I was thisclose to making another falafel recipe, but then I had an Epiphany.
Falafel are a lot of work, and that’s coming from someone who willingly spends hours in the kitchen every day. If falafel seems daunting to me, then I know I’m not alone in that thought.
So, I compromised with a deconstructed bowl option. Full of couscous, pickled onions, cucumber, tomatoes, a lemon yogurt sauce and of course, seasoned, crispy chickpeas. It tastes like a falafel sandwich, with a fraction of the work.
The secret in making crispy chickpeas is making sure they are very, very dry before placing them in the oven. I usually take a paper towel to roll over the beans, making sure they I’ve gotten as much moisture as possible before putting them in the oven. Then, I sprinkle them with a bit of olive oil and bake until perfectly crisp.
My goodness, crispy chickpeas are addicting. Even plain, I could eat a giant bowl of these things before getting to the table. I call for one can in this recipe, but I understand if you need to use two. It’s amazing how fast they go once they are out of the oven and seasoned.
I usually shy away from raw onions in salads, but these quick-pickled onions provide the right amount of sweetness, without the usual harsh bite.
To pickle, thinly slice the onion (using either a knife, mandolin or food processor), then place in a bowl. Cover with red wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar and coriander seeds, if desired. Then place a heavy object on top to submerge the onions in the vinegar mixture. I do this as soon as I put the chickpeas in the oven. Once the chickpeas are done, I know the onions are as well.
It wouldn’t be a falafel-like bowl without a creamy yogurt sauce and for this, I turn to my favorite yogurt brand- Maple Hill Creamery. I’ve spoken on my love for them before and ever since discovering them last year, I’ve been hooked.
If you’ve been avoiding whole milk yogurt because of the fat content, well, you’ve been missing out. For years I only ate fat-free dairy: skim milk in my lattes and fat-free yogurt for snack. As a baby of the 80’s, it’s what I’d been conditioned to think as healthy. Even in nutrition school, the notion of low-fat dairy was drilled into our heads as a better option than whole milk.
And while low-fat options can be delicious, these days you’ll often find me preferring the full-fat stuff. Whole-milk products lack the usual additives and sweeteners that fat-free products rely on to make them taste good. There’s no binding ingredients, artificial sweeteners or other unnecessary items. Next time, try a full fat latte or whole-milk yogurt – you’ll notice it’s much more satisfying and flavorful than the other options.
This recipe fits in perfectly for National Nutrition Month’s theme of “put your best fork forward,” a reminder that making small changes over time helps improve health. A bowl loaded with protein, healthy fats, whole grains and vegetables? A perfect fit in my book.
I’m pretty picky about my dairy. As a mostly plant-based eater, when I include dairy in my diet, it needs to be high-quality. It’s why I’m a fan of grass-fed products, like Maple Hill Creamery.
Cows are ruminants, meaning they evolved to eat and thrive on highly fibrous plants and grasses (basically, low carb foods). Their rumen is a four-part digestive system with a very specific digestive flora and neutral pH.
So, it makes sense that what a cow eats directly affects their digestive health, and the makeup of the milk they produce. When cows eat corn, grain, and (high-carbohydrate) feed, their gut pH becomes acidic, disrupting the gut flora. Organic grass-fed dairy cows are healthier and live about twice as long as conventionally-fed cows.
It’s healthier for the cows and healthier for us. Milk from 100% grass-fed cows has a more favorable fatty acid profile than milk from grain-fed cows. It is higher in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in omega-6 fatty acids. While omega-6 fatty acids aren’t unhealthy, it’s the ratio that’s off for many of us. We get too many omega-6 fatty acids, not enough omega-3s. (See my post here on omega-3 fats and vegetarian diets).
This bowl is so yummy, I can’t wait for you to try it. While the chickpeas will lose their crunch after a day or so, the rest of the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time for easy meal-time assembly. That’s my favorite part about bowl meals, make all of the ingredients in bulk, then layer into bowls whenever you need a nourishing meal.
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
Want to see how to make this recipe? Video below!
Mediterranean Yogurt Bowl, just like a falafal sandwich! Crispy chickpeas, tomatoes, mint, parsley, couscous, pickled onion and a tangy yogurt sauce.
- 3/4 cup uncooked couscous
- 1 15 ounce. can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted very dry with towel
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
- 1/4 cup seeded and peeled cucumber, finely chopped
- 1 cup Maple Hill Plain Cream-on-Top yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Cook couscous according to package directions. Fluff with a fork, then set aside to let cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the dry chickpeas with olive oil, then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Let cook for 30 minutes until crispy, then toss with cayenne, cumin and paprika.
- Mix together the thinly sliced onions, red wine vinegar and coriander seeds in a bowl. Place a smaller bowl on top of the onions, then place a heavy object on top to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
- Make the yogurt sauce: toss together the yogurt, finely chopped cucumber, dill, garlic and pinch salt and pepper. Season to taste, as needed, and set aside.
- When ready to serve, add the parsley and mint to the couscous. Divide among 4 bowls, then add the chickpeas, tomatoes, pickled onions and cucumbers. Spoon yogurt sauce on top and serve.
Thanks again to Maple Hill Creamery for sponsoring this post. I’ll be back later this week sharing my tips for traveling internationally on a budget and a delicious potato soup.