hemp seed falafel salad

warm sunshine and springing the clocks ahead an hour this past weekend got me all giddy for springtime! it has inspired some lovely sunny afternoon walks,  the creation of all new seasonal menu offerings on kitchen surfing, and a burst of spring cleaning projects at home. it's been a very productive few days, and it's not even technically spring yet... on our latest trip to farmers market, we hauled home tons of root vegetables and winter greens, and a small bunch of radishes - the first little inkling that spring veggies are on their way! i'm bubbling with anticipation for asparagus season, when i can swap my daily routine of kale and eggs for asparagus toast. i'm equally excited for artichoke. there's usually a couple of months each spring when i steam artichoke on a near nightly basis, lapping up leaves dipped in my favorite vinaigrette, and fighting over the artichoke hearts with david. until then, my meals tend to revolve around kale, root vegetables and pantry staples like grains, nuts and seeds. 

this particular recipe, inspired by a post from sarah wilson, incorporates one of my new favorite superfoods... hemp seeds! these little jems are packed with protein, omega-3s and vitamin e. i'll use them in smoothies, sprinkled on top of salads or mixed into raw energy balls. experimenting with them today in falafel was a huge success! the addition of fresh parsley, shallot and lemon brightened the flavors of these seed & nut based falafel.

hemp seed falafel ~ serves 2-3 hungry people

1/2 cup raw cashews
1-2 cloves garlic
2 shallots, peeled
1 cup loosely packed parsley 
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons hulled raw hemp seed hearts
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
large pinch salt
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, raw works ok too!
1 tablespoon olive oil

preheat oven to 425-degrees. line a baking sheet with foil and grease foil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. set aside.

combine cashews, shallots, garlic and parsley in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. add 1/2 cup hemp seeds, lemon juice, zest and salt and processor until combined. transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and stir any unincorporated bits.

the mixture will be sticky, so wet your hands a bit to keep the mixture from sticking to your palms as you form a heaping tablespoon into a ball. don't worry about shape too much, just try to create evenly sized falafel.

in a clean bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds with 2 tablespoons sesame seeds. one at a time, roll the falafel balls in the seeds until coated. once you've coated them all, wash and dry your hands then roll the coated falafel in your palms to reform perfect little balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet. you can leave them round, or gently flatten them a bit. 

bake for 10 minutes, flip and then bake for another 7-10 minutes until falafel are nicely browned on both sides. serve warm! 

for the kale salad:
1 bunch lacinato kale, ribs removed & sliced into thin ribbons
2 teaspoons olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
avocado *optional

massage prepped chopped kale with oil, lemon juice and sea salt until evenly coated and slightly wilted. sprinkle with hemp seeds and top with warm baked falafel, sliced rice avocado & harissa-tahini dressing (see recipe below). 

harissa-tahini dressing ~ makes 1/2 cup 

2 tablespoons tahini
3-4 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
harissa paste to taste (i used "dea" brand)
pinch salt
pinch smoked paprika

combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. add just enough warm so that tahini sauce is pourable. adjust spiciness to taste. i used about 1 teaspoon of harissa paste, but i have a high tolerance to spicy heat!