recipe
Aug
30
2013

Foodie Friday: Falafel

Happy Friday Peeps!

Now bear with me today approving comments (and come on – leave me some feedback!) and it might be tomorrow evening before I approve them. Jerry, Ben and I are off to the big city for doctor appointments.

Today’s recipe is for Falafel.  I love love love falafel. And it is so easy to make gluten free.  I want to remind you of my favorite falafel recipe.  I posted this recipe a long time ago – three years ago I think.  Before I had to give up gluten. So to make gluten free just sub the flour for your favorite all purpose gluten free flour mix.  Some times changing a recipe to gluten free changes the texture and even the taste but happily not in this recipe.

Honestly, I used to love the boxed mix.  Homemade is always better but if you are short on time, and aren’t restricted from gluten, the boxed is a pretty good substitute for “the real thing”.   My favorite boxed brand is Casbah.  I think I have even seen gluten free mix but am not sure. 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 falafel. 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.

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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.
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So there you have it! Yummy, yummy falafel!  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 (all purpose or gluten free blend)
  • 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!
Love and peace to you all!
Namaste!

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Hi Susan, I have always wanted to try Falafel. Your recipe looks very tasty. I may give it a go! Hope you had a great day in the city! xxoo