This Easy Falafel Recipe makes fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside fried chickpea balls. Made from a homemade dried chickpea mixture with fresh herbs, spices, and garlic. It’s a wonderful family friendly recipe for a healthy meatless meal!
Whenever I want to eat vegetarian, but don’t want to feel like I’m eating vegetarian, I make this falafel recipe. Even though it’s fried (in olive or avocado oil), it’s still overall a pretty healthy meal. Chickpeas are loaded with protein and fiber, plus lots of extras like B vitamins, iron, magnesium, folate, and phosphorus. Skip the pita and top a great big veggie salad with the falafel and a little tahini.
What is falafel?
Falafel is a chickpea fritter mixture made from dried chickpeas soaked overnight in water. The soaked chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are ground together with fresh herbs and spices in a food processor until it’s a smooth mixture. Then it’s shaped into balls and fried in oil until ultra crispy on the outside, while staying moist and fluffy on the inside. Full of bold flavors of fresh garlic, cilantro, parsley, and cumin, these little chickpea patties are commonly known as a Middle Eastern street food or fast food. They are also perfect when you want to serve healthy vegetarian meals to your family or guests.
How to make authentic falafel
This recipe reminds me of my time as a college student, at the University of Tennessee. When my greatest worries were making sure I went to all the mandatory attendance classes and having enough money for some good food. While at school, I ate at least three times a week at a place that served authentic and inexpensive homemade falafel. Guess what their name was? It was Falafel Hut.
Well, if there’s one thing I know, you better have some darn good falafel if it’s in your name. The Hut had nothing to worry about because they had some fantastic tasting falafel! One day, I wanted to make them at home, so I asked for the recipe. The Hut wouldn’t give up their original recipe BUT they gave me one very important tip: always use dried chickpeas that have been soaked overnight.
For years I made them only this way, until that day, when I forgot to soak the chickpeas. I grabbed a can of chickpeas, went through the arduous task of removing all the skins, and then made my recipe like I always do. They were nothing like my normal falafel! The texture was so strange, it was mushy and just didn’t work for me at all. Moral of the story: use dried chickpeas for the best tasting and best textured authentic falafel.
P.S. Other than making sure the dried chickpeas start soaking the day before, it’s quite an effortless task to make homemade falafel. Plus, the mixture can be made ahead of time and stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
What to serve with falafel:
If you are looking for a healthy vegetarian meal, grab your bag of garbanzo beans and make this Easy Falafel Recipe this weekend! Please leave me a comment below and let me know how you liked it.
Easy Falafel Recipe
- 1/2 pound dried chickpeas , thoroughly washed and picked over for small stones. Let soak for 24 hours and drain well before using.
- 1/4 cup onion , diced
- 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs (I use panko)
- 3 whole fresh cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/3 cup fresh flat leafed Italian parsley
- 1 whole egg
- oil for frying , olive or avocado oil
- serve with: tzatziki sauce
- and Greek salad
optional accompaniments: tahini sauce, pickled vegetables, and/or pita bread
- Using a food processor, add all ingredients, except for the whole egg, and grind for about a minute or until mixture is just evenly chopped up. Add the 1 whole egg and blend again until mixture is finely chopped together and smooth.
- Put 2 inches of oil in a 8 or 10 inch cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed fry pan and heat over medium heat until it reaches 360F/182C degrees. Using your hands and a spoon, shape 1-2 tablespoons of the dough into a slightly flattened round circle. Fry in the hot oil until brown on both sides (about 3-4 minutes each side). Drain on a wire rack or paper towels.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with tzatziki sauce, tahini sauce, pickled vegetables, pita bread, and/or your favorite salad fixings.
Recipe Notes & Tips:
- Store leftover uncooked falafel mixture and any cooked falafel, in a covered container, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.