembled salads with them and serve with your dressing of choice.
Best eaten immediately.
(Recipe by Carpé Season) (yields app. 1 1/2 cups)
This recipe for homemade tzatziki sauce is full of flavor and easy to make. I like to add just a hint of feta to mine. The amount listed here makes a bit more than you need for the salad listed above, giving you a little leftover to use as a dip!
1 small cucumber (or 1/2 a medium), prepared as directed below
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tbsp. fresh dill, minced
2 tbsp. feta, (app. 1 oz feta), minced
3/4 c. Greek yogurt
1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
About an hour ahead of preparing the rest of your sauce, prepare your cucumber :
Peel your cucumber. Cut in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Cut cucumber into large slices, place them in a colander, and sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes and drain.
After thirty minutes, either food process or mince your cucumber. Once cut, dump onto a triple-layered paper towel. Gather up the sides of the paper towels around the pile of minced cucumbers (making sort of a "satchel") and squeeze out as much excess liquid as you can without breaking the paper towels. You may need to do this in batches until all the cucumbers have been squeezed.
Place drained and minced cucumbers into a bowl and set aside.
Prepare your Sauce:
Mince or food process your garlic, dill, and feta. Add these to your bowl of cucumbers. Gently stir in the Greek yogurt, white wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Then season to taste.
Allow to sit (in the fridge) for at least 2 hours before serving to let the flavors mingle.
This sauce keeps well in the fridge for about 5 days.