Would you get a load of that recipe title? Sorrel Falafel Collard Wraps with Turmeric Tahini Sauce. Sounds kinda healthy, right? No, this blog has not been hacked and no, I’m not currently in the throes of an identity crisis. I just thought I’d make something healthy for a change. I finally realized that life is about balance and sometimes- Oh! Who am I kidding? These green falafels are wonderfully and unabashedly deep fried and I’m not the least bit sorry about it. They’re crispy and delicious and that’s where my priorities lie, I’m sorry. There’s still plenty of green action to be found in and around these wraps, which means vitamins, which means health, right? Right?!
To say I’m a rebel would be a stretch of anyone’s imagination. Sure, my sixteen-year-old self would be honored to be called one but even she would pick-up on the sarcasm. I like to think I have an inner badass, but I’m fairly certain that isn’t even a little bit true. But having said that, I do meet one piece of the rebel criteria: I don’t follow rules blindly. You better have a good reason for your rule or I ain’t following because, while, I may not be a badass, I am a stubborn ass.
In my (very) humble opinion, the food world is bogged down with a lot of useless, borderline masochistic, rules. People may have reasons for following them but they aren’t necessarily good reasons. For instance, I refuse to recognize “tradition” or “the right way” as reasons. If you want to compel me to follow a technique to the letter, talk nerdy to me first. Explain the cause and effect. Tell me how a rule will enhance the flavor or texture of whatever it is your walking me through and I will faithfully replicate each and every step. Ritual is not enough; I need chemistry. Now, there’s something my sixteen-year-old-self never would’ve said.
All this rebel talk is a longwinded explanation of why I strayed from my usual falafel method in favor of something a little more labor-intensive. Well, not labor-intensive, really; more patience-testing, I suppose. It’s all fairly inactive, which is how I like it. So, what is this inactive extra-step? I soaked my dried chickpeas before making these Sorrel Falafel Collard Wraps. I’d never bothered to do it before and you bet your butt I had a good reason to do it now.
You may remember these falafel bowls from last year. Is this a good recipe for falafel? Yes, duh! I wrote it! I’m totally joking, but yes, those were some mighty fine falafel and definitely worth your time. Especially if your falafel craving comes out of nowhere. That is the bliss of falafel made with canned chickpeas. But, you know what? These falafel weren’t amazing. Now, I don’t mean to drag my own recipe but my previous falafel batches, while satisfying, certainly weren’t restaurant good. It was all in the texture. The flavor was certainly there but, honestly, all my homemade falafels have been, well, pasty. I figured there had to be a reason for this, so I went to where all the cool food nerds (you might consider that an impossibility) hang out: Serious Eats.
If you’ve ever had the urge to obsess over anything edible, Serious Eats is the place to do it. Honestly, if you type any food item into the search engine, you’ll probably find a comprehensive, borderline obsessive guide on how to make the best version of it. Of course, they had one on falafel. Falafel is a food so deserving of obsession. Anyway, I read the whole damn guide and emerged with this life-changing nugget of info. Soak the chickpeas overnight and don’t cook them until they become falafel. And this method makes sense because uncooked chickpeas have uncooked starch, which eliminates the need for additional binders, like flour or cornstarch. These added starches tend to make the falafel heavy and, yes, pasty.
It seemed I had found the culprit behind my somewhat disappointing falafel. So, I gave it a try. I soaked those chickpeas overnight and ground them up without ever showing them a stove and it worked! The falafel in these Sorrel Falafel Collard Wraps are light, airy and flavorful. They held together perfectly throughout the shaping and frying process, which was a first for me. I don’t think I’ve ever been confident in the structural integrity of my falafel before. Soaking chickpeas to make the perfect falafel is a very VERY good rule. And it’s something I think you should try.
Now, before I leave you to go forth and soak beans, I feel like I should explain the sorrel to you. I love sorrel. It has this acidity and tartness to it that I just love. I call it the lemonade of greens. It’s a fairly recent love. I only started eating it two years ago after I sampled it at a local farmers market. But now, I look for it amongst every pile of greens. I decided to add it to falafel because I thought the acidity would contrast with the warm, rich flavors of tahini beautifully. And it did. It adds a hit of refreshment, which isn’t something you often find in fried food.
Also, guys! Did you know sorrel is a kind of lettuce? Well, color-me-ignorant because I did not. And yes, this is leading into a podcast recommendation. How could you tell? I learned all about different varieties of lettuce and how the lettuce industry largely motivated innovations in refrigeration during an episode of The Fridge Light. It was super interesting and it’s so nice to find a good Toronto-based podcast because it doesn’t happen as often as it should. Anyway, there’s no point to this, it has very little to do with these Sorrel Falafel Collard Wraps other than the sorrel connection. I just thought you might be into it because I assume all my readers are nerdy like that. I don’t think you could stand me otherwise.
So that’s all I’ve got to say about these Sorrel Falafel Collard Wraps with Turmeric Tahini Sauce. They’re super fun to make and a total mess to eat, which in my book is a bonus. I only mention it to dissuade you from trying to make these “date-food”. These are defo not date-food. They’re just really good food.
Sorrel Falafel Collard Wraps with Turmeric Tahini Sauce
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1 1/2 cups sorrel tightly packed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 red onion
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro tightly packed
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Canola or Sunflower oil for frying
Pickled Red Onions
- 1/2 red onion halved and thinly sliced
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon demerara sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Turmeric Tahini Sauce
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 8 large collard leaves stalks removed
- 1/2 white onion thinly sliced
- 4 pickles quartered lengthwise
- 1 to mato cut into wedges
For the Falafel
- Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water. Let soak at room temperature overnight.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas and set aside.
- Place the sorrel in a large food processor and blitz until it resembles mulch. Place the sorrel in the center of a piece of cheesecloth and squeeze the excess moisture from the greens. Discard the liquid and set the sorrel aside.
- Place the garlic, onion and cilantro in a large food processor and blitz until finely chopped. With the food processor running, start adding the chickpeas in batches.
- Once the mixture is relatively uniform, add the sorrel, sesame oil, tahini and seasonings to the food processor and blitz. Stream in the lime juice while the food processor is running. Continue to blitz until the mixture resembles damp sand. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
- Take a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and form it into a ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Transfer the falafel to the fridge and let chill for 15-30 minutes.
- Heat 2-inches of the oil of your choice in a cast iron skillet until it reaches 375°F. Try maintain this heat throughout the frying process. Add 7-8 falafel balls to the oil and fry until deep golden on one side, about 4 minutes. Roll the balls over and fry for another 4 minutes.
- Transfer the falafel to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Keep warm until ready to use.
For the Onions
- Pour the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the onion to the bowl and let sit for 3 hours at room temperature.
For the Turmeric Tahini Sauce
- Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Feel free to continue adding water to achieve your desired consistency. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Place a collard leaf on a flat surface and place two falafel, a pickle spear, a tomato wedge, white onions, and pickled onions in the center. Cover the falafel with some turmeric tahini sauce and take the end of the collard leaf closest to you and roll it away from yourself as you would a burrito. Place it on a cutting board seam-side-down.
- Cut the roll in half and wrap each half in parchment paper and set aside. Repeat until you run out of leaves.
- Enjoy the wraps immediately and with plenty of napkins.