Fluffy, crispy, and tasty, it is easy to see why falafel is a favorite street food throughout the world.
"What exactly is falafel" you may wonder...
Falafel is essentially balls or patties of ground chickpeas or fava beans seasoned with fresh herbs, often coloring the interior green. The patties are commonly deep-fried then served straight off a plate or stuffed into pita bread as a sandwich.
Rather than deep-frying the chickpea mixture, this falafel recipe calls for a light pan fry with heart-healthy oil. This not only ensures a golden brown and crispy exterior but a nutritious option!
While this great recipe does take some planning, the dish is well worth the extra bit of effort. Besides, this falafel recipe is packed with plant-based protein, dietary fiber, and flavor.
(And if you like chickpeas, you will love this curry roasted butternut squash with chickpeas recipe as well!)
But back to this falafel recipe… Find out how to make these nutritious and delicious falafels and five ways to enjoy them!
Green Falafel Recipe
Yield: About 30 falafel
Nutrition per 1 falafel serving: 70 calories, 2 g fat, 3 g protein, 10 g total carb, 2g fiber
Prep time: 8 hours (soaking chickpeas) 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 8 hours 30 minutes
• 2 cups chickpeas, dry (uncooked)*
• 1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
• 1 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
• 4 garlic cloves
• 1 onion, roughly chopped
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
• 1/2 lemon, juiced
• 4 Tbsp wheat flour (sub with gluten-free flour as desired)
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
*Dry chickpeas are preferred over canned chickpeas, which are already cooked. Using canned can lead to an overly soft and soggy falafel.
1. Add dried chickpeas to a large bowl and cover with enough water to submerge. Let soak overnight or at least 8 hours. Wash and drain the soaked chickpeas.
2. Add herbs to a food processor and pulse for about 1 minute. Add the chickpeas and pulse for an additional minute, making sure to not blend completely. The falafel mixture should be smooth but crumbly. Also, feel free to taste and adjust seasons accordingly.
3. Transfer the chickpea mixture to a large bowl then add the flour. Mix until combined. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for 1 hour.
4. Form the falafel into 1-inch balls using your hands or a cookie scoop. Flatten them out slightly to ensure even cooking. Scoop until all the mixture is used.
5. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet or frying pan and line a plate with a paper towel. Add the shaped falafel mixture to the hot pan, making sure to not overcrowd for easy flipping. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until crisped and browned. Transfer cooked falafel onto the lined plate to absorb excess oil and continue the process until all falafel is prepared.
6. Serve using the 5 ideas below and enjoy!
Baked Falafel Recipe
Along with being deep and pan-fried, falafel can be baked in the oven. Make the falafel mixture just like in the recipe above, then follow these steps when ready to bake:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F and brush a baking sheet with a light layer of olive oil.
2. Form the falafel into 1-inch balls using your hands or a cookie scoop. Flatten them out slightly to ensure even cooking. Scoop until all the mixture is used.
3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, gently flipping the falafel halfway through, until golden in color. For a slightly crispier product, broil for a minute or two at the end. Watch carefully to avoid any burning.
4. Serve and enjoy (with the delicious ideas below)!
5 Ways to Serve Falafel
There are countless delicious ways to serve falafel! Some classics and innovative ideas include falafel simply on its own, stuffed into
Yes, falafel can be simply enjoyed fresh off the skillet or out of the oven. Because being made with chickpeas, they are balanced with plant-based protein, dietary fiber, and other nutrients.
Likewise, feel free to dip and serve with a sauce such as tzatziki and tahini* sauces. Hummus also pairs great with the falafel recipe!
*To make a quick tahini sauce, simply whisk 2 Tbsp tahini, the juice from 1/2 lemon, and a pinch of garlic powder and cumin until combined. Thin with water to reach desired consistency and season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Falafel Pita Wraps
Falafel is commonly prepared into a pita sandwich or wrap, making it the perfect handheld lunch and grab-n-go option.
Stuff falafel to pita bread with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and other favorite veggies. Add feta cheese and tzatziki, tahini, or another sauce as desired.
3. Falafel Grain Bowls
Layer falafel with a favorite whole grain such as brown rice or orzo. For a low-carb option, swap out whole grain rice with riced cauliflower or even spiralized zucchini.
Bulk with veggies and dress with olive oil or other sauce like this sample falafel rice bowl:
• Brown rice
• Green olives
• Red onions
• Olive oil
• Lemon juice
4. Falafel Salads
Falafel makes a great addition to a salad, offering flavor and fullness factors to a bowlful of veggies.
Lightly drizzle with olive oil or another preferred dressing or sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, along with fresh herbs as desired.
5. Falafel Smorgasbord
Assemble a falafel smorgasbord to serve at a party or a unique dinner!
The smorgasbord can be as simple or creative as desired and may include:
Overall, falafel can be enjoyed in many delicious ways so have fun experimenting with flavors!