Let’s talk falafel! If you’re a plant based enthusiast, I guarantee that you’ve had falafel at one time or another. While living in NYC, I’d have to say that I probably ate nearly 100 falafels at this one shop near the NYU campus. It was quick, easy, affordable, and so good!
If you’ve ever had a really good falafel, you know that they are not all created equal. A really good falafel isn’t dried out and packs tons of flavor. You’ll find various recipes online with each having various amounts of spices and herbs, but I promise you..
You have to go big with flavor and pack on the herbs and spices, and using dried chickpeas makes a world of a difference.
What’s great about this recipe? Everything! It can be quickly thrown together in a food processor (after you soak the chickpeas), if you don’t get to the recipe right away the soaked chickpeas or batter will be fine (mine were), it packs tons of herbs, doesn’t skimp on the spices, can easily be made in bulk, are packed with protein and fiber, have a fluffy texture, taste like authentic falafel, the sauce is seamless, you can throw on pita or a salad, you can pan fry if desired, and they are perfect for any season!
If you’re looking to explore a staple falafel recipe, you have to try my staple Authentic Vegan Falafel!!
Vegetable oil for frying – grapeseed, sunflower, avocado, canola, and peanut oils all work well
1/2 cup vegan yogurt or sour cream
3 tbsp tahini
1/2 lemon, juice
Prep the chickpeas:Place dry chickpeas in a large bowl with cold water. Add 1/2 tsp of baking soda to the water, stir, cover the bowl and let them soak overnight in the fridge.
The chickpeas should soak at least 8-24 hours or until tender (change soaking water for fresh water after 12 hours). They will double in size after soaking. If you leave them in the fridge for a few days, it’s still fine, just change the water periodically.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas well removing excess moisture with a paper towel. If you forget this step simply try and squeeze moisture out while making the balls.
Place the onion, garlic, fresh herbs, spices into the bowl of a food process and blend until smooth and finely chopped. Now add in the soaked chickpeas and continue to process, pushing down the sides every so often, until fairly smooth. Lastly, add the chickpea flour and baking soda, blend to incorproate.
You should have small bits of texture, but close to a paste, but not a hummus.You’ll achieve a better texture on the inside of the falafel with it being less coarse. For best results let the mixture sit in the fridge for 1-2hrs to firm up.
Fill a skillet or pot with vegetable oil to a depth of 1 ½ inches. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat. The ideal temperature to fry falafel is between 360 and 375 degrees F.
Prep the falafels:
With your hands take about 2 tbsp worth of the mixture and form a round ball. If you find that the mixture feels “wet”, simply dust the falafels with 1/2 tsp chickpea flour while shaping. The Balls should adhere together once fried so don’t worry if they don’t seem firm enough.
Test 1 falafel first. If it comes out good, cook 4-5 at a time.
If you do run into issues with the balls holding together once frying, simply process the mixture more. I found the more coarse it was, the more it came apart. So make it a lil bit smoother. If you find they are still comping apart while frying, add a lil more chickpea flour before frying.
Fry the balls on each side for 2-3 minutes. If you don’t fry long enough the middles will be wet and not fluffy. If you’r falafels brown too fast to allow them to cook long enough, turn down the heat.
Tahini Sauce: In a shallow dish combine all the ingredients. Serve with the falafels, in pita bread with cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, and greens.