I love falafel.
My first experience with falafel was when I was 15 and taking an inadvertent college tour at Northwestern University with my mom, sister, and aunt (basically, we tagged onto the back of an ongoing college tour…). We stopped for lunch at a cafe on the campus, where my sister and I ordered burgers and my mom and aunt rejoiced at finding a long-time favorite – falafel sandwiches. My mom told me to try it and I wasn’t super into it. I’ll just eat my hamburger, thankyouverymuch.
Fast-forward four years later to when I was a sophomore in college (not at Northwestern). My best friend headed up the Jewish Society on campus and she brought me along to all their events (because free food). Her welcome back dinner was a big spread catered by a local deli – sandwiches, salads, bowls of every kind of dip imaginable, and big platters of hot falafel patties. While I helped myself to salad and dip, my friend made me retry falafel… and I was hooked. Ever since then, I have been making falafel for myself and my crew.
BUT…. I have been using falafel mix. It is super convenient, easy to make, and perfect for weeknight dinners. Yet, I knew that there was a way to do it from scratch.
So I found it.
And it was the best ever.
Falafel starts with chickpeas!
This recipe cuts down on a lot of the prep because I use canned chickpeas that I drained and rinsed. No soaking beans overnight and then boiling them!
I tossed the chickpeas into the bowl of a food processor.
And added some onion, parsley, and lemon zest.
And I seasoned the whole thing with cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
For moisture, I added in lemon juice and olive oil.
I pulsed the mixture in the food processor until the mixture was smooth.
Then I sprinkled over some flour and some baking powder. This helps give the falafel structure and some lift.
I portioned out heaping tablespoons of dough into my hands, rolled them into balls, and then squished the balls slightly to make patties. I popped the falafel patties onto greased baking trays and then baked them at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, flipping them over halfway.
To serve, I popped the patties onto a bed of mixed greens and cherry tomatoes with a dollop of tzatziki sauce and warm pita bread.
Definitely a delicious weeknight meal.
(sorry, Mom I doubted the awesomeness of falafel so many years ago!)
- 2 15oz cans low sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 shallots, minced finely
- ¾ cup chopped parsely
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Cooking Spray
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine all ingredients except the flour and baking powder. Pulse until the mixture is smooth and the ingredients are combined.
- Transfer the chickpea mixture to a large bowl. Add the flour and baking powder and stir to combine. Place the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
- To bake the falafels, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
- Portion out heaping teaspoons of falafel dough into the palms of your hands, roll into a ball, and then slightly flatten into a patty. Place the patties onto the baking sheet.
- Bake the falafel for 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway. Serve with pita bread and your favorite dip!