Baked Falafel Salad With Mast-o-Khiar (Persian Cucumber Yoghurt)
This Baked Falafel Salad is perfect during warmer weather, served alongside a vegan Mast-o-Khiar, which is effectively a Persian-style cucumber yoghurt. It’s full of colours, flavours and textures, with some added crunch from chopped pistachios and sweetness from the beautiful pomegranate arils.
5 large handfuls mixed leaves (I used rocket and spinach)
1/2 large cucumber, chopped
Small handful fresh parsley, chopped
Small handful fresh mint, chopped
Few sprigs dill, chopped
One ripe avocado, pitted and diced
100g pomegranate arils
4 tbsp pistachios, finely chopped
For the Mast-o-Khiar –
1 cup dairy-free yoghurt (I used coconut yoghurt)
1/4 large cucumber, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried mint
Salt and pepper, to taste
Edible rose petals, to garnish (optional)
Start by making your falafel. Heat some oil in a pan and sauté the onion for a few minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook until lightly golden. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Place the cooled onion and garlic and remaining ingredients for your falafel – apart from the ground almonds – into a high-powered blender and blitz until lump-free and well-combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
Tip the falafel mixture into a bowl and stir in your ground almonds, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is no longer sticky and firm enough to handle. Add in more almonds, if needed, then season to taste. Pop onto a lined baking tray and leave to firm in the fridge for an hour.
In the meantime, make your Mast-o-Khiar. Drain the liquid from the cucumber using a tea towel. Place into a bowl and stir in all remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
To make the salad, toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.
Preheat your oven to 200C. Take your falafel mixture and form into small patties (we created eight). Roll in sesame seeds, if using, then place back on the baking tray. Bake in the warmed oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and crisp – the insides should still be fluffy, don’t overbake!
Remove cooked falafel from the oven and serve warm or cold alongside the salad and mast-o-khiar yoghurt dip.