What is Falafel

What is Falafel?

What is Falafel? 

Falafel is a deep fried patty made from a blended paste of fava beans and chickpeas flavored with an assortment of select spices. Though you will find them served in delis and Arabic restaurants, falafel patties are typically associated with street food as they are commonly offered by street vendors in Middle Eastern regions. 

Traditional Falafel Recipe 

Different Middle East cultures use varying ratios of fava beans to chickpeas when preparing falafel patties and in some regions only one of the legumes is used. The main spices used include minced parsley, coriander and cumin with egg or flour as the binding agent.  The spices can be personalized to taste. A dash of chili powder is often added for extra spiciness. 

This is a traditional falafel recipe. You can vary the quantities of the beans and spices according to taste. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes


  • ½ cup dried chickpeas   
  • ½ cup fava beans
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon each of coriander and cumin
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


For a quick substitute, instead of using dried beans you can use a 16 oz. can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans. If you are using a can, you do not need to soak the beans overnight. All you need to do is drain the can and 


Cover dried chickpeas with cold water in a bowl and let it soak overnight. 

Drain chickpeas, add fresh water and cook for about 20-30 minutes on medium heat. 

Drain and cool. 

Combine and mash all ingredients together till you get a thick, semi-smooth paste. Add a little flour to the mix to bind ingredients together.

Form the mixture into small balls and flatten slightly. You can shape the patties either by hand or using a falafel mold.

Fry patties in oil till golden brown. For a healthier version, you can bake the patties instead of frying.

Serving Suggestions 

Falafel is very versatile and can be served as appetizers or as a main dish at any occasion. Moreover, because it contains no meat or dairy product at all, it is a favorite amongst vegetarians and vegans as well.   

As a main dish, it can be served as a falafel burger or sandwich. This is incredibly easy to do. You simply stuff the falafel patties into the pita bread along with tahini, a few tomato slices and shredded cabbage. Roll it up and it is ready to eat. This goes best with a yoghurt based sauce made with a combination of yoghurt, dill, cucumbers and a dash of lemon. 

As an appetizer, falafel patties can be served in several different ways. It can be served with hummus and tahini on the side accompanied by triangles of crisp pita bread. Alternatively it can be served on a bed of salad with a yoghurt or olive oil based dressing. 

Calories: 1 Falafel patty has approximately  57 calories. 

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