oven baked spinach and kale felafel

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I love my veggies but sometimes eating them can be a chore. I wanted to whip up a fun new way to eat my greens today, so I modified the traditional felafel to to include spinach and kale in addition to the traditional chick peas! Also, here are some fun facts about the health benefits of the ingredients in this dish;

Kale
Kale is low in calories, has zero fat, and a ton of fiber. It is full of antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and K- these vitamins help your skin, you vision, your metabolism and you hydration… vitamin K is even thought to be a cancer fighter! It’s high in iron and calcium, is great for your liver, and is a perfect veggie for detoxing your body! 

Spinach
Similarly to kale, spinach contains many antioxidants and vitamins that are great for you liver, skin, and overall bodily function. It also contains beta-carotene which has been shown to prevent asthma.

Chick Peas/ Garbanzo Beans
A great source of protein, these beans also contain tons of fiber, iron, and manganese; a mineral that helps with energy production and antioxidant defenses. Chickpeas are also thought to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and because they contain folate and magnesium, they are thought to strengthen blood vessels and possibly lower the risk of heart attack.

CuminCumin is one of my favorite spices, not only for the taste, but for all of its great health benefits! Each teaspoon contains 22% of your daily Iron intake, it has been used for centuries as a bacteria blocker on certain foods, and a study showed it can help fight bacteria in wounds in humans.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil has been known to lower risks of heart attacks and stroke. It is high in monounsaturated fat which can help lower cholesterol and control insulin production. It is also full of antioxidant polyphenol which helps protect your cells from damage- certain polyphenols have also been said to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Ingredients

1 can of chickpeas
a few handfuls each of kale and spinach
2-3 tablespoons of flour (i used barley flour but you can use whatever you have laying around the house!)
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of parsley
a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
half a red onion
two cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
salt & pepper

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add your chickpeas (drained and rinsed!), spinach, and kale to your food processor. Give this a few pulses and then add your spices, onion, garlic, and lemon juice, and continue to mix until everything is combined- it won’t be perfectly smooth and that’s ok. Also, depending on how much spinach and kale you use, you may have to add more flour to help thicken your mixture up a bit more. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spoon a bit of your mixture onto it. I just dropped my mix and let it do its thing, but feel free to shape them into patties. Once they are laid out on the cookie sheet and put them in the oven. I wasn’t exactly timing mine, but I think it took about 20 minutes- when they are done, they will be starting to turn a nice golden brown and will be pretty firm to the touch.

To serve, I chopped up some mini heirloom tomatoes and made a bit of greek yogurt spread to go with the felafel, and threw everything onto a whole wheat pita. For the yogurt spread I added a handful of fresh basil to about a quarter of a cup of plain greek yogurt, some salt, pepper, and olive oil, as well as some garlic powder, and blended it until smooth. I also topped with crumbled goat cheese because, well, goat cheese makes everything better!

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kale and herb bread

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i mentioned in my last post how much i love the blog green kitchen stories. this is another one of their recipes that i was super excited to try and it came out wonderfully!

2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 g active yeast (the size of a pea) or 1/4 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp honey
1 handful fresh herbs or kale, very finely chopped (i used kale, marjoram, basil, and thyme)
2 3/4 cups of your favorite flour (i used whole wheat flour)
2 cups of your favorite flour (i used half whole wheat flour and half regular white flour)
extra flour for folding
1 oven proof dutch oven, cast iron or ceramic pot

“Place water in a large mixing bowl. mix the yeast into the water until it is dissolved. Add salt, honey, herbs and kale and stir until well mixed. Sift the flours and add to the water mixture. Mix together until all is combined, yes it will look kind of loose and messy and not as pretty as a traditional bread dough, but that is normal. Cover with plastic wrap, set aside to ferment in room temperature for 12-15 hours.

When you unwrap the bowl, the dough is bubbly and sticky. Prepare your work surface, flour the kitchen counter and a kitchen towel (you’ll use that later). Pour the dough out on the flour covered surface and dust the dough with flour or it will be to sticky to handle. Then fold it 4 times. Take the first side and fold it onto the middle of the dough. Repeat this for the opposing side, then do the same thing to the top and bottom. Now place the folded dough on the flour dusted kitchen towel with the folded sides down. Fold the kitchen towel over the dough and let rise for 2-3 hours (in room temperature). When there is about 40 minutes left of the rising time, turn on the oven to 500F (250°C) and place the dutch oven (no greasing needed) with the lid on in the oven. When the oven is ready, the dutch oven is smokin’ hot and the dough is done rising. Carefully remove the dutch oven from the hot oven, using oven gloves. Unwrap the dough and place/drop it in the dutch oven. Slash the dough with a knife, then cover with the lid and place it back in the hot oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then lower the to 445F (230°C), remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven, let cool slightly, turn the dutch oven upside down and place the bread on an oven rack to cool.”

these instructions were pretty fool proof and my loaf of bread turned out perfect! i served the bread with white beans that were tossed with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and basil and snacked on it while i was making the rest of my dinner!