A quick and easy falafel recipe from scratch that is perfect for beginners. Made from dried chickpeas, not canned, these falafel have great flavor and texture. They are baked in the oven, to make them a bit healthier too. Add a few falafel patties to this Mediterranean chicken meal prep bowl for an extra boost of protein.
Making falafel from scratch isn’t difficult. A little planning ahead and you’ll have your favorite Middle Eastern street food snack in no time.
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Easy Falafel Recipe
This recipe was born out a terrible dining experience that I had a few years ago. I dubbed them falawful, because they were the worst looking falafel I’d ever seen – completely burnt to a crisp.
I immediately went home and made a big batch of falafel to erase that disappointing meal.
Let’s clear up the most common question when it comes to falafel: Can falafel be made with canned chickpeas? The short answer is yes. However, in my experience, I end up having to add more flour than I’d like to hold them together. The canned chickpeas are too wet and they tend to fall apart. I speak from experience on this.
While I have successfully made them with canned, the texture ended up being more like a hushpuppy than a falafel because of the extra flour.
Making falafel with dried chickpeas results in a better end product, so that’s how I make them and it’s what I recommend.
How to make this easy falafel recipe
You’ll need to plan ahead to make falafel. The dried chickpeas have to soak overnight and then get a quick cook.
I’ve made falafel without cooking the chickpeas and more often than not, the texture has been unpleasant. Soaking alone doesn’t always soften the chickpeas enough to make falafel (in my humble opinion).
I can say this because I’ve done it and found hard bits of chickpea in the falafel.
After you soak and cook the chickpeas, they go into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. You’ll run the food processor to make a uniform mixture and then form this into small patties. The chickpea patties get baked on an oiled baking sheet until crispy.
Here’s a question I see fairly often: why are falafel green? The falafel mixture turns green because of the herbs. Parsley and cilantro turn the chickpea mixture a lovely green color.
Baking falafel is easier than frying because you don’t have to worry about the oil temperature or the possibility of your falafel disintegrating in the oil. Using less oil also makes them a bit healthier and if you’re trying to reduce your oil even further, I use this avocado oil spray. A light coating on the pan and the falafel helps them crisp up in the oven.
This easy falafel recipe is great for meal prep. I tuck a couple into a salad or pair with a Mediterranean quinoa salad for lunch. Because this recipe makes a little more than 2 dozen, you can freeze some for later, and take several for lunch during the week.
What can I eat with falafel?
• Mediterranean couscous salad – would be delicious on the side
• Curried cauliflower – one of my favorite ways to eat this cruciferous vegetable
• Grilled Lamb Loin Chops – for a tasty meat option to go with falafel, this would be perfect
• Superfood salad with pomegranate – super delicious and so good for you!
How to fry falafel
I usually bake falafel, but once in awhile I do fry them. If you want to fry the falafel, follow the directions below. If the falafel fall apart in the oil, you may need to add more flour to bind it together. The other trouble area could be the temperature of your oil.
Make sure your oil is around 350° – 360° before lowering falafel into the hot oil and do not fry more than a few at a time. Overcrowding the pot will lower the temperature of the oil, the falafel will be soggy and may fall apart.
- Using a small scoop, portion falafel into balls and roll with your hands to form them, place them on a sheet pan and let them rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Heat a few inches of oil in a pot over medium high heat and carefully lower falafel into the oil, using a spider.
- If it sinks to the bottom and doesn’t “bubble”, oil is not hot enough… remove them and wait a few minutes until oil is hotter.
- Fry a few at a time (do not overcrowd the pot) for 4 – 5 minutes until golden brown.
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- 1 lb. dried chickpeas
- 1 cup Italian parsley, rough chop, stems discarded
- 1/2 cup cilantro, rough chop, stems discarded
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tbsp. flour (or chickpea flour to keep them GF)
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- zest of half a lemon + 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, optional
- pinch of cayenne, optional
- Cover chickpeas in cold water, with at least 3 inches of water above them. Soak overnight.
- Drain chickpeas, fill a pot with fresh water, add soaked chickpeas and bring it to a boil.
- As soon as it comes to a boil, turn down the heat to medium low and let the chickpeas simmer for 30 - 45 minutes. (Fresher chickpeas will not take as long as older chickpeas, check the date on your beans).
- Turn off the heat and let the chickpeas (and water) cool for 30 minutes. Drain chickpeas well and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a baking sheet using 2 tbsp olive oil, set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt, pepper, baking soda, flour and lemon zest, juice and cayenne, if using.
- Pulse until incorporated but not fully pureed.
- Pinch off a little bit of the dough to make a small patty and fry it in a pan to taste for seasoning. If it needs more salt, pepper, cumin, etc... now is the time to add it.
- Portion approximately 2 ounces of falafel mix and using your hands, form into small patties.
- Place the patties on the baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until crispy and golden brown.
For a tasty (and authentic!) variation: try substituting half of the dried chickpeas with dried fava beans.
*I prefer roasted garlic over raw in this recipe, but that is personal preference. If you have roasted garlic in the fridge, try it and see what you think.
Recipe for Tahini Dressing <---
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 82Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 383mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
Thanks for stopping by! Have a delicious day 🙂
post originally published 6/10/14