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Falafel

Falafels are delicious deep-fried golden brown chickpeas mixed with spices and herbs. Serve these with pita bread or simple Mediterranean salad for a quick lunch.
Falafels.

Falafels.

If you are into Middle Eastern cuisine, you should have tried falafels by now. Falafels are deep-fried chickpeas balls mixed with spices and fresh herbs.

There are many ways to enjoy falafels. My favorite is stuffing them into pita bread drizzled with hummus or tahini sauce. When I want a quick and healthy lunch, I use falafels to bulk up a simple Mediterranean salad and turn it into a filling meal.

Ingredients for falafel: chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, cayenne, cilantro, salt, pepper, baking soda, and lemon.

Ingredients for falafel: chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, cayenne, cilantro, salt, pepper, baking soda, and lemon.

Ingredients for Falafel

To make falafel from scratch, we will need dried chickpeas, garlic, onion, ground coriander, ground cumin, smoked paprika (or cayenne powder), fresh cilantro, salt, pepper, baking soda, and lemon.

You can’t use canned chickpeas.

I stock plenty of canned chickpeas in my pantry since it’s so convenient, but this is one of the rare cases where you need to start from dried chickpeas and soak them overnight.

Pulse all ingredients into a coarse texture, then scoop out tablespoonfuls to shape into round balls.

Pulse all ingredients into a coarse texture, then scoop out tablespoonfuls to shape into round balls.

Prepare falafel mixture

1. Soak chickpeas

Put chickpeas in a large mixing bowl, top with enough water to cover the beans by 4 inches, and soak for 24 hours. You may need to add more water during soaking to keep the beans covered.

TIPS: You may notice that the volume of chickpeas will triple after soaking, so be sure to use a large bowl. I use a 5-quart bowl.

2. Pulse the ingredients

Drain chickpeas and transfer to a food processor with the remaining ingredients, except the oil. Pulse until minced but not pureed into a smooth paste. Refrain from adding any water to prevent the mixture from becoming too wet.

TIPS: If you find the mixture is too wet, you can add a little bit of garbanzo/chickpeas flour. I have also tried adding almond flour to great success whenever my chickpeas mixture ends up slightly too wet.

Falafel balls, ready for deep-frying.

Falafel balls, ready for deep-frying.

Shape and fry falafels

1. Shape falafels

Scoop out heaping tablespoons of chickpeas mixture and shape into balls. I use a medium-size cookie scoop for convenience.

TIPS: Arrange chickpeas balls on a baking sheet lined with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. You can also chill the mixture first for 1 hour, even overnight, to dry up the chickpeas mixture.

2. Deep fry falafels

Put about 2-3 inches of oil in a pot for deep frying. Once the oil is hot (~ 180 Celsius/350 Fahrenheit), fry falafels until golden browned, about 5 minutes per batch.

TIPS: If you don’t have a thermometer, you can use this observation to note that the oil is the correct temperature. A pinch of the chickpeas mixture will sizzle immediately, and a piece of falafel will sink halfway to the bottom of the pot, then float.

Deep fry falafels until golden brown.

Deep fry falafels until golden brown.

Falafel tips: baking, making ahead, and freezing

Baking falafels

If you must avoid deep-frying, you can try baking falafels in the oven too. Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius/350 Fahrenheit, and lightly oil a baking sheet.

Brush each chickpeas ball with some oil, then arrange on the baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, turning halfway during baking.

Making head

You can prepare the chickpeas mixture up to 2 days ahead of time. Chill the chickpeas mixture in a mixing bowl, covered with a saran wrap. Form the mixture into balls right before frying.

Freezing falafels

Shape chickpeas mixture into balls, and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 1 hour until hardened. Transfer frozen balls into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. You can fry/bake frozen chickpeas balls, so there is no need to thaw before using them.

Falafel

Author: Anita Jacobson

Courses:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Diets:

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Serves: 8

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup dried chickpeas
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • enough oil for deep frying

Instructions

  1. Soak chickpeas: Put chickpeas in a large mixing bowl, top with enough water to cover the beans by 4 inches, and soak for 24 hours. You may need to add more water during soaking to keep the beans covered.
  2. Pulse the ingredients: Drain chickpeas and transfer to a food processor with the remaining ingredients, except the oil. Pulse until minced but not pureed into a smooth paste. Refrain from adding any water to prevent the mixture from becoming too wet.
  3. Shape falafels: Scoop out heaping tablespoons of chickpeas mixture and shape into balls. I use a medium-size cookie scoop for convenience.
  4. Deep fry falafels: Put about 2-3 inches of oil in a pot for deep frying. Once the oil is hot (~ 180 Celsius/350 Fahrenheit), fry falafels until golden browned, about 5 minutes per batch.

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