Falafels and Grape Leaves!

by Nicole on July 7, 2010

How are you doing in all this heat? This is the hot topic question now, it’s what everyone is talking about and I am certainly one of those people considering temperatures are topping 100 degrees for the past 2 days.  I got up at 5:20 am this morning and went for a run with Danny to BEAT THIS HEAT! I knew it wasn’t happening if I didn’t get up and just go. Surprisingly it wasn’t too bad, there was a breeze.

Yesterday I went to kickboxing at NYSC and did some stretching when I got home and then that was it for the day. I hung around my apartment and cleaned and organized. I try to organize and clean out twice a year. I bought huggable hangers to make more room in my closet. (Huggable hangers are super thin hangers.) I got mine through amazon, but you can get them at The Container Store, Target, Crate and Barrel and I’m sure other places. I swear I could fit 1/3 more shirts and tops in my closest. 

Another thing I have done so far this summer is bought pop top storage containers by Oxo Good Grips. I bought 2 variety packs, of 10 each at Crate and Barrel. They were an investment but they make everything look so much nicer and SO organized. It’s also super easy to bake with because there is no mess. I also labeled everything with a label maker but I took this picture before I did that. Even with 20 containers I could still use more. I started putting everything in it, chocolate chips, flour, rice, sugar, chickpeas, I went a bit crazy.

Since I had so much time yesterday there was no way I could get out of making dinner. I had grape leaves in my fridge since last week from my Aunt Millie, I knew it was time I did something with those. 

I’ve never made grape leaves ever, so I had to figure out how to make them. I read that you need to boil them. I wanted to go with a Greek-ish meal so I decided to go with falafels in grape leaves. Funny because Gina the Fitnessista was doing the same thing yesterday. I had a recipe I had used before but I decided to go with the one she was using. I had a slight challenge because currently I have no food processor. I tried to use my KitchenAid blender…fail. (Does anyone else use their processor every single day?? )
I had to make some changes to the recipe because I didn’t have all of the ingredients, but it worked out, even if they did fall apart.

I ended up just using a potato masher to mix together, which is why it was crumbly.

Adapted from Canyon Ranch Recipe

Ingredients (to make about 8 falafels, serves 2-3 people)
- 1 1/2 cups dry chickpeas (or one big can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced 
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup spelt flour
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds (ground to break into smaller pieces, not into flour – I use coffee grinder)

- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Soak chickpeas overnight or for 4 hours (or for as long as you can). Drain water and add new water to pot. Cook on stovetop until chickpeas are soft. 
2. Ground sunflower seeds in coffee grinder and set aside (if you have vitamix you can do it all in there.) 
3. Combine all parsley, olive oil, soy sauce, chickpeas, water, cayenne pepper, garlic, cumin and salt in food processor and pulse to combine. 
4. Add spelt flour, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds and mix until just combined. Let sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes-1 hour. 
5. Use a 1/4 cup measure to form into 2 ounce patties.
6. Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to sauce pan and heat on a medium flame. Brown falafels on both sides about 3-5 minutes, each side.
let sit in boiled water for 8 minutes

Grape Leaves
Boil water in a pot. When water comes to a rolling boil add leaves, one at a time. Shut off flame and let leaves sit in water for 8 minutes. Remove from water and rinse off in cool water to stop cooking. Set out on paper towels to dry. Add filling and fold in opposite sides and roll.

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
4-5 fresh basil leaves1 garlic clove, minced

Combine in a bowl and mix well.

*There are many different mixtures you can add to grape leaves, rice, chicken, beef, pork, but I just went with the falafels and the yogurt dipping sauce.

Stay cool in this heat! See you tomorrow! I’m off to buy a new food processor. 

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie @ Healthy Heddleston July 7, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I LOVEEEEE Oxo pop-up containers! My husband and I got some as a wedding gift and I can't wait to get more once we move so I can get even more organized! I want to have a whole gluten free set and non-gluten free set. So excited!


fitandfortysomething.com July 7, 2010 at 12:58 pm

i love all the things you have done while on your summer break! i need to get on task and organize or something……your recipe looks delish-coming from a greek girl-me-that is a compliment ;) i love grape leaves……have to tell you i tried your salad pizza the other day and hubs and i loved it! thanks :)


landanimal July 7, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Falafels! MMMMmm. I was going to make some tonight but my brother used up the chick peas I made yesterday :/ boo! I guess I will have to soak some more tonight


Robyn July 7, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Yummy falafels! I'm pretty impressed with the grape leaves. I don't like them, but it looks like you put a lot of work into making the dish. I love slim hangers too, btw.


hbobier July 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm

I need to make falafels!! Everyone's making them lately and I just need to get my rear and gear and go buy the ingredients. I had sweet potato falafels at a restaurant over Memorial weekend and I've been craving them ever since. Yours look delish!


pegasuslegend July 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm

wow these look fantastic great job!


Autumn @Good Eats Girl July 7, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Do you want to come and organize my house?!?! Please?!?!

I love those containers…you are right, they are spendy, but they are worth every single dime!

That dinner looks amazing!


theketchupdiaries.com July 7, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Ahhhhh!!! I've been lovinng on the grape leaves lately. Never even thought to make them myself. They look intimidating though. Was it hard? I'm such a baby!


Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen July 7, 2010 at 10:27 pm

I have those OXO containers and love them! My husband is a super organized person, me…not to much! Your grape leaves look delicious!


Melissa @ For the Love of Health July 7, 2010 at 11:32 pm

I have never thought of cooking with grape leaves! Come to think of it, I have never seen them in the grocery store. I know you said you got them from your Aunt, but do grocery stores or health food stores sell that?

That's great you beat the heat! I feel like it's hot 24/7 here in the southwestern most point of Ontario. Thank GOODNESS for air conditioned gyms!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) July 8, 2010 at 2:01 am

ooh hope the new food proc is a success!

grape leaves..have never made anything w. them. I fear they would be tough? I know people who eat dolmas/grape leaves love them so maybe i need to try!


Jen July 8, 2010 at 7:28 am

I think I may have to invest in some new containers, I love yours!!! I'm in need of some organization today, I think that's what we'll do today since it's supposed to be stormy and freaking H.O.T.!

Not a fan of grape leaves, but yours actually look good!!



Simply Life July 8, 2010 at 7:42 am

wow, those look amazing -nice work!

To answer your question -I didn't post our training – I think my husband kind of combined training schedules from Hal Higdon and Runner's World.


A SPICY PERSPECTIVE July 12, 2010 at 9:21 am

You are making me feel a bit guilty…I need to get going on some projects! The falafel and stuffed grape leaves look fantastic!


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