This falafel recipe is dried chickpeas blended with herbs and spices, then formed into patties or balls and fried to golden brown perfection. A classic recipe that tastes even better than what you’d get at a restaurant!
Whenever I go to my local Mediterranean restaurant, I have to order falafel. I cannot resist that crunchy coating and flavorful interior. Even my kids adore this dish! Luckily, it’s actually quite easy to make this delicacy, and the results are fabulous each and every time.
What are the ingredients for falafel?
The ingredients for this dish are very simple and I almost always have them in my kitchen.
- Chickpeas: This recipe calls for dry, uncooked chickpeas. The chickpeas are soaked for an extended period of time until they soften enough to be cooked. This techique is what gives my recipe its authentic flavor and texture. Do not try to substitue canned chickpeas as they will not work in this recipe.
- Herbs: You can use fresh parsley, cilantro or a combination of both. I typically use both because I think it produces a more balanced flavor. That being said, I know some people have an aversion to cilantro, so it’s fine to just use parsley.
- Spices: These chickpea patties get a lot of flavor from cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. I also include cayenne pepper for a bit of heat, and you can adjust this amount depending on how spicy you like your food.
- Vegetables: Onion and garlic both go into this recipe. There’s no need to chop them finely as they will get ground up with the rest of the ingredients.
- Oil: The final step in this dish is to cook the patties in oil. Choose a neutral flavored oil with a high smoke point such as vegetable oil, canola oil or grapeseed oil.
How do you make falafel?
The first step is to soak the chickpeas in water for 24 hours. This will soften the beans so that they can be ground up into a paste. Place the chickpeas along with herbs and spices into a food processor. Process the ingredients to make a coarse paste. Form the paste into small patties, then cook them in hot oil until they’re browned and crispy. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Tips for the perfect dish
- You can form your chickpea mixture into patties or balls – it’s up to you! I typically make balls or patties that are about 1 1/2 inches in size.
- The chickpea mixture can be made up to 8 hours in advance. Store it covered in the fridge, then shape the patties right before you’re ready to cook them.
- Leftovers will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, and can be frozen for 2 months.
- If you find that your chickpea mixture is not sticking together well to form patties, feel free to add a bit of water until you reach your desired consistency.
While this dish is fabulous as-is, you can add other ingredients to make the flavors suit your tastes.
- Beans: Use half dry chickpeas and half dry fava beans for a different flavor and texture.
- Seasonings: Try adding other spices to your chickpeas such as sumac, smoked paprika or za’atar.
- Herbs: Swap out some of the parsley and cilantro for fresh dill or green onions.
- Nuts: Feel free to substitute up to 1/2 cup of the beans with roasted walnuts.
You can bake your falafel instead of pan frying it, although I think the pan fried version has the best texture. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and brush a sheet pan with 1/4 cup olive oil. Place the patties on the pan in a single layer, then bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through until golden brown.
Skip the take out and make your own falafel instead; you’ll be glad you did!
More Mediterranean recipes to try
Falafel Recipe Video
- 1 3/4 cups dried chickpeas uncooked, do not use canned
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 1/2 cup onion coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- vegetable oil for frying
- Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let the chickpeas soak for 24 hours, adding more water to cover if needed.
- Drain the chickpeas, then place them in a food processor along with the garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, parsley, cilantro, salt, pepper, baking soda and lemon juice.
- Process until a mostly smooth paste forms. You can add water, 1-2 teaspoons at a time if the consistency does not look right.
- Form the chickpea mixture into 1 1/2 inch patties. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
- Placethe patties in a single layer in the pan. You may need to work in batches.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until deep golden brown.
- Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.