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Crunchy Homemade Falafel with Hummus, Tahini and Israeli Salad

Crunchy Homemade Falafel with Hummus, Tahini and Israeli Salad


Until recently I had never made falafel from scratch. For some reason I thought it was extremely complicated, fiddly and time-consuming, with only mediocre results, but I’m happy to report that I was entirely incorrect. Once I started experimenting, I discovered that it’s really quite easy, and the taste is infinitely better than the packet-mix ones.

The main thing I discovered during my research and experimentation phase is that you need to use raw chickpeas, not cooked or canned. Using canned chickpeas makes them taste like mushy fried hummus balls instead of crispy, light falafel.

I also used to look at the long ingredient list on some falafel recipes and feel overwhelmed. I’ve found that using a variety of herbs and spices is definitely necessary, but the process is extremely simple. It all goes into the food processor and gets pulsed together. That’s it. No need to crush your garlic or dice your onion. Just dump it all in. Like this:

Until it looks like this:

Stick it in the fridge for an hour, and roll it into balls:

Fry until crispy and brown on the outside, and fully cooked on the inside:

Mmm . . . just look at those delicious, crispy bundles of Israeli, falafely goodness!

Falafel is usually served in a warm pita, or on a plate, with your preferred condiments. My “go-to” accompaniments are hummus, tahini, pickles and Israeli salad. In a pita, of course!

Falafel Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups dried chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 small onion, cut into quarters (or half a larger onion)
  • 3–4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Falafel Directions:

  1. Place the chickpeas in a bowl or container and cover with water. The water should be a couple of inches higher than the chickpeas, because they will expand while soaking. Soak the chickpeas overnight, or for at least 3–4 hours. When ready, drain and rinse well.
  2. Pour the chickpeas into the food processor, with all the other ingredients (except the oil). Pulse until mixture resembles a coarse crumb. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
  3. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Gently roll the mixture into balls. If it feels a little crumbly, apply some pressure while rolling, to help the balls come together. If the mixture is too crumbly and you cannot get it to stick together at all, you may need to return it to the food processor and pulse a few more times. But you don’t want the mixture to be too dense. It should not feel like meatballs or matzah balls. It should feel light and delicate, but able to hold its shape.
  5. Pour oil into a pot or frying pan, about 1½ inches deep. Heat the oil over a medium-high flame until ready. To test if the oil is ready, drop in a small piece of the mixture. If the oil bubbles and the mixture floats, the oil is ready and you can begin frying your falafel balls. Fry the balls for 2–3 minutes on the first side, then gently flip them and fry for another 1–2 minutes. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot/pan. I like to fry them in batches of 6–8. When the falafel balls are fully cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towel, to help soak up the excess oil so they don’t get soggy.
  6. Serve with your choice of accompaniments, such as hummus, tahini, Israeli salad and pickles. Many people enjoy eating the falafel and condiments inside a warm, soft pita.

Yields: Approximately 30 falafel balls

Recipe is based on Tori Avey’s recipe, with a few tweaks.

Miriam Szokovski is the author of the historical novel Exiled Down Under, and a member of the editorial team. She shares her love of cooking, baking and food photography on’s food blog, Cook It Kosher.
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M. Diane Queens, NY September 6, 2016

Making another big batch of this "mix" to freeze! Hi everybody! This time instead of frying them I am going to broil them. I will report back about how that works and how they compare to the fried ones. I love broiled foods from veggies to steaks and chicken; and, something keeps telling me that broiling Miriam's falafels is going to be great!! Reply

M. Diane Queens, NY August 11, 2016

I want Israeli salad every single Shabbos It's yummy. The slender tender cucumbers are wonderful. I always put flat leaf Italian parsley in my Israeli salad. And in addition to fresh lemon juice, I add a splash of chilled Kosher apple cider vinegar with the 'mother.' (I keep my vinegar in the fridge so it won't wilt my salads).

Hi Miriam - by the way, I made your falafel again and passed this link on to a client who loved them. I made a batch of falafel 'stuff' 4 times the recipe! Yikes! Ate a quarter of it with friends, gave about a quarter away and still I have plenty of "falafel stuff" in my freezer! Reply

Miriam Szokovski August 10, 2016

Israeli Salad Hi,

The Israeli salad is just very finely diced cucumber (I prefer the Persian cucumbers), tomato and purple onion. Dressed with a small amount of olive oil, salt and fresh lemon juice. Reply

Anonymous Portland August 9, 2016

Hello. Good afternoon.
I was wondering if you could provide the Israeli salad recipe. Thank you. Reply

Sharon Dodge Camano Island, Wa. USA May 26, 2016

Can hardly wait to fix them. I have been eating them in Israel
and want to make them for Shabbat. Reply

Miriam Szokovski May 24, 2016

good idea Hi Diane,

Thanks for sharing! Freezing them fully formed but not yet fried sounds like a great idea. Reply

M. Diane Flushing, NY May 23, 2016

Miriam, your falafel are great even after freezing them! I put some of the falafel I made according to your recipe in a stainless bowl so they were not touching and then I put that bowl inside a plastic zip lock bag. That went into the freezer. I could have repackaged the falafel by taking them from the bowl once frozen; but, by the time I thought about them again a week later, yours truly was hankering for a good brunch. I removed the plastic bag from the freezer and put it, unopened, into the fridge the night before I used them. Your falafel held together perfectly and I tested one just to know they could be formed again. So the 'dough' could be frozen as a block and the falafel formed just before cooking (although I do not see much advantage in that). By shaping the falafel before freezing we can slide them right into the hot oil without getting our fingers icky! They cooked perfectly. Such an easy recipe! Reply

Sharon Dodge Washington, State USA May 13, 2016

I was hoping t find a falafal recipe, thank you so much. I make hummus adding walnut flour I make myself and a little balsamic vinegar. Yum. Reply

M. Diane Flushing, NY May 13, 2016

I made the falafel and they came out great! I am very happy with how they came out. The first batch were balls and very crispy, brown and crunchy but so much so that one might chip a tooth! The second batch, also round, turned out perfect in terms of color and crunch factor! The taste of the falafel is outstanding! I used the crushed coriander seed as a 'flour' and found that a fine powder was already waiting for me at the bottom of the container of coriander seed (Thank You, L-rd, for the even the tiny blessings, particularly when they save me time on Friday mornings!). The third batch I flattened a tad and those are my favorites. I even tossed a few into a container and froze them to see how well they will do when defrosted and cooked. Will report on that in the future! I suppose you will not see this until after Shabbos so here I am in advance of it praying all who observe will enjoy a wonderful Shabbos! Reply

Sara Russia May 12, 2016

Gluten free falafel balls I use a similar recipe but to make it gluten free, I add 1 - 1.5 tablespoons of cornstarch, no flour. I also throw in some ground coriander seed. Adds great flavor. Reply

Miriam Szokovski May 12, 2016

condiments red bowl - tahini

white bowl - hummus

brown bowl - Israeli Salad

I hope that helps! Reply

Anonymous usA May 12, 2016

wow, thank you! I did not know it's that simple! Can I ask what is condiment at the right-top part of photo? Would love how to make it too. Thanks for sharing! Reply

farah sajid Pakistan May 12, 2016

Here it's called missery kabbab and its deep fry with egg in last its so tasty. We cannot get kosher salt so we use National refine Salt.

Thank you for this recipe . Reply

Miriam Szokovski May 10, 2016

gluten free Hi Diane,

I love your enthusiasm! Thank you - so glad you are excited about this recipe. For a gluten free version, you could try leaving out the flour and adding a couple of tablespoons of water to help the mixture come together. You could also try replacing it with oat flour.

let me know how it comes out! Reply

Miriam Szokovski May 10, 2016

chickpeas hi Mae,

the chickpeas are not cooked after soaking. You process them raw, and they cook through while frying. Reply

M. Diane Flushing, NY May 10, 2016

Hi Mae. When I was studying the instructions my understanding was that Miriam said we are to use dried chick peas (not the canned peas) and soak the dried peas as if we were going to cook them -- but then, when they have soaked to the point of where we would have cooked them we are not going to cook them. That is how we are going to put them into the blender with the other ingredients to pulse them all together! So when Miriam says the garbanzos are 'raw,' they truly are still uncooked. Also, I see I was wrong about the amount of flour. It's 2 tablespoons for about 30 of those delightful falafel! So I am going to try a combo of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, ground cumin along with whatever else I can figure out to use instead of flour to make up 2 tablespoons of a 'floury' substance to mix into my ingredients to make the falafel 'dough.' I'll let you know how it turns out. Reply

Mae Westchester, N.Y May 10, 2016

I am wondering about the chickpeas also. Are they cooked after soaking them? Reply

M. Diane Flushing May 8, 2016

Your Falafel look absolutely heavenly! Oh Miriam!! I am looking at the glass bowl of ingredients before processing; and, if the chick peas were cooked at that point, I would dive into a very deep bowl of that salad head first. It looks so delicious. You are talking my language!!Your falafel looks absolutely heavenly and your instructions are easy to understand. I wonder if you can recommend for me to omit the flour. Flour makes me CRAVE (like an addict) more and more "floury" foods and that makes me fat. I just detoxed (again) from flour after Passover and that was not easy (takes 3 days). There MUST be a way around two tablespoons of flour to be able to enjoy a baker's dozen of those crispy, yummy looking falafel. Anyone's suggestions would be welcomed. Thanks! (Mind if I ask? What else do you have going on in your kitchen?) Reply

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