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Sesame Coated Falafel in Pita Bread with Tahini Sauce

How to Make Falafel at Home – With Zesty Tahini Sauce

A Middle Eastern plant-based healthful fritter does not need to be deep fried.
See my method for pan-frying and then finishing in the oven for the tastiest falafel! Gluten Free.
Crispy & Crunchy with tender insides and bold flavors – enjoy making them at home! 

Middle eastern Falafel on a wooden vintage board
Middle eastern Falafel on a wooden vintage board*

Falafel is a fantastic vegan-friendly meal that is packed full of protein and goodness. Foodies are devouring them – and vegetarians swear by them.

Vegetarian & Vegan (gluten free too) – a delicious meal (I love paired them with an awesome salad), sandwich, snack or appetizer.
I slightly flatten the round shape, then coat with sesame seeds. They grab the oil for crunch without being greasy!

If you make falafel at home, you can save calories and fat by pan frying them in less oil.

My method for pan-frying and finishing in the oven saves all those fat calories. Falafels can have almost half it’s fat from the frying oil!
The trick is to use a 9″ frying pan with only 1/2 cup of oil… a few more tablespoons might be needed, but that’s all.
I have tried baking falafel in the oven with a brushing of oil – I did not care for the flavor or taste.

Sesame Coated Falafel in Pita Bread with Tahini Sauce
Sesame Coated Falafel in Pita Bread with Tahini Sauce

Tahini Sauce is a snap to make! Tahini (sesame seed paste) is broadly sold everywhere – simply stir some up, add lemon juice, water, minced garlic with a touch of cumin and salt.
See the recipe below.

Ingredients other than chickpeas for the falafel on a board
Ingredients other than chickpeas for the falafel
Soaking 2 cups of dried chickpeas for falafel
Soaking 2 cups of dried chickpeas for falafel for 24 hours – add a little baking soda to soften and facilitate digestion
Falafel mixture pulsed in a food processor
Falafel mixture pulsed in a food processor
Scoop falafel - easiest with a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop, then press each side into sesame seeds
Scoop falafel – easiest with a 1  1/2 inch cookie scoop, then press each side into sesame seeds
Cook 8 - 10 falafels at a time in a 9" skillet with just 1/2 cup of neutral oil
Cook 8 – 10 falafels at a time in a 9″ skillet with just 1/2 cup of neutral oil
Cook the first side of falafel until deep golden brown, then flip over
Cook the first side until deep golden brown, then flip over
Add cooked falafel to a parchment line rimmed baking pan to finish in the oven
Add cooked falafel to a parchment line rimmed baking pan – cook for 5 minutes in the oven to finish cooking
Cooked falafel on a baking pan
Falafel are crispy-crunchy on the outside and tender inside
Delicious home cooked falafel squeezed into a pita half
Delicious falafel squeezed into a pita half – add plenty of tahini!
In this recipe – I have swapped half of the usual parley for fresh spinach. Lends a nice flavor! Or use all parsley – your choice.

These falafel are gluten free – I use garbanzo bean flour (which I love) … just 2 tablespoons in the whole batch. Or, use regular or gluten free flour.
This recipe makes 38, 2″ falafel ~ you can freeze some of the mixture and have another falafel delicious day!

Best way to make Falafel:

  • First up, and most importantly – use dried chickpeas and soak them overnight, or better yet for 24 hours. (Canned chickpeas will fall apart.)
  • They will plump up, yet you do not need to boil and cook them!
  • Simply grind them with all the ingredients in a food processor and you are ready to shallow-fry. (I do add baking powder just before frying.)
  • Form into a ball, then slightly flatten. A 1  1/2 inch cookie scoop works great!
  • Coat falafel with sesame seeds on both sides ; add them to a plate.
  • Into a frying pan they go (I use a 9″ one) yet you only need 1/2 cup of oil for the whole batch!
  • When they are a deep golden-brown color on both sides, add them to a baking tray and pop them in the oven for 5 minutes.

How to serve and eat Falafel:

  • I really enjoy stuffing half of a pita bread with the falafel and add lots of tahini and parsley leaves
  • To the above add veggies, like thin cut colorful peppers, crispy lettuce and herbs
  • Think of other accompaniments such as hummus, pickles, picked vegetables and feta cheese
  • Serve as an appetizer ~ you can make a slightly smaller sized falafel and serve with a dollop of tahini on top / garnish with a parsley sprig
  • To bump up this appetizer a notch – cut pita bread into 3 inch rounds, gently toast – add the garnished falafel on top
  • Serve with other Israeli foods for a feast – mezze; a selection of small dishes served as appetizers
  • Serve with other Israeli foods for a fest adding tabbouleh, Israeli salad, stuffed vine leaves, labneh, baba ganoush and kebobs

Some Interesting Facts:

  • Considered a specialty of the Israelis, Palestinians and Lebanese – falafel is said to have originated in Egypt.
    One theory: The Egyptians chose them as an alternative to meat during Lent – hey they do resemble meatballs!
  • Falafel’s main ingredient started with fava beans – so closely were the dish and the ingredient associated with one another that it appears to have been from fava beans (fūl) that falafel took its name.
  • Few foods can yield the bold flavors and portability of street food by using only cheap, readily-available plant products. Falafel is, perhaps, the best example.
  • Falafel is a popular street food around the world
  • Made with chickpeas, are rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, fibers, and several key nutrients such as calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc. Chickpea falafel is notable for having a high level of soluble fibers which help reduce cholesterol.* I bought this vintage board here: haus modern – Many vintage finds!

I hope you enjoy making falafel at home!
Karen

Middle eastern Falafel on a wooden vintage board

How to Make Falafel at Home - With Zesty Tahini Sauce

A Middle Eastern plant-based healthful fritter does not need to be deep fried. See my method for pan-frying and then finishing in the oven for the tastiest falafel. I'm using part spinach... something different! Recipe makes 38 falafel - about 5 falafels per serving.
Crispy & Crunchy with tender insides and bold flavors - enjoy making them at home! 
Prep Time: 1 day 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 50 minutes
Servings: 8
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried garbanzo beans to soak; I use organic
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup parsley leaves cleaned and dried; packed
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves cleaned and dried (can use parsley too)
  • 1 medium onion peeled coarsely chopped; just over 1 cup
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic peeled
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin preferably freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne add 1/4 t. if you do not like kinda spicy
  • 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons garbanzo bean flour can use regular flour if not gluten free
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (added just before frying)
  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds not toasted
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil such as expeller pressed safflower oil

Instructions

  • Think ahead - soak dried chickpeas in filtered water to cover by an inch, add baking soda, swirl in. Let stand 24 hours to soften and facilitate digestion.
  • Drain chickpeas, shake out excess water.
    Add chickpeas to the bowl of a food processor with remaining ingredients, excluding the baking powder.
  • Pulse a few times to begin the chopping. Pulse until coarsely chopped, scrape edges of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue until a nice texture - not too fine with a little texture, about 45 seconds total time.
    Scrape mixture unto a bowl, cover and refrigerate at least one hour before using.

Form the Falafel:

  • Add baking powder to the mixture, mix in well. Place sesame seeds on a small plate.
    Scoop walnut size mounds of the mixture (I use a 1 1 /2 inch cookie scoop.) Roll with your hands into a ball, then slightly flatten. Dip both sides into sesame seeds, then add to a plate to hold.
    Repeat until all the falafel are ready.

Pan-fry the Falafel:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Add 1/2 cup of neutral oil to a 9" frying pan. Set heat to medium- low. When hot add the falafel, 8 -10 at at time. Let them get dark golden brown and turn over. Continue cooking on the second side, about 4 minutes per side. Add a few more tablespoons oil if necessary. Add falafel as they are cooked to a rimmed baking sheet.
    Bake for 5 minutes until crispy and cooked through.
    Serve immediately. (Athough they reheat well in a 350 degree oven.)
    See recipe: Zesty Tahini Sauce

Notes

Zesty Tahini Sauce RECIPE:
Whisk together well: 1/2 cup tahini, 2 teaspoons finely grated garlic, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon cumin and 6 tablespoons water. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Tahinis have different thicknesses...add more water if necessary.)
Extra Falafel mixture can be frozen in a sealed container. Defrost in the refrigerator. 
This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer
COURSE: Appetizer, Main Course, Sandwich, Snack
CUISINE: Israeli, Middle eastern
KEYWORDS: falafel
Nutrition Facts
How to Make Falafel at Home - With Zesty Tahini Sauce
Serving Size
 
8 g
Amount per Serving
Calories
232
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
6
g
9
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Sodium
 
364
mg
16
%
Potassium
 
598
mg
17
%
Carbohydrates
 
36
g
12
%
Fiber
 
10
g
42
%
Sugar
 
6
g
7
%
Protein
 
12
g
24
%
Vitamin A
 
1095
IU
22
%
Vitamin C
 
15
mg
18
%
Calcium
 
160
mg
16
%
Iron
 
6
mg
33
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Sesame Coated Falafel in Pita Bread with Tahini Sauce

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