For me it’s all about freshness, vibrancy and the local movement when it comes to food; nothing says summer like just-picked veggies + BC stone fruit. Here in Alberta, we are so lucky to have local growers all over the place pumping out loads of baby carrots, tomatoes and greens galore. Luckier even still, to be positioned beside British Columbia with acres upon acres of fruit orchards, berry bushes and the most amazing wild mushrooms.
Total bliss, let me tell you.
Having such stores of abundance in my backyard is wonderful, seeing the farmers market filled with organic options, pesticide herbicide and chemical crap free – amazing. In celebration of how amazing that is, I have been going nuts on the local fare. Every trip I make for groceries results in something new that has just begun fruiting, a herb that is in it’s prime, oh I just love the summer time.
Having seasonal goods absolutely everywhere makes eating vibrantly really simple; I’m mentally storing up the colors and the crispness of fresh tomatoes for the cooler winter months when we can no longer get them locally. Preserving as much as possible, buying imported tomatoes from Mexico isn’t really my thing and in any case, I try to lessen my carbon footprint as much as possible.
Another bonus to summer eats is that so often the days are hot to the point that cooking is the least desirable thing to do. Save heating the house up any more than it is and eat something raw, save the occasional cooked option for early morning while the breeze has a bit of an edge and the kitchen is unbathed in sunshine.
In short, these two-way (oh hey, versatility) falafel salad wraps are totally primo for summer – bake the falafel in the morning before it gets too hot and whip up a wrap OR a salad once things warm up. Easy for picnicking, taking on a hike or enjoying in your favorite sunny spot.
The inner workings of this recipe is inspired by a few of my favorite Lebanese meals, always a bit of pickled somethings for kick – in this case some ultra dilly last years pickles. Hummus, made zesty with a small whole lemon and loads of cumin; of course, then the fresh ripe beautiful tomatoes, mint, and crazy vibrant chard + herby falafel.
Falafel, little balls of warm crisp deliciousness. I quite enjoy falafel, they are easy to make and can be changed completely with the addition of various herbs and spices. This falafel recipe is spiked with basil giving it a very distinctive taste, that tingly delicious basil taste. (Much different from the warming earthiness of this recipe).
- Head to the farmers market, invest in and support local growers in your area
- Get in as much of the seasonal freshness as humanly possible! Seriously, soak it allll up!
- Try introducing a few extra raw components to your meals, cool the house down and yourself too
- Remember that adding raw vegetables and fruit to your daily intake also ups your hydration levels – a big bonus for summertime!
- 1 Can Chickpeas
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 1 Lemon
- ½-1 Cup Fresh Basil
- ½ Cup Sesame Seeds
- ¼ Cup Pine Nuts
- ⅓ Cup Toasted Sesame Oil
- Pinch of Salt + Chili Pepper Flakes
- 1 Bunch of Chard
- 1 Handful of Mint
- 2 Large Tomatoes
- To make the falafel, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper
- Rough dice the onion, peel the lemon, open the chickpeas and drain
- Add chickpeas, onion, lemon, basil, sesame seeds, pine nuts and oil to a food processor - blend until it forms a rough dough like consistency
- Season with salt and chili flakes
- Using an ice cream scoop, or large spoon, scoop out individual balls of falafel dough onto the prepared cookie sheet
- Bake for 30 minutes, broil for the final 5 then allow to cool completely on a wire wrack (don't worry if they seem soft - they'll firm up!)
- Trim chard stems if making wraps - if making salad, rough chop chard
- Dice tomatoes, pickles, tear mint
- If making wraps, spread a bit of hummus down the center then dress with desired topping and fold over
- If making salad, mix everything in a bowl topping with a dollop of hummus
* Lately my favorite hummus recipe is an ultra simple 1 can of chickpeas, 2 tablespoons of whole cumin seeds, 1 small lemon (cut the peel off but leave whole), and a pinch of smoked salt – add everything to a blender with enough oil to emulsify and voila! Tasty, easy, and no garlic breath!