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  • Writer's pictureFay Walsh

Crispy Herby Falafel

Updated: May 30, 2021

The only falafel recipe you will ever need!

Falafel tastes wonderful and is vegan, so we should make it. The common link between all of "the best" falafel places I've discovered is, 1) being perfectly crispy, and 2) lots and lots and lots of fresh green herbs in the mix. I know there are many of you out there that want to bake your falafel, and that's totally fine, but for the purpose of this recipe, I went for the ultra flavorful, cripsy deep-fried falafel.

I went in pursuit of the greenest falafel recipe I could find and discovered this super fresh, incredibly herbaceous recipe from Downshiftology. She adds a surpise ingredient to her falafel mix - serrano chili pepper! I tried this and they came out amazing. The accompanying video from Downshiftology is extremely comprehensive and shows you step by step how to either fry or bake your falafel from scratch. I recommend you watch this first and use my recipe below for easy (ad-free) reference.

Where should I try falafel?

My favorite falafel place in NYC is a chain called Mamoun's. Situated in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York City, Mamoun’s Falafel has been serving high quality, authentic Middle Eastern food since 1971. It is the oldest falafel restaurant in New York and one of the first Middle Eastern establishments in the United States.

Another favorite falafel place is called Mi-Va-Mi in the Jewish quarter of Paris. The line is long but worth the wait and definitely worth the trek to the Marais neighborhood to experience this middle eastern treat.

They serve the falafel with very fresh warm pita, hummus, tahini, and a mixed array of crunchy vegetables. The pitas are on the larger side, so be sure to show up hungry.

How do I eat falafel?

Typically, falafel is served alongside a mezze platter with very fresh hummus, fresh pita, rich tahini sauce, and an array of crunchy vegetables. In Israel, falafel is most commonly eaten in a pita with garnishes of tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickled onions. If you love falafel as much as I do, it can be enjoyed itself as a snack any time of day. The falafel will taste the best, very hot just out of the deep fryer.

Can I use canned chickpeas?

Unfortunately, no. Canned chickpeas are way too soggy to form properly and won't hold their shape when they encounter the heat. I tried to make falafel with canned chickpeas once and the falafel was a soggy mess. You will need to find dried chickpeas and soak them for at least eight hours so that they soften a bit. I soaked mine overnight and used the leftover chickpeas to make fresh hummus (recipe forthcoming). I recommend using Goya Chickpeas because they are cheap and easy to find!


Crispy Herby Falafel

by Lisa Bryan

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (don't use canned chickpeas)

  • 1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped

  • 1 cup parsley, roughly chopped (about a one large bunch)

  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped (about a one large bunch)

  • 1 small green chile pepper, serrano or jalapeno pepper

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp cardamom (I used coriander)

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour (I used whole wheat flour)

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • avocado oil for frying (I used vegetable oil)

  1. The night before, soak the dried chickpeas in water. Make sure the water covers the chickpeas by 2-3 inches, as they'll triple in size.

  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to your food processor. 

  3. Add the onion, parsley, cilantro, pepper, garlic, cumin, salt, cardamom and black pepper to the food processor and pulse several times until it resembles the texture of coarse sand.

  4. Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl and add the chickpea flour and baking soda. Stir together, then cover or add a lid.

  5. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes to one hour.

  6. Use your hands, an ice cream scoop or falafel scoop to form the falafel into balls or patties. If you find the mixture is too wet, you can add another tablespoon of chickpea flour. If it's too dry and crumbly, you can add a teaspoon or two of water or lemon juice.

  7. Once the falafel are formed, you can cook them by your preferred method mentioned above.

  8. To deep fry the falafel, add about 3 inches of oil to a pot on medium heat. Heat the oil to 350F.

  9. Cook the falafel in batches (about 6-8 at a time) for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Use a skimmer to check the color of the falafel and make sure they don't over cook. Then remove them to a paper towel-lined plate.

  10. Serve the falafel immediately, while warm and crispy on the outside.

Recipe courtesy

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