Falafel is a delicious and popular Middle Eastern dish made from chickpeas or fava beans, mixed with herbs and spices, and then deep-fried to perfection. I am sharing a Lebanese falafel recipe made with only chickpeas. These fried patties are loved with dips, in pita wraps or even in salads along with pickles, and fresh vegetables. In this post, I'll guide you through the process of making falafel that won't fall apart while frying.
This Lebanese Falafel recipe is gluten-free and vegan made with chickpeas, herbs and spices. Traditionally these are always deep-fried but nowadays you will also find restaurants serving baked falafels too!
Did you also have oil-soaked, sloppy falafel that completely crumbled into the pool of oil? Do you have trouble shaping the falafel? Did you know that you can freeze falafel before frying it? I have covered all those in this guide to making the best authentic Lebanese falafel from scratch in the comfort of your kitchen!
Some Lebanese falafel recipes will call for fava beans but it is optional. For this recipe, you can use any dried chickpeas as they work the same way.
- chickpeas (black or white): use only dried form.
- garlic cloves
- green chillies
- parsley and coriander leaves or even mint leaves
- red onion
- spices - allspice, pepper, coriander and cumin
- baking powder (optional)
Are you asking why no flour? Chickpeas are already a binder element so adding flour will only harden the texture. And do me a favour by not calling it falafels. 🙂
Here are the step-by-step images of making Lebanese falafel recipe from scratch.
In a food processor, add the chunked onion, garlic cloves, green chillies, and green leaves with a few chickpeas and grind to coarse.
Add the soaked and drained chickpeas, all of the spice powders and pulse a couple of times and grind for a few seconds.
Remember to stop, scrape down and continue the process until all chickpeas are finer.
Like so. (took me about 5 minutes in my mixie grinder)
For those who want to know the kind of blade inside my mixie jar.
Shaped and ready to be fried or frozen. For deep frying, you can shape them into balls but for baking, make patties or slightly flatten the ball shape so you have both sides flat surface.
You can make falafel with black chickpeas! One time, I had soaked black chickpeas to make Kerala Kadala Curry for our weekend breakfast, but it never happened. When I drained it to put it back into the fridge, I realised I could try some falafel for the evening snack! 🙂 We loved it and I am glad I tried it. This recipe works great for both black and white chickpeas!
How do you get a falafel to stick together?
- Make sure you don't add moisture to the dough. Moisture can come from two things here - if you did not drain the soaked chickpeas completely, and if you did not drain or spin the leaves thoroughly.
- Apart from this, do not use water to process the mixture. The onions and leaves will release moisture that will help the soaked chickpeas to break down. Process only until all the chickpeas are ground to a little finer than coarse.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 20 to 30 minutes. This will help you shape the dough or if you want to be fancy, use the falafel pattie maker.
- Then it only comes to the method of making the patties or balls. Don't squeeze but make a ball shape using only the palms of both your hands You may flatten it lightly.
What is Falafel Bowl?
I came up with this Falafel Bowl idea when the Buddha Bowl was trending. I realized making a falafel wrap is messy both to make and eat. Agree? So why not add all the contents into a bowl and eat off it with poise. 😎 There is no rule on what should go into the bowl but here is what I usually add to the bowl:
- Tahini yoghurt sauce
- Boiled eggs
- Veggies like carrots, tomatoes, cucumber etc
- Red onion slices
- Greens like lettuce
- A drizzle of olive oil
Falafel is a versatile dish, and there are several delicious variations found across different regions. If you want to use more fava beans then try an Egyptian falafel. Add more cumin flavour for a Palestinian Falafel. Serve your falafel with pomegranate molasses for a dairy-free dip like the Syrians do. You can also try Yemeni Falafel that are larger in size and made with large fava beans.
There is a falafel maker used to shape it before dropping it into the hot oil. It is sold as falafel maker or falafel scoop or falafel shaper. I have never used one and my recipe doesn't call for it. But if you already own it, then do try using it with this recipe.
Lebanese falafel is traditionally made from a mixture of dried chickpeas and or fava beans, along with a mix of herbs like parsley, coriander or mint and ground spices like allspice and cinnamon. The usual aromatics like onion and garlic is also included. Some recipes call for baking powder to make the falafel light and airy.
Egyptian falafel is typically made using fava beans as the primary ingredient, whereas Lebanese falafel mainly uses chickpeas. However, it's important to note that both variations may incorporate a combination of both chickpeas and fava beans. Egyptian falafel is typically shaped into small, flat discs or patties, while Lebanese falafel is shaped into round balls.
Shape the falafels and line them on a flat tray. Freeze until every falafel is frozen completely. Remove and pack them in a ziplock bag or freezer-friendly box and freeze for up to 2 months!
When you want to fry frozen falafel, please do not thaw! From the freezer into hot oil on a medium flame for 5 minutes turning them around to fry evenly. Thawing frozen falafel will add back moisture into it making them lose shape and suck oil while frying.
The simple answer is NO. Always use dried chickpeas for the best results. Soak the dried chickpeas in plenty of water for at least four hours or until they have doubled or tripled in size.
Looking for more recipes using chickpeas?
Lebanese Falafel Recipe
- 1 cup dried chickpeas soaked overnight, drained completely
- 2 tablespoons medium onion chopped roughly
- 2 garlic cloves chopped roughly
- 2 to 4 green chillies chopped roughly
- 1 cup fresh parsley see notes
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
- ½ teaspoon allspice powder
- salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- Oil to deep fry
Making the dough
- In a mixie or food processor, add the chunked onion, garlic cloves, green chillies, and green leaves with a few chickpeas and grind to coarse.2 tablespoons medium onion, 2 garlic cloves, 2 to 4 green chillies, 1 cup fresh parsley
- Add the chickpeas, all of the spice powders and pulse a couple of times and then process for a few seconds.1 cup dried chickpeas, ½ teaspoon cumin powder, ½ teaspoon coriander powder, ½ teaspoon black pepper powder, ½ teaspoon allspice powder
- Remember to stop, scrape down and continue the process until all chickpeas are finer (took me about 5 minutes in my mixie grinder).
- Transfer to a bowl, adjust the spices and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or a day.
- Add salt and baking powder only 10 minutes before frying.salt to taste, ¼ teaspoon baking powder
Shape and Fry
- Take out the dough from the fridge, add the salt and baking powder and mix thoroughly.
- Shape them into equal-sized balls and line them on a flat tray. At this point, you can freeze them or refrigerate them for 10 minutes.
- Heat enough oil on a medium flame for deep frying. You need at least 2 inches of oil.Oil to deep fry
- Drop a few falafels in the hot oil and fry them on low to medium flame for 3 to 5 minutes turning them a few times until browned evenly. As the mixture is not cooked prior, it is imperative we fry them on low and longer to cook through.
- With a slotted spoon remove the fried falafels and place them in a colander or kitchen paper towel to get rid of any excess oil.
- Serve with yoghurt garlic sauce or tahini sauce, or ranch dressing.