Falafel (pronounced "fell-off-uhl"), sometimes spelled "felafel" or "felafil," is a deep-fried ball or patty that is made from either chickpeas or fava beans and spices. It is a vegetarian and vegan food and one of the most widely consumed and recognized foods of the Middle East. It's a very popular fast food around the world, and vendors sell it on the street corners in countries like Egypt, Syria, and Israel, where it's the national dish.
Falafel is a favorite among vegetarians with its crisp outside and tender inside with a mildly spiced flavor thanks to the garlic, parsley, and spices. The spices are a key aspect and can be personalized to taste. Make sure you leave enough time to soak the dried chickpeas overnight before mixing up your batter and frying.
As a main dish, falafel is often served as a sandwich, stuffed in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini. As an appetizer, it can be served on a salad or with hummus and tahini. It's also often served with hot sauce.
Click Play to See This Veggie-Friendly Falafel Recipe Come Together
Gather the ingredients.
Place dried chickpeas in a bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to soak overnight.
Drain the chickpeas and place them in a pot with fresh water. Bring to a boil.
Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and let simmer on low for about 1 hour. Being careful not to overcook them. They should still be firm.
Drain and allow to cool in the strainer for 15 minutes.
Add 2 inches of oil to a heavy-bottomed large pot and heat to 350 F.
Combine the drained chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper (if using) in a medium bowl. Add the flour.
Mash the chickpeas, mixing all of the ingredients together. Alternatively, you can combine the ingredients in a food processor. You want the result to be a thick paste.
Form the mixture into balls about the size of a ping pong ball. Slightly flatten.
Fry the falafel balls for 5 to 7 minutes until golden brown. Drain.
- The dried and cooked chickpeas can be replaced with a can of chickpeas. Skip the soaking and cooking if using canned beans. Make sure to rinse and drain, patting the beans dry with paper towels.
- If the mixture isn't firm enough, add extra flour a little at a time.
- If you need a binding agent, add one beaten egg.
- Fry in batches, making sure that the oil returns to 350 F before frying the next one.
Is Chickpea Falafel Healthy?
Falafel is vegan and high in fiber thanks to the chickpeas. However, traditional falafel like this recipe is deep-fried, adding fat and calories. Make falafel part of a healthy meal by pairing it with fresh vegetables like cucumber, tomato, and lettuce. Or try making baked falafel.