Homemade Falafel Recipe

Homemade Falafel Recipe Recipe

The weather has been so pleasant in the Bay Area this weekend that I thought it would be nice to have something fun and refreshing for dinner. We haven't had falafel sandwiches in a while, and since there are so many vegetarians in my house, it was a perfect choice. Other than the falafel themselves, all that was required to prepare a full dinner was a little yogurt (Tzatziki) sauce, diced tomato salad and some pita bread.

To make the falafel I used a combination of fresh fava beans, canned chickpeas, pistachios, fresh bread and a few spices. We prepared a large number, stored a few in the freezer and deep-fried the rest. The key to light falafel is to coarsely chop the ingredients as opposed to blending the chickpeas too smoothly.

I served the meal family style with mini pita bread pockets. Everyone got to put their own sandwich together, which was half the fun. It was absolutely delicious and the preparation was almost effortless.


Yields: 50 falafel

3¼ cups canned chickpeas, drained and chopped
1 pound fresh fava beans in the pod
1 small white onion, very finely chopped
1½ cups fresh bread, cubed
¼ cup milk
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1¼ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon sumac (or paprika, if not available)
1 quart canola oil, as needed
2 tablespoons pistachios, finely chopped
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon coriander powder, freshly ground
¾ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 cups Tzatziki sauce (recipe follows)
4 cups Israeli salad (recipe follows)
1 package mini pita bread pockets, slightly toasted


Prepping the fava beans:

Shell the fava beans. Add them to a quart of salted boiling water; cook for about 5 minutes. Strain and immediately transfer into a cold water bath. Pat dry on a towel. Season with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Coarsely chop and set aside.

How to make falafel:

In a mixing bowl, soak the bread with milk. In a food processor, place the chopped chickpeas, onions, garlic, pistachios, mint and parsley. Pulse 3 to 4 times and transfer to the mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking soda, cumin powder, coriander powder and sumac. Season with salt and pepper. Using food service disposable gloves, knead the mixture. Drizzle with olive oil. Chill in the freezer until you're ready to fry.

Using an ice cream scoop, form 50 balls.

Deep-frying the falafel:

Heat a deep fryer. Add the canola oil. Once the oil is hot, fry 3 balls for about 3-5 minutes until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack lined with paper towels. I cooked them in several batches.

Assembly time: On a large platter, start by layering halved pita bread pockets. Place a mound of falafel, a bowl of Israeli salad and Tzatziki sauce on the side.

Bon appétit!


Let the falafel cool a bit before serving; otherwise they might fall apart.

If you plan to make the falafel batter in advance, add the baking soda only when you're ready to fry.

The oil shouldn't be too hot; otherwise the outside will burn and the inside won't be cooked. 350°F is an ideal temperature for the oil.

You could store the unused, un-cooked falafel in the freezer. Using a tray, chill the balls for about 1 hour in the freezer. Once hardened, place them in a large re-sealable bag (remove as much air as possible from the bag). They can be stored up to 1 month in the freezer. Don't forget to label your food with the date!

You can serve the leftover falafel for the following meal in a salad with lemon tahini vinaigrette.

For the Tzatziki sauce: In a mortar and pestle, combine 1 clove garlic, the juice of 1 lemon (+ its zest) and 2 tablespoons chopped mint. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and add 2 cups Greek-style plain yogurt. Whisk the yogurt until smooth (add water if necessary).  Add 1 diced Persian cucumber. Chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.

For the Israeli salad: In a serving bowl, combine 1 small chopped white onion, the juice of 1 lemon, 2 diced Persian cucumbers, 4 ripe tomatoes and 2 (seeded, chopped) green chiles. Season with salt and pepper. Toss well. Adjust seasoning if needed. Let sit for about 30 minutes before serving to let all the flavors blend. Garnish with 2 tablespoons parsley. Serve at room temperature.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on June 11, 2012.


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