As a vegetarian, I am always on the lookout for good falafel. I stumbled on this recipe for authentic falafel and had to try it out.
The results were amazing! These falafel are crispy on the outside and perfectly fluffy on the inside. Plus, they’re loaded with flavor! You will love them just as much as I do!
What is Falafel?
Falafel is a portion of delicious and nutritious food that originated in Egypt. It is made from a base of chickpeas or fava beans and is typically seasoned with cumin, coriander, garlic, and chili peppers.
The mixture is then formed into balls or patties and fried until crispy.
Falafel can be served as a main or a side dish and is often served with hummus, tahini, or yogurt.
It is also a popular ingredient in salads and wraps. Whether you are looking for a quick snack or a hearty meal, falafel is a great option.
How To Make The Best Falafel Recipe: Step-by-Step
with all that inspiration, let me show you how to make the best falafel recipe.
To get started, you’ll need one cup of dried chickpeas, and it is critical that you use dried chickpeas in this recipe and not canned chickpeas, as canned chickpeas are too soft and wet, and your falafel will not form properly if you use them.
You’ll need to soak your chickpeas for at least eight to 12 hours, which is easy to do overnight.
Add them to a large bowl and cover them with two to three inches of water. Remember that the chickpeas will almost triple in size, so you want plenty of water in the bowl.
The next morning, you’ll see how much your chickpeas have expanded, and the water might look a little yellowish.
That’s fine; drain and rinse your chickpeas and then add them to your food processor.
Dice up about half a cup of yellow onion. The food processor will do much of the work, but I find that it does help to do a little chopping beforehand to keep the texture consistent.
The best falafel recipes I’ve eaten have always had heaps of herbs, so we’re adding a generous amount today.
Grab a large bunch of parsley and then roughly chop it. It should equal about one cup, lightly packed if you wanna double-check, and then add it to your food processor.
Next, add cilantro, and you want an equal amount of cilantro to parsley. So, roughly chop your cilantro and add that to your food processor.
Now, this is what I consider the special ingredient of this recipe: green pepper. I’m using a small serrano pepper, but you could also use a small jalapeno pepper.
You don’t want too much pepper, just enough to add a kick of flavor without overpowering the falafel.
If your pepper is bigger than what you see here, just use half of it, but don’t omit the pepper without trying it first.
You’ll just have to trust me on this one. So, remove the seeds and membrane from the inside of the pepper, dice it up, and add it to the food processor.
Next, add three garlic cloves, and use fresh garlic rather than garlic powder for the most robust flavor. Again, you can always tweak the amount of garlic to your liking.
So, just peel the garlic cloves and toss them into the food processor.
Now add a few spices often used in Middle Eastern cooking that smell amazing, including one teaspoon of cumin, one teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of cardamom, which I love, and a quarter teaspoon of black pepper.
Once everything is in your food processor, add the lid and pulse it several times, scraping down the sides in between.
After doing this for a minute or two, you should have a mixture that still has a little texture to it but also resembles coarse sand.
Transfer the falafel dough mixture to a mixing bowl, and then add two tablespoons of chickpea flour and half a teaspoon of baking soda.
These ingredients help to bind everything together and make the falafel nice and fluffy on the inside.
Cover the bowl and then refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes to an hour so it can chill and all flavors can melt together.
After it’s chilled comes the scooping part. I’m using a medium cookie scoop. I love it as it helps to keep all of your falafel the same size.
So, scoop the mixture into your hands and form them into balls. The ball should stick together but are a bit fragile, so be gentle with them.
Repeat this process until you’ve used up all of your dough, and just place the uncooked falafel on a plate.
Now, if you prefer the flatter patty shape, you can also do this by hand.
I tend to scoop more than I do for the balls and then just form them into patty shapes with my hands.
The flatter shape is perfect for serving in pita or sandwiches, so it helps to think of how you might serve the falafel before you start shaping them.
HOW TO COOK FALAFEL:
When it comes to cooking falafel, I’ll show you three different methods.
The most common method used in restaurants but uses the most oil.
I’m using avocado oil as it’s a high-heat oil, and it’s my favorite oil to cook with, but you could also use vegetable oil.
Heat the oil on medium heat until the temperature reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some websites recommend 375 degrees, but I found that this made the outside of the falafel much darker, and I prefer a more golden, crispy outside.
Once your oil has come to temperature, gently drop your falafel balls in the oil and let them cook for a minute or so.
Cook them in batches of six to eight at a time, and use a skimmer to move them around a bit and take a peek to ensure they’re not getting too dark.
Once they look beautiful and golden, we move them to a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat the process.
This method is great as it uses less oil, You only need a few tablespoons of oil in a pan, and I prefer a cast iron pan for this.
Heat the oil to medium-high or until it sizzles when you drop the first falafel in the pan.
Cook the falafel for two to three minutes on each side or until they’re golden brown.
Then, transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate.
You’ll start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grab a baking sheet and either spray or lightly brush it with oil. Then add your falafel to the pan and lightly coat the top sides with oil.
Cook them in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes and flip them halfway through. They should be just as golden as the other methods when they’re done.
You can see that they look pretty darn similar, so it’s really up to you which method you prefer. Falafel is best eaten warm while they’re nice and crispy on the outside.
If you break one open, you’ll see beautiful vibrant green colors, and I’ll forewarn you that they are highly addictive.
Is Falafel Healthy?
Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern dish that has recently gained popularity worldwide.
Traditionally made from chickpeas or fava beans, falafel is fried and served on pita bread with salad and sauces.
Although it is often considered a healthy food, there is some debate about whether falafel is good for you. One concern is that frying can make the falafel high in fat and calories.
In addition, the pita bread and sauces often served with falafel can also add to the dish’s calories and fat content.
However, many believe that the health benefits of chickpeas or fava beans outweigh the negatives of frying.
These legumes are a good source of fiber, protein, and other nutrients and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
As a result, while fried foods are generally best consumed in moderation, there is no need to avoid falafel altogether.
IS FALAFEL GLUTEN-FREE?
Finding gluten-free and delicious foods can be challenging for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Fortunately, original traditional falafel is a great option for those looking for a satisfying, gluten-free meal.
Traditional falafel is made with chickpeas or fava beans, naturally gluten-free.
The other ingredients in falafel, such as onions, herbs, and spices, are also gluten-free.
As a result, falafel is a safe and delicious option for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
However, one common ingredient in falafel that buys in store-bought is wheat flour, which contains gluten.
Some gluten-free falafel ingredients replace wheat flour, such as oat flour or rice flour. These alternatives will still provide the same flavor and texture as traditional falafel without gluten.
HOW TO SERVE FALAFEL
You can serve your falafel with a variety of toppings, such as hummus, lettuce, tomato and onion slices, dried chili peppers, cucumber slices, and pickles, or serve with greens for a complete meal.
You can also use falafel mix as a filling for pita bread. To do this, place the pita bread on a baking sheet, and spoon the falafel mixture. Bake until hot and crispy on both sides.Print
Love falafel? This is the only recipe you’ll ever need. With step-by-step instructions, it’s easy to make this delicious dish at home.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (don’t use canned chickpeas)
- 1 cup parsley, roughly chopped (about one large bunch)
- 1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
- 1 small green chile pepper, serrano, or jalapeno pepper
- 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped (about one large bunch)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- Avocado oil for frying
- 2 tbsp chickpea flour
- The night before, soak the dried chickpeas in water. Ensure the water covers the chickpeas by 2-3 inches, as they’ll triple in size.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to your food processor.
- Add the onion, parsley, cilantro, pepper, garlic, cumin, salt, cardamom, and black pepper to the food processor and pulse several times until it resembles the texture of coarse sand.
- Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl and add the chickpea flour and baking soda. Stir together, then cover or add a lid.
- Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes to one hour.
- Use your hands, an ice cream scoop, or a falafel scoop to form the falafel into balls or patties. If you find the mixture too wet, add another tablespoon of chickpea flour. If it’s too dry and crumbly, add a teaspoon or two of water or lemon juice.
- Once the falafel is formed, you can cook them using your preferred method.
- Add about 3 inches of oil to a pot on medium heat to deep-fry the falafel. Heat the oil to 350F.
- Cook the falafel in batches (about 6-8 at a time) for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Use a skimmer to check the falafel’s color and ensure they don’t overcook it. Then remove them to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Serve the falafel immediately while warm and crispy on the outside.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: Mediterranean, middle eastern
- Serving Size: 18 falafel balls
- Calories: 62
- Sugar: 2
- Sodium: 166
- Fat: 1
- Saturated Fat: 1
- Carbohydrates: 8
- Fiber: 2
- Protein: 3
Keywords: falafel recipe, how to make falafel