THESE. This recipe is where all my cozy comfort food dreams have been lately. Baked Pea Falafel with Sesame Rice Balls, all wrapped up in a beautiful little bowl full of fiber, veggies, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. A true Nourish Bowl made with one of my favorite ingredients this year – pulses!
Who doesn’t love a good falafel? What about a warming bowl of rice, veggies, and everything to make your fall a bit more cozy? My body naturally gravitates towards warming foods both from an Ayurvedic standpoint (warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, etc.) and literally warm or hot foods. I’m a believer in listening to our bodies and letting them adapt naturally to the season. I promise if you listen in, your body will tell you what foods it needs to nourish from the inside. This recipe is a favorite because it’s all of the above AND it tastes delicious! Added bonus, you can make a huge batch of falafel for the week ahead to have some leftovers. Some of my favorite ways to serve this is macrobiotic style. To do so, make a bowl of steamed kale or spinach, layer steamed acorn squash, zucchini, and add the pea falafel, sesame rice balls, and top it with a splash of nama shoyu or coconut amino acids, tahini, and olive oil. It’s SO simple and delicious. My kinda dinner meal.
This is a plant-based meal that really packs the flavor. I get a lot of questions from friends and clients about what I eat for dinner if I don’t eat meat. WELL let me tell ya that there are endless options, including this falafel meal that’s also gluten-free and packed with plant-based protein! Typically falafel is made with refined or wheat flour and then deep fried, which if you know my story you know that neither one of those would go over well with my digestive system. My take on falafel uses gluten-free flour (the recipe calls for brown rice flour but you can sub for gluten-free all purpose flour as well), 2 cups of peas (which has 16 g of protein!), and delicious flavor from parsley, cilantro, mint, and cumin. You won’t even be missed the deep fried falafel once you try these!
Peas are not only a great source of protein but they’re also super affordable and in the family of pulses that I’ve been sharing in partnership with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada this year. I’ve shared on a host of fun recipes showcasing just how versatile pulses are in our diet. In case you missed them, check out the Blissed Out Black Bean Burger, Black Bean Quinoa Taco Lettuce Wraps, Avocado Boats – Three Ways, Simple French Inspired Lentil Salad, and Beautifying Black Bean Brownies. Pulses are a sustainable source of plant-based protein that ANYONE can and should incorporate into their diet for added minerals, protein, and fiber. Plus, they make really amazing falafel. 2016 has been declared the international year of the pulses. Pulses…so hot right now. For 2016 I’ve taken the Pulse Pledge of adding pulses to at least one meal a week, which as you can see from all of the recipes on through the partnership that is a very easy thing to do!
- For the Baked Pea Falafel:
- 2 cups cooked peas
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds, shelled
- ⅓ cup red onion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons of each fresh chopped parsley, cilantro, mint
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 juiced lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon brown rice flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- For the Sesame Rice Balls:
- 2 cups black forbidden or wild rice
- 1/4 cup white and black sesame seeds, mixed together
- Vegetable stock as the liquid
- Garnish/bowl options: steamed greens (like collard, kale, spinach, etc.), steamed veggies like carrots, zucchini squash, with avocado, a drizzle of tahini, splash of nama shoyu, etc.
- [b]For the Baked Pea Falafel:[/b]
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Pulse sunflower seeds in a blender or a food processor for about 30 seconds or until they’re roughly chopped. Add peas and pulse 1 minute.
- You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Keeping pulsing until the mixture is slightly coarse and well combined.
- Transfer into a mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients (chopped herbs, spices, flour, baking powder) and stir until combined into a “dough”.
- Using your hands, form 18 small round falafels and place on a lined baking sheet (I use parchment paper).
- Bake at 375 degrees F, turning each falafel halfway through baking until all falafels are evenly golden brown. This takes about 25-30 minutes total.
- If keeping for later, store them in an airtight glass container for up to 1 week. Reheat by popping into the oven or toaster oven until heated through and crisp again.
- [b]For the Sesame Rice Balls:[/b]
- Cook the wild rice to package instructions using vegetable stock instead of water. Let the rice slightly cool off before handling, then take about 1/4 cup of the rice and firmly press in the palm of your hands forming a ball. You can use a bit of water on your hands to help it stick.
- Combine black and white sesame seeds in a bowl and roll each ball into the black and white sesame seeds, repeating with all the rice making a total of 8 rice balls.
- To serve, place falafel and rice balls into a bowl of your favorite steamed greens (like collard, kale, spinach, etc.), steamed veggies like carrots, zucchini squash, with avocado, a drizzle of tahini or cashew cream, a splash of nama shoyu, etc.
Let me know what you think about this recipe by sharing in the comments or leaving a rating! And if you make it at home, be sure to share on Instagram with #nutritionstripped so that I can see a pic! Cheers to plant-based dinners and feeling amazing!
Photos by Kelsey Cherry
This post was created in partnership with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada. All opinions and endorsements are my own. Thank you for supporting brands and organizations that support the team behind NS!
p.s. Love this simple make-ahead meal and want even more ideas? Sign up for the NS Society and get healhty meal plans, grocery lists, wellness, guides, and a supportive community. Learn more here.