An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Deconstructed and Reconstructed


Die-hard devotees may cry foul, but I happen to love seeing new renditions of classic dishes. The originals may stand the test of time, and retain their allure despite their newer, trendier counterparts, but times change and food changes with it. For example, falafel is a Middle Eastern staple that almost everyone can claim some sort of fondness for, but no one would want to eat it every day. If the palate fatigue doesn’t get to you, the heavy, greasiness of it all will. Though lusciously rich and filling, those golden fried orbs tend to sit in my stomach like leaden golf balls, encouraging naps soon after rather than resumed productivity- Not exactly the thing to take in for lunch on a work day. After spending one too many afternoons in a falafel-induced daze, I knew that this was one tried-and-true meal in need of some reinvention.

Baked or raw falafel is certainly a worthy consideration, but for days when there’s barely enough time to get dressed and run out the door in the morning, let alone get something into the oven or dehydrator, I have just the alternative.

Still bearing all of the vibrant flavors and key components of your standard fried falafel, my falafel-inspired salad is considerably lighter on the stomach, and easier on an over-scheduled day. No cooking required, just mix and enjoy. Best of all, this assembly is just as tasty warm as it is cold, so it’s perfect packed lunch fodder.  Highly satisfying and re-energizing, I daresay this more modern take on falafel has the edge on the competition… Should you crave that hand-held eating experience, you can even stuff it snugly into a pita, and enjoy it in a more “tradition” fashion!

Deconstructed Falafel Salad

2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
1 15-Ounce Can Chickpeas
1 Small Leek, Cleaned, Greens Removed and Thinly Sliced
2 Cloves Roasted Garlic, Minced
1/4 – 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
1/4 – 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 Teaspoons Ground Coriander
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Flax Oil
Salt and Pepper, to Taste
2 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds, Toasted

Additional Options: Chopped cucumber, tomato, or tahini sauce, if desired

Preparation for this one couldn’t be simpler- Just toss everything together in a large bowl until the ingredients are well distributed and evenly coated in spice, and either heat and serve, or cover and stash it in the fridge until chilled. It will last up to 5 days refrigerated, so you can make this at on Monday and enjoy it throughout the work week with ease.

Makes 4 – 5 Servings

Printable Recipe

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

43 thoughts on “Deconstructed and Reconstructed

  1. This is nice. Great on taste, easy to put together and a good one dish meal.

  2. Great idea to deconstruct falafel, and reconstruct it as a salad… I would definitely eat this for lunch!

  3. This looks wonderful, Hannah! I can’t wait to try it. Plus, I can make this for my gluten-free mom! Thanks so much for alway sharing such wonderful recipes.

  4. I do a lot of beans and grains salads like this. I really love using quinoa because I think it has a good flavor all on its own, cold or hot. Looks like a good spice combo. in this one!

  5. mmmm a no fuss falafel! yum!

  6. I’ve been chowing down on salads with chickpeas in them lately–the idea of a deconstructed falafel salad just sounds perfect for right now!

  7. You and I are totally on the same wavelength. I love everything about falafel except for how dense it is. And greasy. Oh the grease.

    This deconstructed version looks perfect, especially with this healthy eating resolution of mine!

  8. Well, I would be open to trying it since I always fail when I try to make real falafel. :-( I would definitely try this with the tahini sauce. I bet it tastes delicious. Thanks for coming up with an easier, non-fried way of eating falafel!

  9. Freaking awesome, Hannah! I don’t know if it’s a good thing, or a good thing to admit, that my stomach seems to handle falafel just fine. Nevertheless, it seems like perfect timing for this recipe: I have a bunch of parsley in my fridge that I had no idea how to use up! This recipe sounds and looks beautiful, and I intend on trying it out with quinoa instead of rice (because I have tonnes of quinoa at home). Thanks again :)

  10. This looks great. My kids (as well as my husband and I) love chickpeas prepared any which way! I roast them, puree them, cook them in stew…and the kids devour them. And of course they LOVE falafel.
    I love the sound of this recipe, and what a beautiful photo. I have never used leeks raw. Only cooked up in stews and soups. Are they a lot stronger than scallions?

  11. This looks so great, I love falafel!

  12. Wow! I have actually been working on a deconstructed falafel myself! It has such a nice but complex flavor to work with. :) I hope mine will come out as well as yours.

  13. Just gorgeous Hannah! I love all the flavors here.. so delicious.

  14. Mr. Mihl just came home with two cans of chickpeas. That cannot be a coincidence. This recipe sounds lovely.

  15. That looks so delicious and simple, thanks for sharing the recipe! I think I’ll be making this with some tahini sauce on top :)

  16. This looks delicious! I had a chickpeas on my spinach salad today, but chickpeas with rice and spices sounds even better.

  17. One word: YUM!
    This sounds like a perfect meal!
    <3 LOVE.

  18. Omg how yummy! Can’t wait to try

  19. Oh gosh, I *love* this idea! I never deepfry in my own kitchen so this alternative is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Thanks Hannah!

  20. Fun idea! I see the chefs deconstruct recipes on TV, but never think to do it in my own home. This looks do-able, and delicious as well. In place of the rice you could toast some pita triangles and serve that with a yogurt or tzatziki sauce!



  21. WONDERFUL idea. I’d probably add in some cilantro, too!

  22. Love this, what a great idea!!

  23. Love this! I will be making it very soon. This is just the type of thing that I like to take to work for lunches. Yummy.

  24. This looks fabulous and super healthy. I love a complete meal in a bowl!

  25. This looks amazing. I have 2 pounds of brown rice in my cabinet and I have been trying to figure out what to do with it!
    Thank you for this!

  26. Yum! That looks really good! I don’t normally have any problems eating fried falafels but this is so light and healthy looking. And easy too! :-)

  27. Hello, I wanted to contact you after I crochetted the “Dam*ed Beaver!” but I couldn’t find an email-address, I have uploaded two pictures on my blog…it’s in swedish but I think you can translate it, I got a feeling that you want us who crochet stuff from your patterns and publishes pic’s to tell you or show a link, *my school-english is so baaad* *sorry*….hope you check out my blog! Hugs from me in Sweden!

  28. gorgeous recipe and pics

  29. Wow looks delicious and tempting..Love it.

  30. This is brilliant! I love it. Best of all, it’s a lunch that I think my partner would eat, too, which means I can prepare it, enjoy it, and send some off to work with him. :)

  31. Ooh I’ve never tried anything deconstructed. I need to remember the concept and make something with it this year :). Love this delicious healthy salad.

  32. Oh my God! Thank goodness, I am really craving for this recipe actually. I am searching for a recipe that included chickpeas as an ingredient. And you answer my cravenness. This looks yummy and healthy. I will surely try this one. =) Thank you. I hope it goes well and if I did it perfectly, I will pack it for lunch. :D

  33. I love deconstructed meals like this. And I had no idea you could eat leeks raw! I made a sushi pizza for a dinner party last night–all the fun of sushi, none of the rolling, mess, etc. This salad looks right up my alley and a perfect lunch throughout the week. :)

  34. Hannah, my mom and I have made this twice…the second time we added a ton of caramelized onions (and heated up the chickpeas for a bit at the end of the caramelization process), and it was THAT much better. You should try it! Thanks for a great recipe, I’m about to have leftovers for lunch!

  35. This looks stunning, as well as delicious! I’m planning on having this for lunch tomorrow.

  36. Oo I’m totally in love with what you’ve come up with here! I looove falafel but have only attempted making it once. This is a much better alternative!

  37. This sounds WONDERFUL !!!!
    I’m going to make it tonight or tomorrow………mmmm
    Ok if I post it?

  38. this was delicious! i topped it with heirloom tomatoes and if i had the time, would have made tahini sauce with it–that’s the only thing that could have made it even better. thanks for the fun recipe…next time I make it we’ll stuff it in a whole wheat pita with some spinach, feta, and smother with tahini sauce.

  39. Pingback: To Deconstructed Falafel Salad with Tzatziki Sauce | insatiably

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  41. Pingback: 10 Flavorful Vegan Brown Rice Recipes {Gluten-free}

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