Real Food, Really Fast
If you took falafel but skipped all the mashing, mixing, and deep frying, you’d get the gist of this herbaceous Middle Eastern panzanella, also known as bread salad. Deconstructed dishes get a bad rap in this postmodern culinary scene, but just this once, I wouldn’t take offense at the term. Everything you’d want from a good falafel sandwich can be found in this abundant bowl, simply chopped and tossed for a fresher, more flavorful experience with every forkful. The pita become soggy fairly quickly, so don’t delay after tossing it with the dressing. Dig right in immediately, or withhold the olive oil and lemon juice until you’re ready to serve.
- 4 2-ounce pita breads
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved if large
- 1 cup sliced Persian cucumber or diced English cucumber
- 1 15- ounce can chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/2-1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds toasted
Lightly toast the pita bread and chop it into bite-sized squares, about 1/2-inch each.
Place the bread in a large bowl along with the tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, scallions, and parsley. Mix the vegetables around lightly to combine. Sprinkle in the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Toss everything together until the vegetables are well distributed and evenly coated with the spices.
Right before serving, drizzle in the lemon juice and olive oil, tossing once more to incorporate. Add more salt to taste, if needed, and finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds over the top.