Executive chef Ashleigh Fleming of Blue Jay Bistro in Littleton, North Carolina, uses her grandmother’s recipe for collards as the base for this recipe. Then, she says, “we fold them into ground chickpeas with a touch of flour, lemon, and more seasoning and shape them, then fry them to get them crispy. The plate design itself is very bold! Bright, barbecue-spiced carrots, pink crema, vibrant beet slaw, and falafel combine to put a truly Southern spin on the beloved dish.”

Fleming notes that at the bistro, they deep fry their falafel, but pan frying works just as well. They also use a meyer lemon-infused olive oil from Texas Olive Ranch which gives vibrant flavor and silky texture.

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Makes 8-10 cakes

  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup collard greens, washed, stemmed, and finely chopped
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon blended oil, for frying
  1. Place chickpeas in food processor and pulse to chop them roughly 5-7 pulses.
  2. Add oil, lemon juice, and seasonings and pulse to combine and further chop.
  3. Add collards and pulse 2-3 times to combine well.
  4. Add egg white and pulse another 3-4 times to combine well.
  5. Add flour and pulse another 4-5 times to combine. At this point you should have a homogenous mixture forming similar to a cookie dough; not too smooth and not chunky. Take care to not over-mix.
  6. Place falafel mix into a medium bowl and set aside in the fridge for 5-7 minutes. Pinch a small ball about the size of a quarter into the palm of your hand.
  7. Heat a small skillet with oil over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully press the falafel ball into the skillet into a cake. Sear evenly 1-2 minutes on both sides.
  8. Taste, and adjust with flour, oil, or seasoning. Adjustments can be made by adding more flour of the falafel is not holding together, more oil or lemon juice if it is dry, and more seasoning to taste.

  • Recipe By
    Ashleigh Fleming of Blue Jay Bistro in Littleton, North Carolina

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