Mediterranean Cuisine is another fascinating domain that I love to explore. I enjoy the generous use of exotic spices and create bold flavorful dishes that are typical of this world-famous cuisine. Best thing about this cuisine is that it promotes the use of raw vegetables, beans, whole grains, garlic, and olive oil in abundance. Overall, it is a very healthy diet to follow. Also, fresh herbs form an important aspect of it. The common ones are parsley, cilantro, thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano, and sage. And due to my craving for these fresh herbs, I created this ultimate Mediterranean salad with falafel. A drizzle of tahini and lemon dressing over this salad gave that perfect citric punch.
My love affair with this cuisine began long ago when I first visited Dubai for a family getaway. Middle Eastern Cuisine and Mediterranean Cuisine are quite similar because the Middle East and Mediterranean regions overlap. Greek, Turkish, and the Arab foods of countries that were part of the Ottoman empire share similar cooking styles, dishes, and ingredients. There are so many common threads with the recipes from these countries. One cannot define the use of ingredients and their preparation across these neighboring borders. When people think about Mediterranean food, Greece is often the country they’re contemplating. Greece is at the heart of the Mediterranean, but there are influences from the east and west too. For some, it’s merely food from all those nations adjoining the Mediterranean Sea. It includes southern Europe, northern Africa, and southwest Asia as well.
Adding falafel to Mediterranean salad
Falafel is an ultimate Israeli street food, which people mostly consume by stuffing it into pita bread. But you can add falafel to salads too to make them more filling. I love doing falafels as part of my weekly meal planning. They store well for up to 5-6 days in the fridge. And so I get to enjoy my Mediterranean Salad more than once. Traditionally, the recipe calls for ground chickpeas, onions, parsley, garlic, and choice of spices. The mixture gets rolled into even-sized balls and typically deep-fried. It results in crispy texture from outside, yet soft from inside. However, I wanted to try the baked version as well to see the difference. Taste-wise, deep-fried ones were a tiny bit better. Though, I feel baked falafels are more worthy ones. You save time doing the actual cooking, and also, they are much healthier due to low-fat content.
Falafel has become mainstream globally. Many vegan restaurants worldwide that don’t have any ties to Middle Eastern or Mediterranean cuisine still serve it. Falafel is a great source of plant-based protein and provides one more vegan protein option amongst others. You can compare falafels to vegetarian kababs, which kind of share the same family history. Both came into existence when people from the lower and middle class looked for affordable options due to the shortage of meat. However, today people love eating falafel and other plant-based proteins due to their health benefits. Find the recipe for falafel and veg galouti kebab to add some healthy source of protein to your plant-based meals.
Other favorite elements to use in Mediterranean dishes
Besides, Mediterranean Salad I love adding falafels to wraps as well. I also make disc-shaped patties of falafel for making burgers and sandwiches. They freeze well and that way I can use them anytime my family or I are in the mood to add them in our meals. Hummus and tahini are other favorites and makes for a great option as a spread on wraps and toasts. I also enjoy them in my snack as a dip along cut veggies. Fermented olives and olive oil, an important Mediterranean food element, are a staple in my kitchen pantry. Garlic is an absolute must-have whether cooking a Mediterranean dish or not.
Honestly, there is not one but many ways to make a salad inspired by the Mediterranean flavors. Read this article to know ten types of salads you can make from this epic cuisine. A healthy diet is a cornerstone to achieve your health goals. The burst of flavors and wholesomeness of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern food delights my taste buds. And if you too enjoy these, then consider trying my recipe for Mediterranean Salad.
- 7-8 Falafels
- 1 cup fresh chopped Parsley
- 1 cup fresh chopped Cilantro
- 1/2 cup grated/shredded Beetroot
- 1/2 cup grated/shredded Carrots
- 1/2 cup thinly and half sliced Cucumber
- 8-10 Kalamata or Green Olives, pitted
- 1/4 cup Pomegranate arils
- Bunch of Salad Greens (I use readymade mix of salad greens that contains arugula, spinach, kale, and lettuce leaves), as per need and taste
- 1 teaspoon Black & White Sesame Seeds each
- For Dressing:
- 2 tbsp Tahini
- Juice of one whole Lemon
- Salt, as per taste
- 1/2 Black Pepper Powder
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1-2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Honey (optional)
- 1-2 tsp Greek Yogurt (optional)
- In a salad bowl or platter, mix all the ingredients except those for the dressing.
- For falafel balls, consider crushing them into small bits for easy mixing. This way, falafel will absorb more flavors from the salad dressing and greens. (Make falafels in advance by following this easy recipe.)
- In a small bowl, add all the ingredients mentioned under the salad dressing section. Mix everything thoroughly.
- Drizzle freshly prepared salad dressing over the salad or mix it all in.
- Sprinkle few black and white sesame seeds over the salad. (You can also add other seeds like hemp or pumpkin seeds for extra nutrition and crunch.)