really good falafel

really good falafel

I really miss my falafel bar in Charleston. Can’t believe it’s been a year since my college graduation and FIVE years since I was a freshman, exploring and orienting myself around that amazing little city. A city with a wonderful, wonderful food scene. New restaurants were popping up on the narrow historic downtown streets every other day it seemed, having to compete in a food culture that demanded unqiue, eclectic, quality eats. And the day I saw the new Patat Spot Friet & Falafel pop up on one of the streets that ran right through campus, I was psyched. This girl is a falafel lover.

Plus this wasn’t just any order of falafel – you could get it grilled or fried, in a pita or on a bed of greens, and then head over to the ‘Garden Spot’ and fill your plate with over 20 toppings ranging from pickled beets to baba ganoush to tabouli. I surely did my best to keep them in business.


Anyway, just reminiscing about how great I had it back in the day. Now I have to make it all myself and provide all the toppings?! Ugh. Fortunately, making falafel is pretty simple and the finished product is so worth it. I’ve probably used a different falafel recipe every time and this combination of ingredients definitely makes for the best, as does soaking and cooking my own garbanzo beans. Much better texture and easier on the digestion. I also wanted to experiment with baking vs. pan frying — both turned out equally delicious. When the time came to serve, the only form of bread in my house was corn tortillas so… I made do with a falafel taco. Not bad! If you’ve got pita, by all means use it or serve over a bed of spinach or romaine with a 20+ topping salad bar, ideally ;)

Really good falafel, adapted from flourishing foodie

  • 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas *I soaked mine overnight and then cooked until tender – much easier on the digestion this way!
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 green onion, whites + greens sliced
  • 1 large handful cilantro, large stems removed
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t coriander
  • ¼ t cayenne pepper
  • ½ t dried parsley
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 T lemon juice, or juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1 – 2 T whole wheat flour or gluten free flour (enough to slightly hold the mixture together)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 T sesame seeds
  • olive oil for the pan

To serve (all optional):

  • lemon-tahini yogurt sauce *used my leftovers of this sauce and added a few spoonfuls of yogurt.
  • spinach or romaine lettuce
  • chopped tomatoes
  • diced red onion
  • sprouts
  • cucumber
  • pita bread or tortilla

In the food processor, pulse ¾ cup chickpeas until they are broken into smaller pieces. Remove them from the food processor and place into a medium size bowl.

Place the rest of the chickpeas into the food processor with the garlic, onion, white part of the green onion, cilantro, parsley, cumin, coriander, cayenne, baking soda, salt and lemon juice. Whiz until all of the ingredients start to turn into paste. Add to the bowl with the smaller bits of chickpeas and combine. Stir in the flour, egg, and sesame seeds.

Place a piece of parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Grab a small handful of the chickpea mixture and roll into a ball. Place it onto the parchment paper. Continue with the rest. Place the baking sheet into the fridge and let sit for 15 minutes. *If baking, preheat oven to 400F.

Now, to lightly pan fry: Coat bottom on nonstick pan with olive oil and heat over medium-high. Slightly press down on falafel balls to form patties. When oil is hot, slide a couple falafels into pan and fry 1-2 minutes on each side or until turning brown. Remove to paper towel and continue with the rest.

Or, to bake: Oven should be at 400F. Slightly flatten falafel balls into patties and bake for 20 minutes or until turning brown around edges.


baked falafel
baked falafel
pan-fried falafel
pan-fried falafel

falafel with lemon-tahini yogurt sauce

Enjoy a healthy Mediterranean feast!
Enjoy a healthy Mediterranean feast!

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