Cairo Falafel Salad from Mena Massoud’s Evolving Vegan

This week’s recipe comes from Canadian-Egyptian actor and Aladdin star Mena Massoud’s new cookbook, Evolving Vegan: Deliciously Diverse Recipes from North America’s Best Plant-Based Eateries– For Anyone Who Loves Food. His Cairo Falafel Salad takes all the healthy components of the falafel and combines them with other incredibly nutritious ingredients to make a superfood salad.

Cairo Falafel Photo credit Andrew Rowley
Photo credit: Andrew Rowley

Cairo Falafel Salad


– 1 pound Italian eggplant, peeled and cubed
– 4 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed or safflower, plus more for drizzling
– 1/2 cup drained canned chickpeas
– 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
– 1 medium yellow onion
– diced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
– Zest from 1/2 lemon
– 2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
– 1 teaspoon ground coriander
– 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
– 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
– 2 cups vegan panko bread crumbs
– 1 (10-ounce) bunch Tuscan kale, stemmed, leaves sliced into thin ribbons
– 1/4 cup jarred romesco sauce
– 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved


1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the eggplant with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Bake, stirring occasionally, until very tender and browned in spots, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside to let cool for at least 10 minutes.

3. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, quinoa, onion, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Pulse, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until the chickpeas are completely pureed and the mixture loosely holds its shape when squeezed together; if it doesn’t, process the mixture a bit more. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

4. Put the panko in a shallow bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, season with salt and black pepper, and rub the panko crumbs together to work in the oil.

5.  Shape the chilled falafel mixture into 12 balls, then roll them in the panko to completely coat.

6. Lightly drizzle the baking sheet you used for the eggplant with oil. Place the falafel on the baking sheet and lightly drizzle with more oil. Bake until golden brown on the bottom, 18 to 20 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the kale with half the romesco sauce.

8. Divide the kale between two shallow bowls. Top with the tomatoes, eggplant, falafel, and remaining romesco sauce and serve.



Excerpted from Evolving Vegan by Mena Massoud, published by Tiller Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Copyright © 2020 by Evolving Vegan, Inc. All rights reserved