I have a really lovely salad recipe for you today. It was inspired by the Tahini Sauce from Trader Joe’s, which is a very tasty blend of tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. I created an easy tahini dressing just by stirring a bit of milk into the sauce to thin it out a bit. Of course, if I was going to use a tahini dressing, then my salad obviously had to be topped with falafel! I added pumpkin puree to my chickpea mix, which resulted in very creamy falafel. I coated the outside of each falafel ball with panko and fried them up in some canola oil until the outsides were crispy. Yum!
I also added a hefty dose of butternut squash to my salad since it’s currently in season, and I really liked how the sweetness of the butternut squash was so well balanced with the bite of the tahini dressing. In the summer though, I think adding tomatoes and cucumbers instead would also be really delicious. Oh, and I also had planned to add some coarsely chopped pita chips to add a bit of crunch like croutons do, but the chips somehow all disappeared before I had the chance to make the salad….oops. Trader Joe’s really needs to sell bigger bags of pita chips!
Pumpkin Falafel Romaine Salad with Butternut Squash and Tahini Dressing
Roasted Butternut Squash:
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 15.5-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups panko, divided
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons canola oil
For Salad Assembly:
2 hearts of romaine, chopped
4 teaspoons milk
1 8-ounce container Trader Joe’s Tahini Sauce
To make the roasted butternut squash, heat oven to 400˚F. Place squash on a large baking sheet and drizzle evenly with olive oil and salt; mix until evenly coated. Bake squash for 22-28 minutes at 400˚F or until tender.
To make the pumpkin falafel, place chickpeas, pumpkin puree, 1 cup panko, onion, flour, garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt in a food processor and pulse until well combined, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the food processor as needed. Form a ball with the dough and place on a clean work surface. Form dough into 24 balls and coat in remaining 1/2 cup panko. Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Place 8 balls in the skillet and fry until golden brown, turning so all sides are cooked evenly, about 6 minutes. Repeat with remaining balls and canola oil.
To assemble the salad, place romaine and butternut squash in a large bowl and mix well. Evenly distribute salad among 6 plates and top each with 4 falafel balls. Stir milk into the tahini sauce and spoon dressing on top of the salads. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition: 550 calories, 29.0g fat, 13.8g fiber, 13.7g protein per serving
Cost: $2.05 per serving