30 Days to a Food Revolution Day 8- dinners and dreams

30 Days to a Food Revolution Day 13- Gluten Free For Good Welcome to Day 8 of the 30 Days to a Food Revolution. Today’s guest blogger is Nisrine Merzouki of Dinners and Dreams.

Nisrine grew up in Morocco in a culture in which frozen meals have not yet found a place, and where people still eat “outside the box” and customarily buy their groceries everyday to ensure using only the freshest chicken for their tagine and the crispest vegetables for their couscous (wheat).  Nisrine is a food blogger and author of a Moroccan cookbook, Marrakesh Express. Her blog features easy, healthy Moroccan and Mediterranean recipes.  She considers it a mission to share her passion for obsessively natural and deliciously simple food.  She has signed Jamie Oliver’s Petition and is proud to be part of this stirring food revolution.

Nisrine’s Recipe: Falafel

Nisrine’s Tip: Simplify. Diversify. Rejoice.

When I moved to the United States I was shocked to see so many people “survive” on frozen meals and fast food. I was refreshed on the rare instances when a co-worker would bring a lunch that looked homemade from scratch or when a host at a party would have one or two fresh items among many unhealthy, prepackaged choices.

Preparing fresh, wholesome, honest food needs to be a daily observance. Because of time constraints it can feel challenging to feed ourselves and families right. As a mother who works full time, I find it challenging too at times, but the good news is that it’s feasible and well worth the effort. If I can do it so can you.

This is a list of 5 tips that have helped me resist the temptation to give in to unhealthy food choices:

  1. Easy recipes: build a repertoire of easy “go-to” recipes that you and your family enjoy and that can be prepared in 15 to 30 minutes. On a night when you don’t have a lot of energy left for cooking, you can put together a healthy soup, a salad, or a delicious omelette in less than 15 minutes.
  2. Healthy snacks: stock up on fresh and dried fruits, nuts, olives and cheeses to snack on in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Bake a healthy cake or cookies on the weekend to last you the whole week for your snacks. I find that I tend to make more bad choices for my afternoon snack when I don’t have better alternatives.
  3. Exercise: regular physical exercise helps curb unhealthy food cravings. I find that when I don’t exercise for a while, my body starts yearning for junk food.
  4. Varied foods: cooking with new and varied ingredients, and experimenting with different world cuisines helps keep boredom out of the kitchen and makes you more excited about making your meals.
  5. Have fun: take delight in preparing your food and remember that you can eat well without giving up all of your favorite flavors.


Makes 6 to 8 falafels

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
30 sprigs fresh cilantro (or 2 handfuls)
3 garlic cloves
1 small yellow onion, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
5 tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 cup vegetable or canola oil, for frying


Place the chickpeas, cilantro, garlic and onion in a food processor and process until reduced to a paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in the salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, cayenne and flour until well blended.

Heat the oil until very hot. Place the cornmeal in a shallow dish. Shape the mixture into patties and dredge them into the cornmeal. Fry the patties until golden brown and crispy, 2 to 4 minutes per side.

Visit Nisrine’s 30 Days to a Food Revolution.

Don’t forget:

In order to be entered to win one of 7 cookbooks, here’s what you need to do to gather entries into the drawing.  The more you do, the more chances you have to win!

  1. Leave a comment on this blog on as many of the 30 guest food bloggers as you like.  Each comment is an entry.
  2. Sign up for The W.H.O.L.E. Gang newsletter.
  3. Visit that guest blogger’s site and leave a comment there too.
  4. Tweet about this project using both of these in your tweet so I’ll find you  #30days2 #foodrevolution

When the initial 30 days of guest posts are over on June 4th, we’ll pick the winners.

26 Responses to 30 Days to a Food Revolution Day 8- dinners and dreams

  1. mama May 5, 2010 at 3:15 am #

    mmmm……we love falafel. I'm definately making this recipe!

  2. gfe--gluten free eas May 5, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    Oh, my goodness, another fantastic post here today! Nisrine, it's so good to meet and get to know you a bit. You have presented excellent, common sense ideas. And, now I'm wanting those cookies, that cake, and the falafel, especially, right now for breakfast. I've never made falafel and never even eaten it before, but I'm definitely making it. I love chickpeas (I'm often roasting them for a snack or breakfast) and I love cornmeal coating. Is the sauce on the side, a yogurt sauce? Thanks so much for your post, Nisrine! I'm off to do my yoga now … seriously. 🙂


  3. Janette May 5, 2010 at 4:06 am #

    Yum! I love love falafel but have never tried making it. I think I'll have to try it this weekend. Thanks!

  4. Michelle May 5, 2010 at 4:10 am #

    Great advice! Having healthy things on hand and some go to recipes makes it easier when I am tired after a long day and don't feel like cooking!

  5. Iris May 5, 2010 at 4:54 am #

    Mmm….great looking recipe. I've never made falafel either, but would love to try!

  6. Sarah P May 5, 2010 at 5:55 am #

    I've been looking for a good gluten-free falafel recipe. Thank you!

  7. A. Wilder May 5, 2010 at 6:59 am #

    Thanks for sharing this recipe –I can't wait to make falafels at home now 🙂

  8. Aubree Cherie May 5, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    I’ve never made falafel. I love it though, I used to buy different falafel dishes from a corner store all the time when I was living in London. I really want to try this recipe!!

    Thanks also for the tips. I find the most challenging for me is the exercise. I definitely eat worse if I haven’t gotten enough exercise in a day. I try to trick myself though, by doing different fun activities that don’t seem like exercise 🙂

    ~Aubree Cherie

  9. Jenna May 5, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    This will definitely go on our menu for the month. I love falafel and I haven't made it in a while. Thanks!

  10. Alta May 5, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    Love falafel! This sounds great. And good tips!

  11. Jennifer May 5, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    This does look wonderful. I haven't had falafel since going gluten-free. Will have to make this next week!

  12. Ellen Allard May 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    Nisrine – what a fabulous post! I've been having such a blast reading all of the contributions thus far to Diane's 30 days to a Food Revolution event, including yours. I especially love your tip that says to have a repertoire of easy recipes. Like Alison's post (prior to yours on Diane's event) which talked about a 3 ingredient salad dressing, having easy recipes gives you every reason to embrace eating homemade and healthy meals. I LOVE LOVE LOVE felafel and am intrigued with how easy it is to make it at home. If you're interested, I have a recipe for it at my blog (http://iamglutenfree.blogspot.com/2009/12/gluten-free-felafel.html) that includes a gluten free and dairy free Tahini Lemon dressing (it could easily be made soy free by subbing plain coconut yogurt for the soy yogurt). Can't wait to see more of your recipes. Thanks!


  13. Maggie May 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    This recipe looks delish (the picture…yummy!). I usually just wing it when I make felafel but I will definitely try this recipe – I've never used cornmeal and I think that will make a big difference! Thank you.

  14. alison May 5, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

    I love falafel and wish that more restaurants would make it without wheat flour (which I think is the traditional way, am I right?) I would like to see if my children like it without the spicy. Thanks for the great post!

  15. Kelly May 5, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    I have never made falafel either, but now I just might have to!—YUM! Love your post, Nisrine! xoxo

  16. Cathy May 6, 2010 at 12:31 am #

    I make baked falafel often but haven’t found the perfect recipe yet. This one looks great; I’ll try it! Thank you!

  17. tammy May 6, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    This sounds fantastic and I cannot wait to make it!

  18. Nisrine@Dinners and May 6, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    Gfe, yes the sauce on the side is a cucumber yogurt sauce that is very easy to make by blending ½ cup peeled and chopped cucumbers

    with 5 ounces plain yogurt in the blender and seasoning it with salt and pepper.

    Allison, yes falafel are normally made with wheat. I adapted the recipe for the post.

  19. Breanna May 6, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    Yum! this looks great, I can't wait to try it!

  20. amy May 8, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    oh man these look great. I heart falafel!

  21. Reeni May 9, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    Such tempting and delicious looking falafel! I bet the cornmeal makes them nice and crispy.

  22. Kelli May 17, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

    My friend just came back from Israel, where they eat falafel. Thank you for this recipe.


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