Get Your Fill of Falafel! – International Falafel Day, June 12th


Falafel, a deep-fried ball of mashed chickpeas or fava beans mixed with spices; is deemed the national dish of Israel. However, the dish has been influential to other countries and their cuisines as well. Most often served in a pita with lettuce, tomato, and tahini sauce or on top of a salad, falafel is a versatile food whose flavors can be manipulated by the spices used. So here are some recipes of the fulfilling vegetarian dish adapted by other cultures. Hope you find the perfect one that appeals to your tastes!


Falafel from Scratch


falafel 5

Arlington Housewife

1 cup dried chickpeas or 16 oz. can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans.
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons flour
Oil for frying

Place dried chickpeas in a bowl with cold water and soak overnight. Drain chickpeas and place in a pan with fresh water. Bring to a boil, and allow it to for about 5 minutes. Let them simmer on low for about an hour. Then, drain and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste) in medium bowl. Add flour to mixture to thicken. Add more if the mix is watery, but do so gradually. Mash chickpeas by hand or in a food processor, and make sure the consistency is pasty. Form the mixture into about the size of a ping pong ball and slightly flatten. Fry in 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees until golden brown (5-7 minutes). Serve hot.

Tahini Sauce


  • 1 ½ cups tahini
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, pushed through garlic press
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
If tahini paste has separated, stir. Put tahini in large bowl. Add one cup water in slow stream, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Add lemon juice and garlic and stir until sauce is smooth. Add salt, paprika and pepper. Stir. Before serving, sprinkle with parsley.
Turkish Falafel

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As opposed to the Israeli version, this falafel is served in toasted bread or salad with a spicy sauce instead of tahini.

INGREDIENTS: (25 falafel balls)

2 cups of dries chickpeas, soaked in water for 12 hours
Crumbs from 2 slices of white bread
5 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/2 small onion
1 spoon of sesame seeds
1 teaspoon cumin spice
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt, pepper
Oil for deep frying

Wash the soaked chickpeas and put them in a food processor with the garlic, onion and spices. Grind until you get a rough moist texture. Add a little water if needed. Then, move the mixture into a large bowl, adding the rest of the ingredients and putting it aside, covered, for 30-60 minutes. Warm the oil – it should be hot, not boiling. Add the baking soda to the mixture and knead a little. Wet your hands and shape little balls. Fry until you get a deep brown shade. Serve hot!


Ginger Falafel with Wasabi Cream


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The Washington Post


  • 8 ounces dried chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger root
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 4 to 6 pieces whole-wheat naan, warmed (may substitute pita or another flatbread of your choice)
  • 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 cups mixed salad greens, for garnish (optional)

Place the dried chickpeas in a bowl; cover with cool water by at least 2 inches. Soak overnight at room temperature. Drain and rinse the chickpeas in a colander set in the sink. Pour the chickpeas into the bowl of a food processor and add cilantro, scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and baking powder. Process to form a thick, grainy, coarse batter, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Make sure to process the mixture so that it is moist enough to hold together, yet not a smooth puree. Pour about 3 inches of oil into a large, deep saucepan. Heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 350 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (or a deep-frying thermometer clipped to the inside of the pan). Set a wire rack over paper towels. Form the chickpea batter into about eighteen 1 1/2-inch balls. Fry, turning them occasionally, for about 5 minutes to create crisp and browned falafel. To serve, place a warm naan on each plate. Divide the falafel, cucumber and bell pepper among the portions. Garnish with salad greens, if using, and spoon some wasabi cream over the top. Pass extra cream at the table.

Wasabi Cream


  • 1 cup vegan sour cream (may substitute regular or low-fat sour cream)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar, preferably unseasoned
  • 2 teaspoons wasabi paste (may substitute 2 teaspoons wasabi powder mixed with 2 teaspoons water)

Whisk the sour cream, vinegar and wasabi paste in a medium bowl until creamy. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to blend the flavors.


Farm-To-Table Version: Baked Falafel with Quick Pickled Turnips


falafel 3

The Chalkboard

Look at what U.S. culture has done!

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 30)

4 Tbsp flax meal/ground flax seeds, divided
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 cup pecans
1 1/4 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained well and dried with paper towels
3 Tbsp sesame tahini
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp sea salt, or more to taste
1/2 Tbsp cumin seeds
2 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
1 small or 1/2 medium sweet potato, peeled and finely shredded
1 small or 1/2 medium beet, peeled and finely shredded
large handful each parsley and mint leaves (optional)
2 cardamom pods, crushed, green shells discarded (optional)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine 3 Tbps of flax meal with the sesame seeds and set aside for coating the falafel. In a food processor, grind the pecans into a coarse meal. Add in the reserved 1 Tbsp of flax meal, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, coconut sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and herbs (if using). Grind the cumin, cardamom and mustard seeds in a mortar and pestle or a designated coffee grinder, then add to the food processor. Process everything until well combined, scraping the walls of the food processor if needed. Take care not to puree, the mixture should remain somewhat chunky.

Divide the mixture into three even portions, leaving one in the food processor. Add the spinach to the food processor and combine well. Remove from the processor into a designated bowl and wipe the machine clean. Put the second portion of the chickpea mixture into the food processor, along with the shredded sweet potato, and process to combine. Remove the sweet potato/chickpea mixture into a designated bowl, no need clean the food processor this time. Repeat the same with the shredded beet and the last portion of the chickpea mixture.

Form falafel balls of three different colors, rolling each ball in the flax and sesame coating as you go. Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. If the spinach and/or beet mixture is too moist for handling, simply add about 1/4 cup of ground rolled oats to absorb the extra moisture.

Bake for 15 minutes, turning the falafel every 5 minutes to achieve even color. Let cool. Wrap falafel in any type of green leaves (lettuce, collard greens or cabbage) or pita bread pockets. Garnish with pink pickled turnips, fresh radish and cucumber slices, Greek-style yogurt with lime juice, herbs and/or hummus.

Pink Pickled Turnips


1 1/2 cup water
2 1/2 Tbsp sea salt
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 lb turnips, spiralized or peeled and sliced into sticks or any other way you prefer
1/2 small beet, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
a few sprigs of fresh dill or dill flower (optional)
dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of water with the salt to dissolve. Let cool. Place the turnips, beet, bay leaf, garlic, dill and pepper flakes into a clean glass jar. Add the vinegar and the remaining 1 cup of water to the salty water, and pour the brine over the vegetables. Cover and let sit at room temperature to pickle for one week. Refrigerate until ready to serve and use within one month.




The Washington Post

The Chalkboard

New York Times

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