Falafels are a popular Middle-Eastern food made of chickpeas or fava beans, that is recognized and enjoyed worldwide. These ball-shaped and deep-fried fritters are full of flavour and protein, making them a great alternative to meat. Whether eaten in a pita pocket with fresh tomatoes and cucumber, or topped with salads, pickled vegetables, and tahini sauce, falafels make for one delicious meal. The great thing about making falafels at home is that it is fairly easy and you can make large batches, perfect for freezing and using as needed.
- 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight (DO NOT use canned chickpeas)
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 4 cloves of garlic, grated
- half cup parsley, minced
- 3 Tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
- sesame seeds (optional)
- Completely drain the water from the chickpeas and pour them into your food processor. Grind the chickpeas into a smooth paste. The final mixture should resemble wet flour.
- Transfer the ground chickpea into a large bowl and then add all the other ingredients. Mix well until thoroughly combined.
- Cover and refrigerate for one hour. This allows time for the flavours to blend.
- If frying, heat your preferred choice of oil, on medium heat. Make sure there is enough oil to fully submerge the falafel. If baking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Roll into balls. Cover in sesame seeds if desired by gently rolling the ball through a plate of sesame seeds.
- Once the hot is hot, carefully drop one falafel in the centre of your pan. If bubbles immediately form around the falafel and you notice that the falafel puffs up slightly, the oil is hot enough. If no bubbles form, the oil is not hot enough. Let the oil heat for another five minutes before frying again.
- Fry in batches of 5 or 6, depending on the size of your pan. The falafels should be fried for about two-three minutes on each side, until brown.
- Once fried, remove with a slotted spoon and let the falafels rest on a plate covered in kitchen paper towels. The paper towels will soak up the excess oils.
- If baking, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and bake for twenty minutes, remembering to flip at the halfway mark.
- Serve warm.
- Never use canned chickpeas or cooked chickpeas to make falafels. The balls will fall apart during the frying process.
- I have used ground flax seeds as a binding agent in my recipe but an equal amount of whole-wheat flour can be substituted if you don’t have flax seeds on hand. However, I highly recommend adding the flax seeds for a nutrition boost.
- Wash and dry your herbs before mincing. Squeeze out any water that may result due to chopping the herbs. Also squeeze out the water from the onions. If there is excess water, the mixture will not hold when forming balls or frying.
- To freeze, place cooled falafels on a baking sheet and place in freezer. This method eliminates freezer burn as well as the falafels from sticking together. Once frozen transfer into a freezer-safe container.
- Falafels also make a great school lunch for kids, especially the little ones. If baked, they are a healthy option for lunch.