This is a pasta salad inspired by the flavors of my go-to falafel recipe. Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern chickpea or fava bean fritter that I’ve loved since childhood. When I make mine, I load up on fresh mint, parsley and cilantro, as well as coriander and a little bit of cinnamon. So with this recipe, I took all of my favorite falafel ingredients and tossed them with pasta. And I had to use farfalle because…c’mon, Falafel-y Farfalle is so much fun to say!
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the chickpeas and cook, tossing occasionally, until browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin and cinnamon and cook for another minute so the spices can toast. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, a good pinch of salt and a few turns of pepper and whisk vigorously until emulsified. Add the cooked pasta, cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, most of the cilantro, mint and parsley and most of the feta and fold together. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as desired. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the chickpeas, remaining feta and remaining herbs and enjoy!
This can be made a day in advance. It’s great at room temperature, too.