Walnut Falafel

An elevation of a classic Oscar party-worthy hors d’oeuvre.

Photo by Leah Lizarondo


Here’s a Mensa-level question for you:

Super Bowl : commercials
Oscars :        ____________

The red carpet! I hope no one got this wrong. I will, unapologetically, admit that it is the TV event I consider “sacred time.” I want to settle in that living room sofa in a manner that can only invoke “couch potato” with a big bowl of popcorn, a wine glass in close proximity and an aura that gives off a virtual Do Not Disturb sign. I will gladly endure Joan Rivers’ stretched countenance.



Better yet, I love going to Oscar parties with kindred spirits, where we revel in each other’s company and understand the compulsion for Fashion Week front-row commentary more passionate than any Monday-morning quarterback could muster. The gowns! The heels! The makeup! The jewelry! All the politically incorrect princess programming that I was subjected to as a child will come to the fore. And I won’t repress it. I will do some high-level math the next day to make up for it.

Ah, delicious Oscars weekend. I cannot wait!

With that little soliloquy for Oscar fashion out of the way, I want to share the perfect elegant hors d’oeuvre to bring to your party (or solo couch-potato fiesta). It’s an ingenious update on falafel from Kris Carr and Chad Sarno’s cookbook, “Crazy Sexy Kitchen” — one of my favorite cookbooks of late.

The “dough” contains nuts and herbs instead of flour or wheat. This falafel is baked in a low-heat oven so it does not contain the oily mess of run-of-the-mill options. The garlicky tahini sauce is the perfect accompaniment. For a nice touch, serve each falafel on a spear of endive with a dollop of the sauce — or, for a more substantial meal, on a bed of crisp romaine.

This elevation of a classic is nothing less than Oscar-worthy.


  Walnut Falafel

Yield: Makes 25 small falafels or about 18 medium ones


  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, soaked overnight
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • ¾ cup sesame seeds, ground
  • ½ cup minced parsley
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • 3 T minced fresh oregano
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • ½ T cumin powder
  • ½ t black pepper
  • 1 t sea salt



1. Preheat oven to 250º F.

2. Strain the nuts.

3. In a food processor, puree the nuts and dates.

4. In a mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix the nut puree by hand (I literally used my hands).

5. When thoroughly mixed, use a small ice cream scoop to form a ball and press with the bottom of a glass to form a patty.

6. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes. Do not overbake or it will become too dry. Err on the side of a shorter baking time.

7. Serve with garlic tahini dressing.


  Garlic Tahini Dressing

Yield: Makes 2 ½ cups

In a high-speed blender, blend the following until smooth:

  • ¾ cup tahini
  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1 T toasted sesame oil
  • 2 ½ T tamari

Categories: Brazen Kitchen, Eat + Drink Features