There is something so intoxicating about falafel, and I still can’t put a finger on it. I remember the first time I realized I was in love with Falafel: I was in Tzfat, Israel, and a local vendor on the street approached me and asked if I wanted to try a falafel. I agreed, and put his freshly deep-fried, warm, crispy, moist, chickpea-filled ball of pure pleasure in my mouth and immediately my eyes rolled in the back of my head. Is this what love is? Yes, yes it is. It was love at first sight/touch. From that moment on, I became a self-proclaimed falafel-enthusiast, set on a mission to find the best falafel in the world.
And just that I did. Circa 2016, Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany, I ventured into a local shawarma joint called Maroush with my friend, who lived in Berlin at the time, to grab a quick lunch. We just got off the metro at Kottbusser Tor, and walked into the tiny storefront. For a whopping €4, I got a grilled falafel pita sandwich the size of a small-baby filled with the most heavenly falafel balls, french fries, salad, hummus, pickled veggies, and, by choice, the most ungoldly-spicy hot sauce known to mankind. Now I was hooked. Upon returning to the United States, I knew I had to make falafel at home, and as a result came my recipe.
This falafel recipe is easy, healthy, and great to make in bulk. One recipe will make 54 balls, which can last you a while. If you have the capacity, feel free to double the recipe and freeze a bunch! I chose to bake them, but you can easily fry these falafels as well. The biggest mistake people make when making falafel is that they used canned chickpeas. This is a BIG no-no as the canned chickpeas are too wet and most recipes will need to compensate for the moisture by adding a ton of flour. This creates a doughy falafel, which I despise. You need to soak dry chickpeas, and use them uncooked in this recipe to get a good, moist consistency in your falafels. I used a food processor for this recipe, and I recommend using one for best results, however a Vitamix can work. I’ve used a Vitamix in the past, but getting everything to incorporate evenly is difficult and messy in a blender. You will be scraping the sides very frequently and tampering a lot.
You can freeze these falafels, fry them, add them to salads, wraps, or just serve for dinner with hummus, salad, rice, etc. Get creative, have fun and enjoy!
Authentic Baked (or Fried) Vegan Falafel
1lb (~450g) Dry Chickpeas, soaked for at least 6 hours or overnight
1 1/2 tbsp chickpea flour or regular flour
1 tbsp oil (I used grapeseed)
1/2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, quartered
1 cup fresh parsley, packed
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
- If you are baking your falafels, preheat your oven to 375°F and grease a baking sheet or use a silicon non-stick mat.
- In a food processor, add all of your ingredients. Process for 2 minutes, scrape down the sides, repeat until you have a fine-meal consistency and the batter is slightly sticky, but not too sticky. See image below:
- Form your mixture into 2 tbsp balls and slightly press down to form them into a small patties, or keep them in a more ball shape if frying. Repeat until the mixture is gone. If you a frying, transfer the falafel to a skillet with ~1/2 inch of hot oil and cook until crispy on each side, about 2 min.
- If baking, bake for 35 minutes, or until the falafel balls have started to brown on the outside.