Recipe by ALEJANDRA SCHRADER
Alejandra Schrader’s culinary career began after becoming a top finalist and fan-favorite on FOX’s MasterChef with Gordon Ramsay. For recipes and more visit alejandraschrader.com. Alejandra lives in Playa Vista.
Yield: 10-12 falafels, 5-6 lettuce “boats”
½ medium brown onion
3-4 medium cloves of garlic
⅔ cup (packed) wild arugula—substitute: parsley, spinach
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (~ 1 ups cooked beans)
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
3 tbsp oat flour—substitute: gluten-free or almond flour
Pinch of cardamom powder
2 pinches of ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ tsp coarse sea salt + more to taste
¼ cup rice crumbs – substitute: panko, bread crumbs
⅔ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup tahini paste
¼ cup cashews soaked in water for at least 4 hours, drained
1 clove of garlic
2 pinches of coarse sea salt + more to taste
2-3 tbsp cold water, if needed
5-6 romaine lettuce leaves
⅔ cup small diced, cored Roma tomato
¼ cup thinly sliced Persian cucumber
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Fresh herbs—parsley, scallions, chives
uarter onions and add to food processor along with whole garlic cloves. Process for about 30 seconds, until both are minced. Add all remaining ingredients with the exception of the rice crumbs and process for approximately 1 min, until mixture is creamy and homogeneous but a few bits of the garbanzo beans remain.
Transfer to bowl, cover, and set in the freezer for 30 minutes. This step is important in getting the mixture to the right consistency to pan-fry the falafel and so it does not break in the process. Be patient!
While you wait, prepare the lemon-tahini sauce. Method below.
Take falafel mixture out of the freezer and break into 10-12 even portions.
Using your clean hands, roll into balls and flatten into disks. Carefully roll each disk over rice crumbs and coat on all sides. Lay flat on platter or board.
Heat a small to medium pan over medium heat (the smaller it is, the less oil you will need.) Once hot, add 2-3 tbsp of olive oil to pan. Pan-fry each falafel for about 2 min on each side, until crispy and golden. Remove from pan and lay on a piece of paper towel to remove excess oil. Do this in batches, if necessary.
Add all ingredients to a blender and process for 1 minute, until it is smooth and creamy. Add 1 tbsp of water at a time and blend until you obtain the desired consistency. Set aside.
Arrange lettuce on a platter and place 2 falafels on each leaf. Top with diced tomato and add cucumber slices then drizzle lemon-tahini sauce over each “boat.” Sprinkle sesame seeds over sauce and garnish with fresh herbs.