The other night while making a black bean and rice bowl that I was going to top with some chopped radishes (Mexican food+radishes=heaven, a combo I learned while testing for Terry Romero), I got a bit peckish and decided to make myself some little radish sandwiches with tahini. As in, two radish slices surrounding a little dab of tahini. I liked it so much I started craving them the following days, and then I thought about how we make these rawviolis at work using thin radish or beet slices filled with a creamy herbed cashew cheese. And I thought, why not combine the two ideas and make falafel-flavored rawvioli, or “falavioli” as my geeky little brain decided upon!
You don’t need to eat many of these since the tahini is deliciously filling, and they’re great stand-alone snacks or as a salad accompaniment. In fact, I started getting so full I couldn’t eat most of my salad and am saving it for tomorrow. The filling is adjustable to taste, whether you like a little spice or more onion or garlic, anything really! They’re fun to make and any uneaten ones will last a couple days in the fridge; the zesty radishes stay crunchy unlike real falafel which turns dry and crumbly. But again, it’s not exactly traditional falafel either, which I prefer to leave to the experts for those times I’m not feeling too grossed out by the thought of deep-fried foods. This is the kind of falafel that celebrates the arrival of spring or summer (the beauty heart radishes I used are making me all dreamy for leaf buds to start poking their ways out of the branches…someday not to far from now, I hope). Crunch! crunch!
makes about 1/2 cup of filling
2 cloves garlic
2 green onions, or about 2 tablespoons onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
one tiny handful of parsley leaves
one tiny handful of cilantro leaves (or use more parsley)
6 tablespoons tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
olive oil or water to help process (optional)
2 radishes, thinly sliced with a mandoline or sharp knife
In a food processor, finely chop the garlic and onion with the salt and spices. Add the parsley and cilantro and pulse. Add the tahini and lemon juice and process until a paste forms, adding some olive oil or water to help things keep moving (but not too much, you want a fairly sticky filling). Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
(TIP: If your tahini is thin and runny, you can thicken the mixture by adding some sunflower seeds for bulk. This might affect the flavor slightly, but it will help your filling from running out the sides of your finished falavioli.)
Spread a small amount (about 1-2 teaspoons) of the filling onto a radish slice, then top with a second radish slice and press down gently. Continue until all the filling has been used, or you run out of radish slices (the filling is also tasty as a toast or sandwich topper). Serve alone or with a fresh salad.