The husband and I both have summer birthdays, one month apart, which means there have been lots of treats and indulgent meals lately. When we’re not in celebration mode, we’ve been opting for healthier fare to help balance things out, and these falafel and hummus bowls have quickly become a new favorite!
Inspired by a local restaurant, these bowls are comprised of a bed of lettuce and Israeli couscous, a scoop of tomato cucumber salad, sliced pickles, falafel, and a generous dollop of hummus. The variety of flavors and textures means there is never a dull bite, and we love how this dish is simultaneously filling yet refreshingly light! It also comes together surprisingly quickly, as we use a package of fully cooked falafel—Trader Joe’s frozen falafel can be ready after a minute or two in the microwave, although there are also baking instructions—and pre-made hummus. If we’re on top of things, we’ll make homemade hummus on the weekend to eat throughout the week, but sometimes store-bought just makes more sense. So with the falafel and hummus taken care of, all that’s left to do is chop up some veggies and cook the couscous! The instructions I’ve provided for the couscous may differ from what some packages say, but heating the couscous in oil for a few minutes before adding water helps bring out its natural nutty flavor, so it’s really worth the extra bit of time in my opinion.
These falafel and hummus bowls are vegan if you prepare them according to the instructions below, but if you’re craving meat, shawarma-style chicken, lamb, etc. would be an excellent addition! Have you tried falafel? If you have, was it love at first bite or more of an acquired taste? I’m curious to know, because it’s yet another food that I hated as a child but am more than happy to eat as an adult!
- 1 1/3 cups uncooked Israeli couscous
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
- 1 2/3 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 cup diced cucumbers
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- black pepper to taste
- 12 ounces romaine lettuce (about 2 medium hearts), chopped
- 3/4 cup sliced dill pickles
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup salad dressing (Italian, Greek feta, or similar)
- 12 prepared falafel
- 1 1/2 cups hummus
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
- Combine the couscous and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan and cook at medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes, or until the couscous is golden brown. Add the water and salt (carefully – the contents of the pan will sizzle!) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 9-12 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed. If the couscous seems to be sticking together after cooking, add 1 teaspoon olive oil.
- While the couscous is cooking, combine the ingredients for the tomato and cucumber salad in a medium bowl and set aside to let the flavors mix.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the couscous, tomato and cucumber salad, lettuce, pickles, and salad dressing. Top individual portions with falafel and hummus. Sprinkle with chopped parsley (if desired).
- I use Trader Joe’s fully cooked falafel, which you can find in the freezer section. If you are making this ahead or storing leftovers, I recommend keeping the tomato and cucumber salad separate and draining excess liquid before adding it to the other ingredients.
Cake Lover says
I met falafel as an adult. They were deep fried, so what’s not to like/love? Your recipe (and photos!) make me want to rush to Trader Joe’s to pick up some falafel right this minute. This salad bowl version will avoid the usual pita-failing-accident that leaves tahini sauce dripping all over my hands. I look forward to this neater version of a delicious food!
Apparently, as a child, my love of fried foods was not enough to outweigh my dislike of chickpeas…strange! I hope you get a chance to try this, and I agree, this is definitely tidier than a traditional falafel pita!
Cake Lover says
The husband and I whipped up this recipe for dinner last night. It did not disappoint. The falafels make the salad feel like a satisfying meal and the pickles are an unexpected taste pop. This will become one of our regular salad rotations! Thanks again for the delicious recipe idea!
So glad to hear it! I don’t know why, but for me, the pickles are such a crucial component of the dish 🙂
chef mimi says
I was in college in the 70’s in California, and there was a falafel stand on campus that my friend Prudence worked at, or I might not have tried it! I’ve made them from scratch, but there was a bulk brand I always had on hand when the kids were growing up, that was very tasty and healthy. Can’t remember the name… Anyway, I’d definitely enjoy that bowl!!!
Oh wow, I’ve never made falafel from scratch, but I bet those are phenomenal! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
This looks delicious! I will make it this week.
Thanks! I hope you enjoy these bowls as much as we do. We’ve been eating them about twice a week for the past month!
David @ Spiced says
Falafel is definitely one of those foods that I didn’t like as a kid, but I love now! Well, to be fair, I wouldn’t try falafel as a kid, so I can’t technically say I didn’t like it. But still, it’s definitely on my radar of deliciousness now! I love the idea of pairing this with hummus, couscous and that tomato/cucumber salad. This sounds like a delicious weeknight meal…and a good one to balance out all of the birthday celebrations, too! 🙂
I hated chickpeas as a kid, but maybe there was also something about the name “falafel” that made me steer clear. The foreignness of it could be off-putting for some kids, I suppose. At any rate, I’m glad we’ve both discovered the deliciousness of falafel, even if belatedly!
I have just discovered falafel and hummus few years back and they became an instant favorite! So you know I would love this dish! Thanks for sharing, Mara! Happy Fiesta Friday and happy belated birthday, I guess??😁
Thanks, Jhuls! I’m so glad this caught your eye. I didn’t really try hummus until college, but once I did, I quickly started making up for lost time!
Your photos are beautiful! I’ve never had falafel before but this recipe is inspiring me to try it! Thanks for sharing and happy Fiesta Friday!
Thanks so much, Mikaela! I spent a particularly long time trying to figure out how to style these photos. Thanks for hosting this week 🙂
I was like Mimi – my first experience with falafel was just off campus! This looks like such a fun meal – I looked at it and thought “Are those pickles” and sure enough they are!! Thanks for bringing your dish to Fiesta Friday!
Yes, those are pickles! I was a little surprised to see them in the restaurant’s bowls that inspired these, but I absolutely loved the tanginess they added. Thanks for hosting this week!
Jeff the Chef says
I love making falafel, but I’ve never served it like this before. Very cool.
I’ve never actually made falafel from scratch, but it’s definitely on my cooking bucket list! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Kat (The Baking Explorer) says
This is similar to a lunch I have often as I make my own falafel and freeze them. I must add pickles next time!!
Making falafels from scratch has been on my cooking bucket list for a while, but I still haven’t gotten around to trying it. That’s awesome that you make them regularly! And yes, we love the pickles in this so much that we sometimes add extra 😉