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Homemade Falafel

With the holidays upon us, Chris and I have been trying our best to eat healthy while we can, before the whirlwind of holiday dinners starts.  One of the things we’ve been trying to do is to have at least one dinner a week that is meat-free.  I also try to do at least one meal a week that is seafood or fish, something a little lighter.  Falafel is perfect for a vegetarian meal because it is filling, savory, and just plain delicious!  SOOOO so yummy.  I’d always been a bit intimidated by falafel, I don’t know why, but I’m glad to announce that it is SUPER easy to make!  All you need is a food processor and a few easy to find ingredients and you’ll have yourself an incredible vegetarian meal as well.

According to the folks at Chowhound, you should never use canned chickpeas in your falafel, because the canned kind are too wet and will make your falafel soggy.  Well, I’m not the type to plan ahead, and there’s no way I’m planning so far in advance that I remember to put dried chickpeas to soak in water the night before, so canned chickpeas it was!  And it turned out fine!  Just a tad creamier than the falafel you get at your local pita joint, but still flavorful and delicious.  I’m really glad that you can use canned chickpeas, as it makes this recipe incredibly fast and easy to make.

I also whipped together a quick tzaziki sauce out of a few things in my fridge.  I didn’t get a picture of it, but it brought everything together and gave the falafel a nice tanginess.  I also made this really easy couscous salad which is one of my go-to salads when I want something fast and fresh (Who doesn’t love couscous?  Just add hot water and it’s ready in five!).

Homemade Falafel
Serves 2-3, but can be easily doubled.

1 can chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste

vegetable oil for deep-frying

Rinse and drain chickpeas thoroughly in a colander. Then pat dry with paper towels. You can also stick them in the toaster oven for a few minutes to dry them out further, if you want.

In a food processor equipped with a metal blade, put all the ingredients (except oil). Whiz a few times until blended, BUT NOT PUREED. You want it to be grainy and chopped rather than creamy.

Heat 3 inches of oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat, until temperature registers 375 degrees on a deep-frying thermometer. Or, if you’re like me and you like to fly by the seat of your pants, just wait until the oil is hot and shimmering, and drop in a tiny piece of the batter. When the little piece sizzles enthusiastically, the oil should be hot enough.

Drop balls of batter by tablespoonfuls into the hot oil (carefully!), and deep fry until browned on all sides, about 3-4 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

Serve with salad, pita and tzaziki sauce.

Quick Tzaziki
Double recipe if increasing amount of falafel (see above).

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp chopped mint or parsley
2 tbsp minced or grated cucumber
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together.

4 comments to Homemade Falafel

  • I’ve been trying to get on the healthy train before holiday indulgences hit. It just seems like the smart thing to do. This falafel looks excellent! Falafel in general is something that I crave constantly. Can’t wait to try this!

  • Camilla

    I hear ya on the craving falafel part. I love me some falafel!

  • Karina

    Dear Camilla,

    since I’ve been craving for a falafel for some time, I was delighted to stumble on your recipe – so easy and fast. However it did not turn our according to my expectations. My falafel disappeared in front of my eyes… the only thing that remained was a small heap of raw chickpea ‘dough’, that I rushed to take out from the frying pan to save something at least.
    First I was thinking that my falafel disappeared because I had added a bit of oil into the mixture – yes, I thought it would be healthier if I roasted the falafel in the oven than on a pan full of oil. However, the oven didn’t work out so well, so at the end i was forced to embrace the frying option. Trying to outsmart the master didn’t work out very well. Nevertheless after I was almost fully reconciled with the idea that it was the oil that destroyed my dinner, I re-checked your recipe. To my astonishment I realized that I had forgotten to use flour! Next time, hopefully, it’ll be better :D

  • Camilla

    Hee hee! I’ve done similar things more than once. I hope they turn out better next time!