Recipe for today: Falafel – the long and short of it

I love, love, love Falafel.  Honestly, I love the boxed mix.  Homemade is always better but if you are short on time, the boxed is a pretty good substitute for “the real thing”.   My favorite boxed brand is Casbah.  If you have the time to make falafel completely from scratch this is the recipe you want. If you are not familiar with falafel, it is a fried ball of chickpeas, dating back to Biblical times, likely originating somewhere on the Indian subcontinent but now popular all over India, North Africa and the Middle East. The Egyptian version  exclusively uses fava beans but I can’t vouch for that recipe as I have never eaten a fava bean. What makes falafel different from many other bean dishes is the beans are not cooked prior to use. Instead they are soaked then ground with other ingredients and deep fried.


My Favorite Falafel

1 cup dried chickpeas or one can chickpeas drained, if you are pressed for time
1/2 large onion, diced chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro or both
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne pepper (not necessary but adds a little heat)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin (possibly my favorite spice in the whole wide world 🙂 )
1 tsp coriander
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
oil for frying

Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.

Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, salt, cayenne, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.

Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of a ping pong ball, or use a small cookie scoop found here.

Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a skillet or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Serving suggestions:

~ Fill a  pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled relish. Drizzle with tahini sauce. Or any combination of such condiments.  I am not a big fan of tahini but here is a quick recipe for you.

Tahini  Sauce

* 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
* 4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

~Serve as a finger food with a Tzatziki.
Tzaiki is a yogurt cucumber dip that you really need to make the day before and chill overnight.

*Plain low-fat yogurt
*juice of 1/2 lemon
* Medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
* 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
* 1 tsp. dried parsley

Finely dice or grate the entire cucumber. In a bowl, combine 8 oz. of plain yogurt and add the diced cucumber to it. Stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients.  Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill overnight.


So there you have it! Yummy, yummy falafel!

Now don’t forget to visit tomorrow and get the scoop!

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I’m so glad you found your mojo again, Susan. I love falafel! Guess what I want for dinner tonight now. lol I haven’t done much cooking since I’ve been taking care of my mother- I think it’s time I got back in the kitchen. Maybe she’ll even try some. 🙂

Thanks for this recipe! I can’t wait to try it!

The falafel looks delicious – thanks for the recipe. I like chickpeas and often make hummus.

My tummy really, really likes you Susan. If only we could order Take-Out from your house!


Mmmm. I’ve never had these, but saw them at this “hole in the wall” Lebanese place in London. They also had really yummy chicken Shawarma’s. I’ll have to try these. I never knew what they were made of:)

We share a common love! Falafel is one of my favorites, too. By far, the best I’ve ever eaten was in a Druze community at the base of Mt. Carmel in Israel. I still crave it! The next best thing (since trips to Israel can add up) is a recipe I found in Joann Weir’s book From Tapas to Meze. Fantastic!! I’ll have to try the Casbah version when I’m pressed for time. I love a good food recommendation. By the way, I haven’t had the fava bean version, but I will say that having tried Foule Madammas, I’m a believer! I love hummus, but this fava bean version is superior. You should try it.