Homemade Falafel


Falafel. The very first thing I eat when I land back home.

But it’s not just about the taste of falafel…

For me, it’s about the memories that were created during all those times I had them. Mainly during the first few years of moving to Canada. That’s because I’d be missing home so much that I would want to make/have homemade falafel to take me back home. Besides that, almost every time I’d visit Jordan it would happen to be that I arrive past midnight. Heading to my favourite falafel shop that I’m sure is open at 3am so I can get my fix.

And that’s how falafel became the food I go to first to take me back home!

What are Falafel?

Originating in Egypt, and making their way around the Middle East, Falafel are a popular food that’s typically served for breakfast or lunch – sometimes even dinner. They’re deep-fried patties made of legumes – mostly chickpeas or fava beans – mixed with a ton of herbs, onion, garlic, and spices. Crunchy outside layer with soft and fluffy insides. It’s got a bit of a spicy quick to it, with a super herby and fun texture.


My favourite thing about falafel is that you can add it to so many things and make a meal out of them.

From pita wraps, falafel bowls, salads, a charcuterie board, or just to munch on as a mezze for a big Arabic breakfast. Check out how to serve your falafel in the sections to come.

They’re great to prep a big batch and freeze for later use.


Let’s talk cooking!

As long as this recipe may seem, it’s actually pretty easy to make falafel at home…

It only takes about 15 minutes to prep the dough and form the patties. But it takes almost a full day to soak the chickpeas before adding to the processor. With only a few simple ingredients!

The key to crunchy flavourful falafel, with the right fluffy inside texture is to use dry chickpeas. Not cooked. Not canned. Just good old soaked dry chickpeas, left at room temperature overnight to pop/rise. I learned this trick from the wonderful Suzy of The Mediterranean Dish. It’s a game changer!

Prepping the Chickpeas

In a large bowl, add the dry chickpeas with just enough water to cover each. Stir in the baking soda and cover with a kitchen towel. Let it soak for an entire day – minimum of 18 hours.

Next day, drain the chickpeas from the water and pat dry with the kitchen towel.


How-To

Food Processor

Drop in the drained chickpeas and add in the herbs, onion, garlic, and spices.

Pulse a few times to break everything down. Then process on high until everything is well combined, but leaving you with a nice texture. It may take anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes, depending on your food processor. Stop every few minutes and scrape down the sides to help with processing.

Turn it off, remove the blades, and empty out the falafel dough into a large bowl. Cover and let it chill in the fridge for an hour to two. The longer the better.


Forming the Patties

Fold in the baking powder and sesame seeds – mix to combine.

If you don’t have a falafel patty scoop – Slightly wet your hands and scoop out a bit of the dough (about 1 1/2 tbsp). Gently squeeze in your hands, rolling through the centre, in between the palm and fingers. Watch the video below to see how.


Frying the Falafel

In a deep fryer/large pot with hot oil (325 F / 165 C), carefully drop the falafel patties – in batches. Test a small batch first to make sure it’s hot enough to maintain temperature. Fry for 5 to 7 minutes – until they’re crispy and golden on the outside, with fluffy green insides.

Drain from the oil in a colander, and assemble your pita wrap/bowl. Or just munch on some as a mezze appetizer.


Ways to Eat Falafel

There are so many ways to enjoy falafel.

In a pita sandwich. Turned into a wholesome bowl. On salads. Or simply munch on some. And so much more!

But no matter how you end up eating them, a good tahini sauce is a must have alongside your falafel.

Falafel Pita – inside a halved pita, spread some hummus, then squish 2-3 falafel patties using a fork. Top it off with your favourite veggies. I like to keep it simple with tomatoes, pickled cucumber/carrots, and a drizzle of tahini sauce. Sprinkled with a garnish of parsley.

Falafel Bowl – on a bed of pearl couscous, with taboulehhummus, pickles, and tahini sauce. Sprinkled with sumac and parsley. Check out the couscous and tahini recipe at the bottom of this post.


Storing & Reheating Tips

This recipe makes about 40 small falafel patties. Feel free to reduce the ingredients for a smaller batch, if you’re serving a small-sized group. Or fry up the entire batch and freeze any leftovers for up to a month in ziploc bags, or freezer-friendly containers. You can reheat the falafel in one of these ways:

1. Air Fryer

Frozen: Pop the frozen falafel in an air-fryer at 325 F (or 165 C) for 5-7 minutes – longer if needed.

Refrigerated: If you’re only refrigerating for the following day or two, air-fry at 300 F (or 150 C) for 2-3 minutes.

2. Oven

Frozen: Line up a baking sheet with parchment paper/tin foil, spray with oil, and add the frozen falafel. Bake at 325 F (or 165 C) for 8-10 mins, until crispy and fluffy.

Refrigerated: When the falafel is only refrigerated, it would only take a couple of minutes to reheat them. Since it would take some time for the oven to pre-heat, I don’t end up reheating in the oven, as it would take longer to pre-heat than to reheat the falafel. I usually air-fry or microwave any leftover refrigerated falafel patties.

3. Microwave

Frozen: I don’t recommend microwaving frozen falafel. But if you must, defrost for 30 seconds at a time, flipping and repeating. Up to 3 1/2 minutes (depending on your microwave).

Refrigerated: Pop 2-3 falafel patties in the microwave for 15-20 seconds on high. Serve immediately. I use this method mostly for squishing leftover falafel into pita wraps. I prefer air-frying though, as it holds the texture and flavour better & longer.


Despite the long waiting time on soaking the chickpeas, it’s actually a pretty simple recipe, with minimum work. And it’s fun to make!

It’s also a great recipe to make a falafel prep to freeze for a later use. With many different ways to enjoy these delicious falafel. Like this Falafel Bowl. Served on a bed of pearl couscous, with tabouleh, hummus, pickles, and a drizzle of tahini sauce.

Recipes for the couscous and tahini can be found below as well.


Hope you give this recipe a try. I’m sure you will enjoy it! If you do, I would love to see your recreation and learn how it went. Leave me a comment here and tag me on Instagram/Facebook/Pinterest/TikTok @demeals.ca #demeals


Homemade Falafel

Recipe by Waseem HijaziCourse: Breakfast, Sides, AppetizersCuisine: Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Vegan, Plant-based, VegetarianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

40

falafel
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Soaking Time

1

minute


Ingredients

  • Preparing the Chickpeas
  • 2 1/4 cups dry chickpeas – See Notes (1)

  • Water, just enough to cover the chickpeas – room temperature.

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • Herbs & Veg
  • 1 1/2 cups curly parsley – See Notes (2)

  • 1 cup cilantro

  • 1/2 cup fresh dill

  • 1 large white onion, halved then quartered

  • 8-10 garlic cloves

  • Spices
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp coriander – See Notes (3)

  • 1 tbsp cumin

  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper – optional

  • Pinch of salt

  • The Rest
  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

  • Vegetable oil for frying, enough to cover half a medium pot

Directions

  • Prepping & Soaking
  • In a large bowl, add the dry chickpeas with just enough water to cover each.
  • Stir in the baking soda and cover with a kitchen towel. Let it soak for an entire day – See Notes (4).
  • Next day, drain the chickpeas from the water and pat dry with the kitchen towel.
  • Food Processor
  • Drop in the drained chickpeas and add in the herbs, onion, garlic, and spices.
  • Pulse a few times to break everything down. Then process on high until everything is well combined, but leaving you with a nice texture. It may take anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes, depending on your food processor. Stop every few minutes and scrape down the sides to help with processing.
  • Turn it off, remove the blades, and empty out the falafel dough into a large bowl. Cover and let it chill in the fridge for an hour to two. The longer the better.
  • Forming the Falafel Patties
  • Fold in the baking powder and sesame seeds – mix to combine.
  • If you don’t have a falafel patty scoop – Slightly wet your hands and scoop out a bit of the dough (about 1 1/2 tbsp). Gently squeeze in your hands, rolling through the centre, in between the palm and fingers. Watch the video below to see how.
  • Frying
  • In a deep fryer/large pot with hot oil (325 F / 165 C), carefully drop the falafel patties – in batches. Test a small batch first to make sure it’s hot enough to maintain temperature.
  • Fry for 5 to 7 minutes – until they’re crispy and golden on the outside, with fluffy green insides. Strain them from the oil in a colander, and assemble your pita/bowl. Or just munch on some as a mezze appetizer.
  • Assembling
  • Falafel Pita – in a halved pita, spread some hummus, then squish 2-3 falafel patties using a fork. Top it off with your favourite veggies. I like to keep it simple with tomatoes, pickled cucumber/carrots, and a drizzle of tahini sauce. Sprinkled with a garnish of parsley.
    OR
  • Falafel Bowl – on a bed of pearl couscous, with tabouleh, hummus, pickles, and tahini sauce. Sprinkled with sumac and parsley.
  • Pearl Couscous – for the bowl. Bring 3 cups water (or vegetable broth) to a boil in a medium pot, with a generous pinch of salt. Add 1 cup of pearl couscous and 1 tbsp olive oil. Stir and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes, until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes before removing the lid.
  • Tahini Sauce – regardless of how you decide to eat your falafel, a good tahini is essential. Mix together: 2 tbsp tahini paste, 1/8 cup water, 2 lemons (squeezed), 2 minced garlic cloves (or garlic paste/sauce), pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of ground black pepper.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • (1) For best results, only use dry chickpeas. Not canned, or cooked. Soaked overnight to soften. Room temperature.
  • (2) Curly parsley has a rougher texture than flat parsley. It helps to use curly parsley in this recipe for best falafel texture.
  • (3) Take it up a notch and use fresh toasted coriander seeds, grounded into a seasoning. It adds fresh flavours to every falafel bite.
  • (4) Soaking the chickpeas for at least 18 hours. Up to 24. Just until each bean is soften to be processed.

Leave a comment: