I will start by saying that Crock Pot falafels are another of my most favorite slow cooker meals. This recipe could easily be cooked up in a frying pan with a bit of oil and still be pretty healthy, but slow cooking it is super hands off and only requires enough oil to keep the patties from sticking to the bottom. The recipe I follow can be found on the CrockPot365 blog. This could not be quicker or easier to throw together. I literally put everything in the food processor (forget mashing the chickpeas with a fork) and pulse together. If it's still kind of wet but I like the consistency of the ingredients, I'll take it out and fold in some breadcrumbs until it sticks together without being too wet. If you're like me and are impatient/thorough/picky about your seasonings, make a small patty and cook it on the stove top to taste the finished product. Much easier to adjust your seasoning now than later! Once you're happy, patty them up, throw them in the Crock Pot, and a few hours later without any flipping you've got falafel that would rival any I've had in a restaurant or from a street cart!
*Quick note here- yesterday I had gluten free breadcrumbs on my shopping list. I thought about it and realized I had a massive amount of breadcrumbs at home (I make my own when bread is on its last leg and save in the freezer), AND this easily falls into the 80/20 theory. Seriously, you're not eating enough bread crumbs in this recipe to have a huge impact on the fact that it's gluten/gluten free (unless you're going gluten free for a medical reason, then by all means follow your guidelines). But for me, it makes more sense to use up my breadcrumbs at home than worry about being strict about such a small ingredient!*
I originally intended the Raw Broccoli Hummus to be strictly a snack item. This was easy to make right after the falafel because I already had the food processor out. This is another little recipe that takes less than 5 minutes from start to finish and is really super duper healthy! Throw everything into the food processor, pulse, whir, taste, season, finished! I ended up drizzling some olive oil in at the last few seconds to thin it out a little bit. When I tasted it I realized immediately that it would end up making a REALLY good condiment for my falafel! I usually make a sauce with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and dill (that's it, easy) but I figured this would be a good way to balance out my use of regular breadcrumbs (sneaking into that 20%) by not eating the dairy.
As you can see on the photo used on the site with the recipe for the raw broccoli hummus, they've got it nicely wrapped up in a collard leaf with tomatoes. I usually throw my falafel in a pita with lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, and sauce, but figured why not. I put it in the collard with the broccoli hummus and tomatoes and it was AWESOME! Didn't miss the pita at all!
The hummus made a small tupperware bowl's worth which should last me the 3 days it says it will keep in the fridge. I plan on digging into it with celery sticks and carrots (ok... kinda missing pita chips here!) and continuing to use it as a spread/condiment for wraps. The falafel recipe makes 8-10 patties slightly smaller than the palm of your hand, usually enough for 2 per wrap or pita. I will reheat these for snacks by themselves but definitely I will be eating some more yummy collard wraps!
The Spicy Peanut Ginger Kale salad was a definite hit with me. I didn't use the pickled ginger, just doubled the fresh ginger in this recipe. Commercial pickled ginger is a little too processed for my liking right now, with sugars and food dye added (and also I didn't want to spend the money when I already had fresh on hand!) Other than that and using the Vidalia onion on hand vs. the red onion as called for, I followed the recipe almost exactly. I used only 1 big bunch of kale so it had lots of dressing and ended up with 2 huge side servings, or 3-4 smaller servings.
All 3 of these recipes will become regulars in my healthy eating rotation. They're all very quick, simple, CHEAP, and HUGE on flavor!!! I wanted to speak on the nutritional benefits of these 3 particular recipes but I've already written more than I intended, so I'll keep it short & sweet. The chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in the falafel are high in fiber and add to the detox benefits of this meal. It's also been proven that they help you feel more full and satisfied, meaning you eat less and feel full for longer, thus consuming less calories. The raw aspect of the broccoli hummus is important, because it means you're eating 100% of the vitamins and nutrients contained in the broccoli and zucchini. Even lightly steaming these veggies, which is seen as the most beneficial cooking method for preserving nutrients, depletes these veggies and means you don't get their full impact. If I talked about all the reasons kale should be in our diets every day I would seriously run out of space and you'd get bored. But I highly encourage you to check out this site to educate yourself about the awesomeness of kale. Trust me, you'll be seeing a lot of it in this blog!