Hello, welcome! I am happy you’re here today. Today’s recipe is a special request from Alex, who has been sorely missing his favorite falafel sandwich. Falafel is a chickpea fritter, with herbs and spices, fried to a golden brown. It’s often served in a pita with cucumbers, tomatoes, and tahini sauce or hummus. My favorite place to get falafel was near my old office in Cupertino, California and you could get your falafel sandwich with herby french fries tucked inside. So good! Today, we can do it however we like because this easy and delicious falafel homemade falafel I have ever tasted! Let’s do it, Falafel with Tahini Yogurt Sauce.
Start by soaking the 8 ounces (about 1 and 1/4 cups) dried chickpeas overnight. It’s not recommended to use canned chickpeas because they will make the falafel stodgy, and I reckon it’s because the canned chickpeas are already cooked, so instead of going into the mixture firm and uncooked, they will just get overcooked and mushy in the hot oil.
Let’s make the sauce first, so the flavors can mingle while we make the falafel. This is a really simple sauce; equal parts tahini and full fat, plain Greek yogurt; mixed with a little lemon juice, salt to taste, and water to thin it out. Mix the tahini, yogurt, and 1/4 cup lemon juice to a smooth consistency. Add a tablespoon of water at a time to thin it out to your desired consistency and then add a pinch of Kosher salt at time, and taste to add more salt as necessary. By the time we add the sauce to our falafel, you may want to add a little more water to thin it out a little more.
In a food processor, process the chopped parsley, cilantro leaves and stems, chopped onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt, and cayenne to a pesto-like consistency.
Then add the soaked and drained chickpeas to the processor and pulse several times, until the chickpeas are chopped into sesame seed-sized pieces.
Transfer the falafel mixture to a large bowl and set aside. Now for the unexpected part. A cooked flour mixture will bind the falafel so we can form it into balls. The cooked flour (rather than dry, uncooked flour) will help keep the falafel moist and tender. In a small bowl whisk 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water to a smooth, lump-free consistency.
Now, microwave this mixture 5 seconds at a time, stirring at the intervals, until the mixture cooks into a thick pudding-like paste. Depending on the power of your microwave, this can take 10-50 seconds. My mixture took about 18 seconds. I overcooked it 2 times; it’s overdone when the mixture becomes a hard lump. The original recipe suggests checking it every 10 seconds, but for me, even 20 seconds was overcooking it. So I played it safe and checked and stirred it every 5 seconds.
Then we add two teaspoons baking powder to the cooked flour mixture. While the cooked flour mixture will keep the falafel moist, the baking powder will keep the falafel light. Stir in the baking powder and you will see the flour mixture immediately lighten up and get fluffy.
Now, add this flour/baking powder mix to the falafel mixture and stir until the flour mix is completely incorporated.
Line a sheet tray with a sheet of parchment and set it next to the bowl of falafel mix. I have a two-tablespoon cookie scoop that I am using to shape the balls.
I scooped the balls to get them all measured out, and then went back and formed the scoops into balls, like a meatball. This mixture yielded 18, 2.5 tablespoon falafel balls. Place the sheet tray in the fridge while we set up the fry station. Add 2 quarts of vegetable oil to a dutch oven fitted with a thermometer; place a wire rack inside a sheet tray (to catch the fried falafel); set a spider or slotted spoon nearby.
The key to successful frying at home is organization. Setting up your fry station thoughtfully will make the frying go smoother, minimizing the likelihood of burnt food and hot oil accidents. It will also help keep things clean. Set up your pot of oil on a corner front burner. Then place one sheet pan on either side of the pot. One for the food to be fried, and one for the food that is already fried. Have your spider skimmer close. Use a candy thermometer that clips to the pot securely. Have your kosher salt near the fried food tray so you can season the food as soon as it comes out of the oil.
Over medium-high heat, get the oil up to 325 degrees. While we wait for that, slice some cucumber, grape tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, and rough chop some cilantro and parsley. Set those toppings aside. When the oil is at temp, drop in about 5-6 falafel. Wait about 30 seconds, then use the spider or a long-handled spoon to gently stir the falafel balls in the oil to keep them from sticking. Gently dislodge any falafel if they stick to the bottom of the pot.
When they are deep golden brown (about 4-5 minutes), scoop them out and set them on the wire rack, and season with Kosher salt. Repeat with remaining falafel. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the 320-325 degree temp of the oil.
When the falafel is all fried to golden perfection, warm some pita or flatbread (I have lavash) and place the warmed bread on a plate.
Add a small handful of shredded lettuce, then drizzle on some of the tahini yogurt sauce. Place a few falafel and drizzle on some more tahini sauce. Top with cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, and hot sauce, if you like.
So gorgeous, colorful, fresh, and flavorful! The falafel is crunchy and light, and the interiors are perfectly cooked, not at all stodgy. Restaurant-worthy falafel right in your own kitchen!
To serve on a flatbread like lavash, just assemble the ingredients lengthwise down the center and roll up the long sides like a burrito or fold like a taco and enjoy!
I hope you make this Falafel with Tahini Yogurt Sauce! It’s so good; a wonderful light, vegetarian meal. And while I am not a huge fan of deep-frying, the little falafel balls are not messy to fry and the whole thing goes really quickly. You can find a similar sandwich, but with Chicken Kofta, on the blog, and I definitely recommend trying this wonderful falafel recipe! Let me know if you make this dish, reach out to me on Instagram or Facebook, or leave a comment below – I love to hear from you! Take care and be well, xo Kelly
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is our 40s+ fashion & food contributor. She posts a Daily Look on Tuesdays, writes about Fashion on Thursdays, and shares a recipe on Saturdays.
She’s 45, 5’0, and a petite 0/XS.
She also runs her own food blog, Djalali Cooks, which you can find by clicking the world icon below.