Falafel with Strawberry Salsa and Cashew Dip

Have you ever got one of those crazy ideas, one that sounds so weird but you got the feeling that you despite that incongruous sensation really have to try because it could turn out really, really good? Will it be a flip or a flop? Today’s recipe started as such an insane idea. Luckily for me it turned out pretty great, otherwise we wouldn’t have got any dinner that evening a few days ago.

As you probably have understood by the title this recipe includes falafel, strawberry salsa and cashew dip. Add to this a flatbread of your choice and some fresh veggies and you’re good to go. It’s not as bad and weird as it sounds, I promise! In fact the sweetness from the strawberries is well balanced with the savory notes from lime and balsamic and the heat of jalapeño just gives everything an interesting twist. Instead of the classic humus I decided to make a cashew sauce with a hint of sundried tomatoes. This sauce is not only great with falafel; I bet it will come in handy many times for example accompanied with grilled chicken or salmon, veggie wraps and as a nice dip for crudities. The nuts give the dip and incredible creamy consistency and body, and the tomatoes add sweetness and fruitiness. I came to realize that the combination of tomatoes, cashews and strawberries is super and something that I will try in other contexts. The nutty, herbal falafel accompanied with fresh veggies just makes the dish complete. And who would have thought that what started as a foolish idea should turn out this great.

This recipe also happens to be my contribution to Månadens Gröna, the blogg challenge I told you about a month ago. To see my contribution from last month click here. I figure you already have guessed what veggie or fruit that is the star this month? Strawberries! Obviously!

Falafel with Strawberry Salsa and Cashew Dip – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

Falafel
250 g dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1 yellow onion
4 garlic cloves
20 g parsley
40 g coriander/cilantro
2 ½ tsp salt
1 tsk cayenne pepper
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp baking powder
30 g gram flour (aka chickpea flour)
25 g lemon juice (½)
1 tsp tahini
Neutral oil

Strawberry salsa
600 g strawberries
150 g red onion (1 piece)
2 jalapeños
30 g lime
40 g coriander/cilantro
10 g balsamic vinegar
Salt
Black pepper

Cashew dip
200 g unsalted cashew nuts
1 garlic clove
100 g sun-dried tomatoes
150 g water + extra for dilution
50 g neutral oil
Salt
Black pepper

To serve
6 pieces of pita or some other kind of flatbread
Avocado
Iceberg lettuce
Tomatoes
Coriander/cilantro

Preparation:

Falafel. Rinse the chickpeas and cover them with a lot of cold water (the water level should be a few centimeters above the peas). Let them soak for 12-24 hours. Drain the peas and put them in a food processor. Roughly chop the onion, garlic and herbs and add to the mixer together with the rest of the ingredients. Use the pulse function on your mixer and pulse until small crumbs are formed. You don’t want to mix the ingredients too fine because then it will just stick on your fingers when forming into falafels. You also don’t want your chickpea chunks to be too big. Have the size of the breadcrumbs used for the sponge cake tin as a benchmark.

For a mix that is easier to form into balls I recommend you to rest it in the fridge for about an hour. I was hungry and didn’t rest mine but it worked fine anyway, it was just a bit stickier. Roll the mixture into balls or patties. About a tablespoon of mixture per falafel is a good amount. Add a generous glug of neutral oil into a pan and warm to medium high heat. Shallow fry (when about half the item is covered in oil, compared to deep frying when the whole item is concealed) the falafels for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Flip the falafels a few times during the cooking and let them then drain on a paper towel.

Cahsew dip. Soak the cashews in cold water for at least an hour. Drain the nuts and add them, alongside with roughly chopped garlic, sundried tomatoes and the oil, into a container or a food processor. I placed mine in a container and used a hand blender to puree everything into a thick paste. Add a little water at the time under constant mixing. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Strawberry salsa. Peal and finely chop the red onion. Hull and chop the strawberries into pieces. Finley chop the jalapeño and coriander. Combine all the chopped ingredients with some lime juice, balsamic vinegar and add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

To serve. Warm the pita or flatbreads in a 125 °C oven for a few minutes to create a newly baked feeling. Meanwhile chop up any veggies of your choice, I used avocado, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce and coriander, but feel free to use whatever you like. Smear the breads with cashew dip bread, add veggies and falafel and top everything of with some strawberry salsa.

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