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- 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour plus more for dredging
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt-free garlic pepper spice blend
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
Puree beans, onion, 3 tablespoons flour, and next 4 ingredients in processor until coarse puree forms. Add parsley; process just to blend. Generously sprinkle plate with flour. Measure level tablespoonfuls garbanzo mixture and roll into balls; transfer to plate. Roll falafel in flour to coat generously; flatten slightly.
Pour enough oil into heavy large skillet to reach depth of 1/2 inch. Heat oil to 375°F. Working in 2 batches, fry patties until deep brown, turning once, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer falafel to paper towels to drain.
The trick to the best falafel is actually to use raw, soaked chickpeas, rather than fully cooked. You can make these with canned chickpeas, but the results will be a bit of a creamier texture. We love the way the raw chickpeas result in a crispy outside, but keep a texture and bite in the inside.
Serve in a pita with all your favorite toppings. Some of my favorites include Israeli Salad, Green Tahini, Cabbage Salad and Schug.
Make these in an air fryer:ਊrrange about 9 falafel balls (depending on the size of your air fryer) in a single layer in your air fryer basket and air-fry for about 15 minutes at 370-380ଏ (187-193ଌ). Repeat this process until you use up all the dough.
- 145min Duration
- 15min Cook Time
- 10min Prep Time
- 15 Falafel Balls Servings
- 7 ounces dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
- 1 small onion
- 5 cloves garlic
- ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour or chickpea flour for gluten free
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil, for frying
1 Drain and rinse chickpeas, set aside.
2 In food processor finely chop all other ingredients.
3 Add chickpeas to processor and pulse just enough to mash and mix ingredients, but not too much that it becomes a paste.
4 Adjust seasoning to taste and let sit for at least 2 hours.
5 Heat frying pan with a nice layer of oil or use a deep fryer.
6 Roll about 15 balls from the batter and fry until browned on all sides.
7 Serve with all the fixings, we like Israeli salad, hummus, tahini, pickles, fried eggplant, fried onions, schug and pickled cabbages.
- 1/2 pound dried chickpeas (1 generous cup 225g)
- 2 ounces picked fresh cilantro, parsley, or mint leaves, or preferably a mixture of all three (about 2 cups 55g)
- 6 scallions, white and pale green parts only, sliced (about 2 ounces 55g)
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons 10ml)
- 1 teaspoon (about 4g) ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon (about 2g) ground coriander seed
- 2 teaspoons (about 10g) kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 2 to 3 cups (480 to 720ml) vegetable oil, for frying
- Tahini sauce, hummus, and/or zhug (Yemenite hot sauce) for serving
How to Make our Favorite Homemade Falafel Recipe
Before we started experimenting with homemade falafel, I thought it would be on the difficult side of things, but let me tell you, falafel is so easy to make! The full recipe, which has been inspired by some seriously amazing chefs including, Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimiwith, Sharon Salloum, and J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats, but here are the basic steps we follow for making amazing falafel at home:
Step 1, Soak dried chickpeas: This step is simple. Add dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) to a large bowl and cover by quite a few inches of water. Set the bowl aside and let the beans rehydrate until they triple in size. This takes a while, so I do this the night before I plan to make falafel. I’ve also done this two days in advance, drained the beans, and then kept them covered in the fridge. [While we do not cook these beans until they are in the falafel mix, we do have a full tutorial for soaking and cooking dried chickpeas if you are interested.]
Step 2, Process all falafel ingredients in a food processor: Roughly chop the onion/scallions, and then add them to the food processor with the chickpeas, garlic, herbs, spices, salt, and pepper. Then pulse until the mixture is chopped small, but before it is smooth — see our video and photos for reference.
Step 3: Cover the falafel mix and refrigerate for 15 minutes: Other recipes call for chilling the falafel mix for 2 hours, since we aren’t using canned chickpeas or flour in our recipe, we only need 15 minutes of chill time (although, you can leave it in the fridge for much longer if that works better with your schedule).
Step 4, Form balls from the falafel mix: This recipe makes about 18 falafel, so since it’s just the two of us, I usually form half of the mix into balls and then refrigerate the rest for the next day. The mixture might seem like it wants to fall apart, but trust us, it won’t. Just scoop 1 1/2 tablespoons or so of the mix and press it into a ball or oblong shape with the palms of your hands (it’s a little messy, but easy).
Step 5, Cook the falafel: For the most authentic and crispy falafel, we fry the falafel in about 3/4 inch of oil. I’m not usually one to fry foods in my kitchen, but when it comes to falafel, it’s 100% worth it! It’s also not as difficult or messy as many make it seem. I have provided tips for baking and pan-frying falafel below, but remember, for the best falafel, frying is the answer.
When the falafel are cooked, we immediately sprinkle a little extra salt over them and serve. You want to eat falafel right away since it’s at it’s best right out of the oil.
Falafel will forever be one of our favourite on-the-go meals. Though nothing's faster than picking up a sandwich from your favourite falafel joint, we promise that making these falafel balls is a cinch. Bonus: Except for being fried, falafel is actually very healthy! A perfect meal for vegetarians, and it's even vegan if you opt for tahini instead of the yoghurt sauce.
Can I make the falafel mixture ahead?
Yes! In fact, resting the mixture overnight could even help when it comes to forming the balls. You can make the mixture up to 3 days in advance. Just be sure to refrigerate it in an airtight container until ready to use.
How long do they keep once they're fried?
Like most fried things, falafel is obviously the tastiest when freshly cooked. Kept in an airtight container in the fridge, it can last up to 3 days. In a pinch, it can be microwaved. If you really want to bring it back to life, though, try toasting the balls in a toaster oven (or regular oven) until warmed through in the centre and slightly crisp on the outside.
What can I serve with falafel besides pita?
Falafel is SUPER versatile. A simple salad with chopped veggies dressed in tahini sauce and topped with falafel makes a delicious lunch or dinner. You could also try replacing the pitta with lettuce wraps, or simply eat the falafel balls on their own! (Maybe with some Greek feta dip on the side? 😏)
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
Wrap onion in cheese cloth and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Set aside. Place garbanzo beans, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, and baking soda in a food processor. Process until the mixture is coarsely pureed. Mix garbanzo bean mixture and onion together in a bowl. Stir in the flour and egg. Shape mixture into four large patties and let stand for 15 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Heat olive oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Place the patties in the skillet cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.
Transfer skillet to the preheated oven and bake until heated through, about 10 minutes.
2. Ragi millet wrap, falafel and low-fat Tzatziki by Chef Rajan Vasandi, JR. Sous Chef, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar.
- 100gm each of whole wheat and ragi flour
- Half teaspoon each of flaxseed, sunflower seed, and pumpkin seed
- 200 ml water
- One tablespoon olive oil
- Salt to Taste
- 100gm Bengal gram
- 50gm sprouts
- 20gm gram flour
- 10gm chopped mint
- Salt to Taste
- 30gm low fat yogurt
- 20gm grated cucumber
- Five grams dill
- Salt to Taste
- 20 gm each of finely chopped carrots, red cabbage, zucchini, and bell pepper.
- 10 gm each of chopped spring onion.
- One teaspoon of garlic powder.
- One tablespoon of low-fat Greek yogurt.
- Salt to Taste.
- Mix all ingredients together and add the required amount of water to make a dough.
- Make 40gm rolls each and roll it into a big size chapati.
- Cook it on both sides.
- Mix all the ingredients together with seasoning.
- Shape it and bake it in the oven at 150 degree Celsius for 12 minutes.
Mix in a bowl together and serve along with the wrap.
- Sauté all the ingredients and add garlic powder and Greek Yogurt to make a filling.
- Start assembling the wrap by adding the filling to the wrap and roll it.
- Serve along with a side.
Canned Chickpeas Vs Dried
Falafel is the definition of Middle Eastern fast-food. Traditionally originating around Egypt and the Levant, I am always surprised at how ‘difficult’ or ‘intimidating’ everyone thinks falafel is to make for something that is considered to be ‘street-food’.
One of my biggest gripes when it comes to making homemade falafel has always been, not having a food processor (which most recipes online require), as well as not having dried chickpeas available all the time. So I never really made my own falafel at home and always purchased a box mix.
I hate buying a pre-made mix though (extra waste, it’s processed etc…), so I finally buckled down and made my own falafel at home. In order to make the best-canned chickpea falafel though, I wanted to know why everyone says not to use canned chickpeas in their recipes!
Turns out it’s a moisture thing. Canned chickpeas are pre-cooked and stored in a water-based liquid. This naturally saturates the chickpeas with plenty of moisture, causing them to break apart when deep-fried, or have a mushy texture.
Traditionally chickpeas or fava beans were soaked overnight, and then ground, before being used to make falafel. This results in a much fluffier and drier texture then if you were to use canned chickpeas.
In order to get around this moisture problem, I tweaked the recipe a little to get around that problem, but if you’ve had traditional falafel, you’ll find this recipe to have a much creamier texture.
Classic Homemade Falafel
Falafel (pronounced "fell-off-uhl"), sometimes spelled "felafel" or "felafil," is a deep-fried ball or patty that is made from either chickpeas or fava beans and spices. It is a vegetarian and vegan food and one of the most widely consumed and recognized foods of the Middle East. It's a very popular fast food around the world, and vendors sell it on the street corners in countries like Egypt, Syria, and Israel, where it's the national dish.
Falafel is a favorite among vegetarians with its crisp outside and tender inside with a mildly spiced flavor thanks to the garlic, parsley, and spices. The spices are a key aspect and can be personalized to taste. Make sure you leave enough time to soak the dried chickpeas overnight before mixing up your batter and frying.
As a main dish, falafel is often served as a sandwich, stuffed in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini. As an appetizer, it can be served on a salad or with hummus and tahini. It's also often served with hot sauce.
Falafel recipe (all the secrets)
What is falafel? Falafel is a popular Middle-Eastern food made from ground chickpeas and herbs. The chickpea mixture is formed into small balls which are fried in oil. Then it’s usually served with pita bread and tahini sauce or some hummus. Homemade falafel made from scratch are easier than you think, and the best thing is that you can customize the recipe to your liking by adding cilantro instead of parsley, less or more garlic, or the herbs and spices you prefer.
They’re also vegan and gluten-free (not all recipes are gluten-free though) so they’re the perfect snack to feed a lot of people with different dietary needs and habits. Traditionally, falafel are fried but you can also bake them in the oven if you don’t like to use your frying pan (instructions for baking them are at the end of this post, but you can also watch this video for how to bake falafel from downshiftology).
Friendly reminder: when you soak the chickpeas you may want to add a few more just to make a batch of this delicious homemade hummus.
The basic ingredients if you want to make falafel are:
- dried chickpeas (you will need to soak them)
- baking soda (to treat the chickpeas)
- green onions (if you can’t find them, half a regular onion will also do)
- parsley or cilantro (whichever you prefer or both)
- vegetable oil (for frying or to spray for baking)
There are some more ingredients I like to add to my falafel, but they’re optional, meaning that the falafel will turn out okay even if you don’t use these:
Is falafel gluten-free?
Some recipes call for flour as a binding agent, because a usual problem with falafel is that they can fall apart during cooking. This recipe does not require flour so it is naturally gluten free, and your falafel will stay intact as long as you follow the simple instructions below.
However, if you have any problems with your falafel breaking during cooking, or if you notice that your falafel mixture has more moisture than you like, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour or chickpea flour (chickpea flour will keep the recipe gluten free). Don’t add more flour since it can change the texture.
How do you make falafel from scratch?
- Soak the chickpeas overnight
- process all the falafel ingredients in a food processor
- form small balls
- fry or bake in the oven
Are you wondering why your falafel fall apart and how to keep them from breaking?
You will notice that the falafel mixture is not very coherent, so you will need to press it firmly between your hands to form small balls. A common problem with these chickpea balls is that they can break during cooking. The possible reasons when that happens are:
- The chickpeas were not treated with baking soda
- The falafel mixture was not processed enough
- You added way too many greens (parsley or green onions)
- You didn’t let the mixture rest before cooking
- You made the falafel too big
- You moved them too much during cooking.
To protect your falafel from breaking during cooking make sure you follow all the secrets mentioned below!
- Use dried chickpeas. Falafel cannot be made with canned chickpeas. The texture, flavor and everything else will be wrong.
- Soak the chickpeas in water for at least 12 hours.
- Use baking soda during soaking because it tenderizes the chickpeas and helps them cook better and faster. For extra efficiency, you can treat them twice with baking soda: drain the soaked chickpeas and mix them with another tablespoon of baking soda. Let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes, rinse well and drain again.
- Process the falafel mixture in the food processor until it becomes very fine. A coarse mixture will not hold very well during cooking.
- Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes. Why? Because the mixture gets hydrated evenly and the starch from the chickpeas develops better helping the falafel hold their shape.
- Make them small. Large falafel will almost certainly fall apart (or in the best will develop cracks) during cooking. They will also not be cooked all the way to the center. Use a measuring tablespoon to form small balls of the same size.
- Don’t crowd the frying pan and don’t move them around during cooking. Just let them cook from one side and develop the external crust that will help them hold their shape. Then carefully, using two forks or a fork and a spatula flip them to cook from the other side.
What do you serve with falafel?
- Homemade ummus
- pita bread and tahini sauce
- A green salad of your choice
- Labneh or greek yogurt with olive oil
- tomatoes with olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Fresh bread
- toasted bread with sliced avocado
My basic, 4-ingredient tahini sauce for falafel
You can easily bring this basic tahini sauce to your liking by adjusting the quantity of the lemon juice. Just keep tasting and adding lemon juice until you feel it’s right. You can also add a clove of minced garlic and the spices of your choice. Black pepper, cumin, cardamom, sumac are usually my go tos.
- 1/4 of a cup tahini
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cold water.
The mixture will seize and thicken at first. Add 1-2 more tablespoons of water until it becomes smooth again. Taste and adjust the salt and the lemon juice. If you want it more runny you can add an extra splash of water.
Fried falafel are a little bit better than baked. And because they don’t need too much time to cook, they don’t absorb a lot of oil during frying. But baking them have its perks, since it feels easier for many people and you can bake more falafel at the same time. For baked falafel: