Homemade Falafel with Tahini Sauce

In a moment of nostalgia a few weekends ago, I found myself digging through my massive bin of culinary school mementos—oil-stained notebooks, tattered chefs’ coats, broken vegetable peelers, a paper toque, and buried within a folder of class notes, a recipe for homemade falafel.

Just a few days prior I’d planned dinner with my friend Kamran at Taim, a legendary falafel spot in New York City. But a bustling crowd and minimal seating prevented us from ever making it inside the shoebox-sized eatery, and instead we settled on crispy chicken chunks and chips at A Salt & Battery down the street. A satisfying alternative, but still not the answer to my falafel craving.

Discovering the recipe among the mountains of note cards and textbooks was the only sign I needed to finally get serious about my falafel fix. I was soon pulsing together cups of chickpeas and fresh herbs, and after a quick sauté, my hand was home to a warmed pita stuffed with four bright green patties dripping with cool and creamy tahini sauce. Check out my step-by-step photos of this surprisingly simple dish, and then weigh in below with your favorite falafel spots across the globe!

Homemade Falafel

Homemade Falafel

Homemade Falafel

Homemade Falafel

Homemade Falafel

Homemade Falafel with Tahini Sauce

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 90 min (includes chilling time)

Cook Time: 6 min

Ingredients:

For the falafel:
2 cups roughly chopped white onion
6 garlic cloves
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
Canola oil, for sauteing
Pita bread, for serving

For the tahini sauce:
1¼ cups plain yogurt (full fat or non-fat)
¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Add the onion and garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor and pulse just until they are finely minced. Remove the mixture and set it aside.

Add the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, salt, chili powder, and cumin to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until they are roughly blended but not pureed.

Return the onion mixture to the food processor, along with the baking powder and just enough flour so that when you pulse the processor, the mixture begins to form a small ball and is not sticky. (Note: Start by adding ¼ cup of flour, and then the remaining ¼ cup. You can add more if the mixture is still too wet.)

Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour.

While the falafel mixture is chilling, prepare the tahini sauce by whisking together the yogurt, tahini and lemon juice. Season it with salt and pepper, cover it and place it in the fridge.

Once the falafel mixture has chilled, use a small ice cream scoop or spoons to form the mixture into balls (roughly 3 Tablespoons per ball). (Note: You can also add additional flour at this point, if the mixture is too wet to scoop.)

Set a large sauté pan over medium heat and add a liberal amount of canola oil so that the pan is well-coated. Let the pan pre-heat for 3 minutes then add the falafel one by one, browning them on the first side for 3 minutes, then flipping them once and browning the second side until the mixture is cooked throughout.

Transfer the falafel to a paper towel-lined cooling wrack and immediately season them with salt. Repeat this process until you have cooked all of the falafel.

Place three or four falafel inside a halved, warmed pita and drizzle with the prepared tahini sauce.

Recipe inspired by a lesson in Module 2 of the Culinary Arts Program at The Institute of Culinary Education.

      

100 Responses to “Homemade Falafel with Tahini Sauce”

  1. #
    1
    pam — August 17, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I love these for lunch!

    • Kelly replied: — August 17th, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

      Agreed, Pam! I have the Moshe’s Falafel truck outside my office every day and I absolutely love the wafting aroma of hot falafel.

  2. #
    2
    Bev Weidner — August 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Holy crap! I’ve been waiting and waiting for a falafel recipe to make its way across the food blogosphere and HERE YOU ARE.

    I just got giddy.

    • Kelly replied: — August 17th, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

      Welcome, Bev! This recipe definitely satisfied my falafel craving and hope it’ll do the same for you! It’s hard to beat a hot, flavor-packed falafel patty dripping with cool tahini :)

  3. #
    3
    Hayley Mann — August 17, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    YUM!!! I am a mega falafel lover, yet I’ve never attempted to make them myself. Now I’m totally going to give these a try. XO

    • Kelly replied: — August 17th, 2011 @ 6:23 pm

      Hay-hay! I was just showing your blog to a friend at work – we are obsessed! I’m loving that camera bag…

  4. #
    4
    Julia — August 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Your Falafel looks just amazing!

    • Kelly replied: — August 17th, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

      Thanks so much, Julia. And I have to tell you that I am obsessed with your blog title – love it!

  5. #
    5
    Emma @ Poires au Chocolat — August 17, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I’ve always wondered if it would be simple to make falafel – this recipe looks awesome! I really like falafel and I’ve just started making my own pita so this would be a great thing to try. Thanks :)

    • Kelly replied: — August 17th, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

      It is a surprisingly simple technique! The key is to be ale to balance just enough flour int e mixture so that the patties stay together but aren’t dry. Homemade pita sounds like it might be my next recipe!

  6. #
    6
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — August 17, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    These look delish! Great talking to you today!

    • Kelly replied: — August 17th, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

      Thanks so much, Alison! It was such a pleasure talking to you today and I’m so excited to be on the same panel for Food Blog Forum!

  7. #
    7
    kamran siddiqi — August 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    I thought that eating lunch and dinner would prevent me from craving falafel, but that’s all this post does. I wonder if Taim would accept bribes in exchange for reserving a couple seats at their very small place…

    The falafel look to die for, and the step-by-step photos are just gorgeous. Wonderful post, Kelly!

    • Kelly replied: — August 18th, 2011 @ 12:23 am

      You are too kind, Kamran! Well, we STILL need to get that falafel one day…

  8. #
    8
    AnnTee — August 18, 2011 at 6:31 am

    hello kelly!
    I just thought you might want to try this- instead of flour, add 1- 2 tbsp of semolina… this helps to hold the mixture together, while at the same time giving the falafel a hearty taste!

    • Kelly replied: — August 18th, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

      Thank you so much for the suggestion! Will definitely try the semolina substitute next time!

  9. #
    9
    Marisol — August 19, 2011 at 4:25 am

    Kelly! I love your pictures :) I’m working on my blog now, any suggestions? I have to say that you inspired me to do that.
    Falafel look great! you don’t know how hard it is to find it in Mexico :(

    • Kelly replied: — August 19th, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

      So great to hear from you, Sol! And I am thrilled to hear that Just a Taste inspired you to start a food blog – I can’t wait to check it out! Missing you and our days at ICE…

  10. #
    10
    Nadia — August 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    hi, i tried these today and they turned out awesome, thanks alot :)

    • Kelly replied: — August 21st, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Nadia! And thank you so much for your feedback. Hopefully you have some leftovers for the week!

  11. #
    11
    My Favourite Day Is Sunday — August 22, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Hi,
    I love your blog!
    You are one of my favourite bloggers of the week on http://www.funkysunday.com
    Come and visit!
    My Favourite Day Is Sunday

    • Kelly replied: — August 22nd, 2011 @ 10:53 am

      Thanks so much for including Just a Taste in your list of favorites!

  12. #
    12
    JulieD — August 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Oh my amazing! Pinning this for later, Kelly. I love Kamran btw. :)

    • Kelly replied: — August 25th, 2011 @ 2:16 am

      Hi Julie! So great to hear from you and I can’t wait to catch up in TN!

  13. #
    13
    alison — September 9, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I’ve been looking for a good falafel recipe. This looks wonderful, and so easy. Glad to have found your blog!

    • Kelly replied: — September 9th, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Alison! I was just as happy to find your blog this morning!

  14. #
    14
    logan — October 17, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    hey there! i have made these twice and both times i had to put in over a cup of flour before the batter made it into a ball. I have a super fancy high-powered food processor…could this be the issue? it seems like they are getting too pureed and come out denser than i think they should. they taste amazing, though.

    do you think it would work if i mixed the flour in by hand? what’s the disadvantage of having a sticky batter?

    thanks in advance!

    logan

    • Kelly replied: — October 17th, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

      Hi, Logan! Thanks so much for stopping by. I’d love to help troubleshoot any issues you’re having. Did you definitely drain the beans? The other consideration is to make sure you aren’t pureeing the mixture too much. The more you puree it, the thinner it will become. You want a just rough enough chop so that the ingredients bind together with the addition of the flour. Make sure during the various stages of using your food processor that you aren’t overdoing it. Hope this helps!

  15. #
    15
    logan — October 17, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    ooh! one more thing. all the other recipes i have found calls for just soaked beans, not cooked or canned. have you tried this? any thoughts?

    • Kelly replied: — October 17th, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

      I have used soaked beans before, but I prefer the texture from the cooked beans and found they cook up more evenly in patty-form. Hope my note below helps!

  16. #
    16
    logan — October 17, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    yep, i tried it with both canned and dried beans with the same outcome. maybe i will try adding the flour earlier in the process so it isnt as pureed when i add it.

    thanks for the info!

  17. #
    17
    Ralf K. — January 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I do not want to be offensive but this dish is a Palestinian dish.

  18. #
    18
    Chelsea J. — February 15, 2012 at 2:30 am

    Made them for my happy single awareness day meal. lovelove

    • Kelly replied: — February 15th, 2012 @ 2:31 am

      Thank you for the big smile! I am a big fan of Happy Single Awareness Day, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe :)

  19. #
    19
    Kathleen — March 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Made these for date night with my husband…they are fabulous!! If your ever in Vermont go try the falafel at Ali Baba’s Kabob Shop on Main St. In Burlingon.

  20. #
    20
    Ashley D. — November 15, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Tried this already once and loved it, had a little trouble with the patties getting stuck to the pan, but I will be attempting it again today!

    Love how simple you make everything look! :)

  21. #
    21
    jocelyn — December 2, 2012 at 2:18 am

    I agree w pam and kelly. I absolutely crave the falafel at moshe’s falafel truck.

  22. #
    22
    Aggie — May 7, 2013 at 6:42 am

    I constantly crave falafel like it’s nobody’s business! So happy to find this baked version from you that looks absolutely delicious!!

  23. #
    23
    Angela — May 19, 2013 at 8:54 am

    This was my first time making falafel and it was WONDERFUL! I am currently overseas, so I didn’t even have a food processor, the Tahini or cilantro but it was still so yummy. Plus it makes a lot so my lunches this week are gonna rock! I’ve just been wrapping these little gems in tortillas with some cucumber slices. Tastes so fresh. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  24. #
    24
    Justine — July 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Hi! I’ve been looking for a good falafel recipe for awhile and this may be it! I will have to try it soon. Could I use canned chick peas?

  25. #
    25
    Erin — July 12, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I’m so excited! My daughter took me to Oasis, in Iowa City, Iowa for my first falafel a year ago. I can’t wait to make these for her! =]

  26. #
    26
    Laura Plumb — August 20, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    What a beautiful site! And what a mouth-watering post! Beautiful, delicious, inspiring. Will definitely try this. Thank you.

  27. #
    27
    Denise Rootenberg — October 17, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Best fekafel in Toronto is Tov Li, also run by Israelis. It’s kosher too. Their pizza is also outstanding and I love the kolbo salad (a mixture of various ingredients you choose and they chop).

  28. #
    28
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — October 28, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Can you believe I’ve never made falafel at home before?! Thanks for the tutorial – definitely need to give this a try!

  29. #
    29
    jen j — October 30, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I have traveled all over the Middle East, and I still think that the best falafel I have ever eaten is L’as du Falafel in the Marais section of Paris. I dream offset sandwich….

  30. #
    30
    Audrey — November 5, 2013 at 2:16 am

    These look positively delicious! I love recipes that have so many fresh and flavorful ingredients. However, I was wondering, could be baked instead of fried?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — November 5th, 2013 @ 2:19 am

      Thanks, Audrey! I’ve never tried this specific recipe by baking rather than frying them, so I can’t say with certainty.

  31. #
    31
    Ana — November 17, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I just made this tonight for dinner and it was sooo delicious! I haven’t had falafel in ages and this was so easy to make. Thanks for sharing your recipe :)

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — November 17th, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

      So glad you enjoyed my recipe, Ana!

  32. #
    32
    Dave Wild — December 5, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Looks terrific! I am lucky enough to work in Dearborn MI and we’ve got lots of incredible middle eastern places. My fave is New Yasmeen Bakery. Just about everything they have is fantastic. Best hummus I’ve ever had, by a long ways and the falafel is wonderful too.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 5th, 2013 @ 9:49 pm

      Thanks for sharing your tip on where to dine, Dave! Will definitely check it out next time I’m in MI :)

  33. #
    33
    Katie @ Produce on Parade — December 6, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    These look wonderful! I have never made falafel before! Being vegan, it’s actually kind of surprising. I’ll have to try these, thanks for sharing! :)

  34. #
    34
    Shani — January 4, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Say what?! I need these in my life! I love that they’re not deep fried. We love falafel. I’m so going to make this today

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 4th, 2014 @ 10:23 am

      Thanks, Shani! Hope you enjoy!

  35. #
    35
    Kelly — January 5, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Made these last night for dinner me they were loved by all:) had tabbouleh salad and fresh hummus instead of the yogurt sauce (dairy free and I didn’t have any soy yogurt on hand). We def had a garbanzo bean and parsley theme going on but it was great and I’m looking forward to leftovers for lunch today! Thanks for sharing!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 5th, 2014 @ 1:43 pm

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Kelly!

  36. #
    36
    Tanya Mgrdechian — January 9, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Trying this. But what about baking the falafal as a healthier option? What temperature and how long would you suggest?

  37. #
    37
    Dani — January 31, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I’m trying to make these now and it just will not mix. The blades of the possessor are a-spinning’ but the mix is so think nothing moves. What am I doing wrong??

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 31st, 2014 @ 10:34 pm

      Hi Dani! Are you using cooked chickpeas?

  38. #
    38
    Allison — February 14, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I’m sad mine didn’t turn out well last night. I made sure not to overblend them in the food processor and I thought I had added enough flour, but after beginning to cook I could see they needed a little more. I cooked them as prescribed but the insides seemed to not cook through and it wasn’t a nice texture. How would I get a nice crust similar to what you get at restaurants without deep frying? The sauce was great though.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 14th, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

      Hi Allison – Did you drain the chickpeas very well?

  39. #
    39
    Abby — February 16, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    How long do these keep once cooked? I’m thinking of making them today (Sunday) and keeping them for lunches this week, if they last that long!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 16th, 2014 @ 6:00 pm

      Hi Abby! I’ve only ever cooked them immediately after forming the patties, so I can’t say with certainty how long they’d last.

  40. #
    40
    panna — February 20, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Awesome recipe. Very simple and tasty, but I added spinach as I didn’t have any other greens :). I made almost round like deep fried ones using ponganam pan. Makes it crispy without the need to deep fry.

    In India, we make something similar but with soaked lentils and rice called ponganalu (Using thick dosa batter).

  41. #
    41
    Holly — February 26, 2014 at 11:00 am

    This was an amazing recipe! I enjoyed preparing it and I even made homemade pita bread to go along with it. I love this website and your creativity in cooking inspires me! Thank you for sharing all of these recipes with us! My husband thanks you too!

  42. #
    42
    Joanna — March 20, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    This is a fabulous recipe! It is very easy to make and such simple ingredients. I made the mix the night before and cooked them the next night based on schedule. In the future I’ll probably make the mix on Sunday and cook them Monday night for dinner and lunch for the week. Thanks for sharing!

  43. #
    43
    Victoria — April 9, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I have never had falafel until today when I made this recipe. Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed it and will be making them again.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — April 10th, 2014 @ 1:33 am

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Victoria!

  44. #
    44
    ppatel — April 10, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Hi! I can’t wait to make the falafels this weekend. But I have a small question: The recipe calls for 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained.. can i use canned chickpeas? Or do I take the garbanzo beans – soak it over night – and then pressure cooker it n then drain?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — April 10th, 2014 @ 12:24 pm

      Yes, canned chickpeas will work, as will freshly soaked/cooked beans. Enjoy!

  45. #
    45
    Georgina — April 13, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I made this recipe tonight and the dough was too wet to work with. I don’t recommend using a food processor to mash the chickpeas. Next time I’d mash by hand and add to the onion mix. I used canned chickpeas and rinsed and dried them thoroughly but that didn’t seem to help.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — April 14th, 2014 @ 8:22 am

      Hi Georgina – I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the recipe, You can definitely mash the chickpeas by hand if you find that results in a better texture.

  46. #
    46
    Jordan — April 18, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Wow! I have never tried falafel before… But I love homemade hummus and the likes so I thought I’d try it! I had to put about an extra cup of flour and I made the mistake of tasting the batter.. It was awful and I was ready to toss the whole thing but I decided to try cooking one since if already put all the effort in. To my surprise, they’re delicious! Thanks for a great recipe I’m sure I’ll use again! :)

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