Homemade Falafel

January 30, 2011

Falafel is one of those foods people often eat out at restaurants, but rarely at home. That’s the case with me, at least. It’s silly though, because falafel is so easy and cheap to make and when you do it at home, you can make it precisely to your liking. This is probably why I eat out less and less these days- if I can make it better at home, why bother? Below, I’ve indicated the amount of each ingredient I used, but feel free to adjust it to your taste. Falafel is pretty forgiving so you can experiment without too much risk.

Ingredients: (Makes about a dozen falafel balls)

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe

1 1/2 cups dried chick peas (soaked overnight in cold water)

1/2 small yellow onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp dried parsley flakes (or you could use fresh if you’ve got it, or cilantro too)

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground chili powder

juice and zest of 1/2 large lemon (save the other 1/2 for later)

1/2 tsp baking soda

salt and pepper (to taste)

canola oil (for frying)

You can eat the falafel plain, on top of a salad or stuffed in a pita. If you’re planning to eat them in a pita, you’ll need whole wheat pita, sour cream, hummus, lettuce, sliced onion, and  bit amore lemon juice, cumin, and garlic (in addition to the ingredients listed above). Oh, and I like to add a bit of chili oil too! What can I say? I like my food spicy.

Start with the dried chick peas.


Soak them overnight submerged in cold water. They will puff up to nearly 3 times the size. They’ll go from this…


To this.


Be sure to make room in your fridge.

Next, combine the chickpeas, onion, spices, baking soda, lemon juice/zest, garlic, and parsley in a food processor. My food processor is a mini, so I had to blend it in batches (kind of a pain). Add salt and pepper at this point as well.


Now, get your oil ready. On the stove top, heat a pan with about 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of oil in the bottom. Be generous with the oil- you don’t want your frying pan to burn up!


Nice and easy. You can do it! Now, crank up the heat while you make the falafel balls.

Transfer the mix from the food processor into a mixing bowl. Add in additional spices if needed. The mixture will be wet, so make a patty in your palm and squeeze the heck out of it. This will drain out the moisture and make the ball stick together in the hot oil. If the mix is too wet, it will disintegrate in the pan. Add a bit of flour or breadcrumbs if you need a drier mix.


Drop the balls in hot oil (that’s what she said!). Cook until brown at the edges and then flip.


That’s a good lookin’ fry!


Put the falafel on a plate with paper towels to sop off some of the excess oil.


Now, set up your fixins. Make a sour cream sauce by mixing 2 tblsps sour cream with one clove of minced garlic, a dash of cumin, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Stir like crazy until creamy dreamy.


Make a little buffet with all your toppings- sour cream, sliced onion, crisp lettuce, hot chili oil, hummus, etc.

DSC_0539          DSC_0544 

Stuff all your favorites inside a whole wheat pita and go to town.


Who need to go out for falafel when you can make this at home?

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Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. Ultimate Falafel Salad
  2. Homemade Kettle Corn
  3. Homemade Fish Sticks
  4. Homemade Petros
  5. Easy “Homemade” Tomato Sauce


Ronnie January 31, 2015 at 9:42 pm

After several batches I began to blend the onion, garlic and parsley, then let that sit in a strainer, while I blended the chickpeas. I also let them strain as well. Then I mixed the other ingredients and then added it all together. I also add about 1/4 cup of WW flour, double the coriander and almost double the salt. I deep fry them at 325 for 4 minutes, 8 at a time. I also make triple batches and freeze the rest.

Courtney May 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Tried these last night. The flavor is fantastic! How did you squeeze the moisture out, though? I tried and all I managed to do was mush the stuff between my fingers. I ended up mixing in a bunch of whole wheat flour to get the stuff to stick together. (That worked fine for me; I’m just curious as to how you did it.)

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods May 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm

I totally agree! The mixture is really wet so you have to really press it into your palm and kind of shake off the excess moisture. Then mold and drop into the oil. I made them again two days ago and wondered if there wasn’t a way to make the mix a bit easier to work with. I like the idea of adding flour! Egg might work too. The flavor is fantastic but it would be great if the falafel balls were easier to form. Thanks for your comment! Glad you liked the recipe!

Sophia February 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Falafel is so delicious!! I love them! I’ve never tried making them though. Yours looks scrumptious!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods February 3, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Thanks Sophia! Falafel is actually super easy to make. Don’t be intimidated- go for it!

Homer January 31, 2011 at 8:52 pm

I am definitely trying this at home! I am addicted to falafel. Keep up the good work Jennifer and thanks for keeping me motivated to cook healthy food!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods January 31, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Thanks Homey!

Lisa {Smart Food and Fit} January 31, 2011 at 11:12 am

I love chickpeas and I’ll have to try this yummy recipe!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods January 31, 2011 at 11:30 am

I’m a bit of a chickpea junkie myself. They are a blessing for us veg heads.

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