Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern food made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, spices, and herbs wrapped in a dough of flour and water. These little patties are traditionally deep-fried but can also be baked or grilled.

Falafel sandwiches are a popular food item. They are typically served in pita bread with hummus, chopped salad and pickled vegetables.

 

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Homemade falafels are fantastic because you can add herbs and spices that are frequently missing from store-bought versions. Stuffing them into a pita with hummus and lettuce creates a filling and delicious lunch that is ideal for eating on the move.

Note that you must start this dish the night before you want to eat it since the chickpeas must soak overnight.

Ingredients

  • 500 g chickpeas, dry
  •  
  • 1 finely sliced tiny onion
  • 2 smashed garlic cloves
  • a small coriander bunch, coarsely chopped
  •  
  • a small bunch of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley cumin seeds (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon seeds of coriander
  • a teaspoon or two of dry chili flakes (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 heaping tsp baking powder
  • salt and black pepper, freshly ground
  •  
  • 6 pita flatbread, toasted and cut open with spicy chili sauce (optional)
  • to make the hummus
  • 1 teaspoon soda bicarbonate
  • 160g tahini (light)
  • 3 smashed garlic cloves
  • 12 lemon juice, or to taste
  • 6–7 tbsp. ice-cold water
  • to make the salad
  • 250g finely chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 3 finely sliced spring onions
  • 12 cucumber slices (finely chopped)
  • a small handful of finely chopped coriander and flat-leaf parsley 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • to taste, a drop of red wine vinegar

Methods Explained in Detail

  • Step No 1

    Soak the chickpeas in lots of cold water overnight (at least double their volume). Drain the chickpeas well and weigh them in a basin; they should have doubled in size. In a food processor, puree 750g chickpeas, which will be used to make falafels. Pulse in the onion, garlic, and herbs until a crumbly mixture forms.

  • Step No 2

    In a small frying pan, dry fry the cumin, coriander, and chili, if using, for a minute over high heat, or until you can smell their fragrance rising up from the pan. Before putting it in the food processor, put it in a pestle and mortar and ground it up a little. Pulse in the flour, 4 tablespoons cold water, baking powder, and a large pinch of salt and pepper until a coarse paste forms. Put the mixture in a basin and refrigerate for an hour. This enables the flavors to meld and the chickpeas to absorb the liquid. The food processor should be washed and dried.

  • Step No 3

    Make the hummus while the falafel mixture is resting. Fill a big pot halfway with chickpeas. Cover with fresh cold water and sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then simmer for 25–35 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked.

  • Step No 4

    Drain the chickpeas and combine them with the tahini, garlic, and lemon juice in a clean food processor. Process until a coarse paste forms. Start adding the cold water a tablespoon at a time, while the motor is running, until the hummus is as smooth as you like it. I want mine as smooth as possible, but if you like it rougher, process for a bit less time. Scrape into a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper, as well as a squeeze of lemon juice if desired. While you continue to make the falafels, set them to rest.

  • Step No 5

    In a deep fat fryer, heat the oil to 180°C/350°F. Take tablespoons of the falafel mixture and shape them into walnut-sized balls. To keep the mixture from crumbling while cooking, push and compress it together tightly; slightly moist palms help avoid too much stickiness. Rep with the remaining dough, line them up on a baking sheet. Fry in batches for 4–5 minutes in heated oil, until golden and crisp, draining on paper towels as you go.

  • Step No 6

    In a mixing bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, put a large spoonful or two of hummus inside an open pita bread; top with a few falafels, a small salad, and, if desired, a sprinkle of chilli sauce.

Falafel Pittas with Hummus and Chopped Salad are a healthy, easy to make meal that can be made in less than 30 minutes. It is also low in calories and high in protein. Reference: falafel recipe.

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