Authentic Lebanese Falafel Recipe

This authentic Lebanese falafel recipe is easy to follow and produces delicious falafel patties that are crispy on the outside and soft and flavorful on the inside. Depending on your preference, you can also bake, air fry, or deep fry falafel. Serve in pita wraps or bread with your favorite toppings, such as hummus, tahini, vegetables, and yogurt.

Pitas filled with falafel.

What is Falafel?

Falafel is a delicious Middle Eastern dish made from chickpeas, parsley, lemon, garlic, and spices. The ingredients are blended and formed into small patties, then fried or air-fried to perfection.

Falafel is typically part of a mezze, a platter of small dishes shared with friends and family. However, it has also become very popular as a street food, wrapped in flatbread and served with tzatziki or dill sauce, Lebanese tabula salad, and hummus.

Ingredients

Ingredients used in making the recipe.
  • Chickpeas: Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are the base of falafel. They are soaked overnight, ground, and blended with other ingredients to create patties.
  • Garlic: Garlic is typically minced or crushed and adds a unique flavor.
  • Onion: Onions contribute flavor and moisture while helping bind the ingredients together.
  • Ground Coriander: Ground coriander lends a citrusy and adds a bit of spice.
  • Ground Cumin: Ground cumin provides earthy and nutty undertones.
  • Fresh Parsley: Fresh parsley is a key herb used in Lebanese cuisine. It lightens up the flavor and adds a hint of freshness.
  • Salt: Salt enhances the overall flavor.
  • Baking Soda: A small amount of baking soda is used to lift the patties.
  • Lemon: Lemon juice is needed to activate the baking soda, resulting in a slight rise during frying. It also adds a nice tangy flavor that balances the coriander and cumin.
  • Neutral-Flavored Oil: Neutral-flavored oils, such as vegetable or canola oil, create the traditional crispy exterior when frying. They have a high smoke point, ensuring the falafel cooks evenly without altering the flavor.

Instructions

Step 1- Soak the Beans. Start this step 24 hours before.

Place the chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in a large bowl. Chickpeas should be covered by at least 2 inches of water.

Chickpeas in a bowl to soak overnight.

Step 2- Beans after soaking overnight picture.

Once the beans have soaked and expanded, you can move on to the next step.

Dried chickpeas that have soaked over night.

Step 3 – Combine the Ingredients

Place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor; pulse until mealy. The result should be a thick paste.

Ingredients used in making the recipe in a food processor.

Step 4 – Troubleshooting Thick Paste

If the paste is too thick and the food processor cannot pulse, add one tablespoon of water at a time.

Blended falafel in a food processor with a wooden spoon.

Step 5: Scoop and Shape

Using your hands, scoop out a heaping 2 tablespoons of the mixture and shape it into a ball or small patty.

Falafel patty being held in a palm.

Step 6: Fry

Evenly, space the patties in the skillet and fry for 3 – 5 minutes on each side. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Falafel patties almost done frying.

Alternative Cooking Methods

Baking

To bake falafel, follow the recipe instructions above, but instead of frying the patties, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) for 20 minutes. The falafel will be lighter in color and less crispy than traditionally fried patties, but it will still be delicious.

Air Frying

Try this air fryer falafel recipe from Plant Based Folk, a fellow Lebanese blogger.

Cooked falafel patties on a plate.

What to Serve with Falafel

Falafel is commonly served with warm pita bread and eaten like a sandwich or as part of a mezza, a large selection of little plates similar to tapas, and enjoyed leisurely.

  • Pita bread – Falafel is often served inside a warm pita bread pocket and eaten like a sandwich. I like to put hummus and tabule parsley salad inside the pita, and make it an Arabic sandwich.
  • Hummus: Popular in America, this famous dip made from chickpeas originated in the Middle East. I like using hummus as a spread, like mayonnaise or mustard, on a sandwich.
  • Tzatziki Sauce – Tzatziki is a creamy cucumber dip from Greece. If you want a vegan version, try my vegan tzatziki sauce. Both vegans and non-vegans love it.
  • Fries – are popular side dishes, especially at street food stops or food trucks.

Troubleshooting

There are a few main reasons why falafel might fall apart when frying:

  1. The mixture is too dry or too wet. If the mixture is too dry, it will not bind together well. If the mixture is too wet, it will be difficult to shape and will likely fall apart in the hot oil. To adjust the consistency of the mixture, add a little water or flour at a time until it is just moist enough to form into balls.
  2. The oil is not hot enough. If the oil is not hot enough, the falafel patties will absorb too much oil and become soggy. Before frying, heat the oil to 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit (175-190 degrees Celsius).
  3. The falafel patties are too big. Large patties are more likely to fall apart than small ones. Aim for each patty to be about the size of a golf ball.
  4. Fry the patties in batches so that they do not overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding the pan will lower the temperature of the oil and make it more difficult for the patties to cook evenly.
  5. The falafel patties were not rested long enough. Resting them for at least 30 minutes before frying will help them hold their shape and prevent them from falling apart.
  6. Flip the only once while frying. Overflipping can cause them to fall apart.
Four falafel pita sandwiches with toppings next to it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I put baking soda in falafel?

Baking soda is a raising agent that helps give rise to the texture.

Why can’t I use canned chickpeas?

You can use canned chickpeas. The overall texture will be mushy than you are used to. If you use canned garbanzo beans, thoroughly drain and pat them dry. Add 4- 5 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. If you live in a humid climate, you might need to add a tablespoon of flour.

How do I store and reheat falafel?

Refrigerator Instructions: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. It’s best to store it separately from any sauces or toppings you plan to serve it with to ensure it stays fresh.

Freezer Instructions: First, let it cool completely and then place it in a single layer on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the freezer until the falafel is frozen solid, then transfer the frozen patties to a freezer-safe container or bag and store for up to three months.

Reheating Instructions: Bake in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-12 minutes or until heated. Alternatively, you can heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the strength of your microwave.

Did you make this? Leave a comment or take a picture and tag me on Instagram.

Pitas filled with falafel.

Authentic Lebanese Falafel Recipe (Vegan)

Lebanese Falafel is a vegan dish made with chickpeas, parsley, lemon, garlic, and spices. It is a popular Middle Eastern street food, but it can also be easily made at home using these eay to follow directions. Vegan Lebanese falafel perfect for serving in pita wraps, bowls,
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: All Day
Cuisine: Arabic, Lebanese
Servings: 20 patties
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 and ¾ cup dried chickpeas
  • 2 cloves garlic lightly crushed
  • ½ yellow onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 2 cups oil for frying*

Instructions

  • Prepare the Beans:
    Put garbanzo beans in a large bowl and cover with water 3 to 4 inches above the beans. Soak beans overnight. The beans will triple in size during this time.
  • Combine Ingredients:
    Place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor; pulse until mealy. The result should be a thick paste. But if the paste is too thick and the food processor cannot pulse, add one tablespoon of water at a time. The falafel will not hold its shape if you add too much water.
  • Heat the Oil:
    Using a large deep skillet, put 2 to 3 inches of oil in the pan (more is better) and heat to medium-high. The oil needs to be sizzling hot. To test if the oil is ready, place a small amount of falafel batter in the oil pinch. If the batter sizzles immediately, the oil is ready.
  • Scoop and Cook:
    Scoop out a heaping 2 tablespoons of the mixture, using your hands, and shape it into a ball or small patty. Fry in batches spaced apart for five minutes, and flip the falafel pappy once during the cooking time.
  • Serve:
    Serve hot or at room temperature. See notes for serving ideas.

Notes

Troubleshooting: There are four main reasons why falafel might fall apart when frying:
  1. The mixture is too dry or too wet. If the mixture is too dry, it will not bind together well. If the mixture is too wet, it will be difficult to shape and will likely fall apart in the hot oil. To adjust the consistency of the mixture, add a little water or flour at a time until it is just moist enough to form into balls.
  2. The oil is not hot enough. If the oil is not hot enough, the patties will absorb too much oil and become soggy. Heat the oil to 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit (175-190 degrees Celsius) before frying the falafel balls.
  3. The falafel balls are too big. Large patties are more likely to fall apart than small ones. Aim for each falafel ball to be about the size of a golf ball.
  4. The falafel balls were not rested long enough. Resting the patties for at least 30 minutes before frying will help them hold their shape and prevent them from falling apart.
Here are some additional tips for preventing falafel from falling apart when frying:
  • Use dried chickpeas instead of canned chickpeas. Canned chickpeas are often too soft and mushy for this recipe.
  • Do not overmix the falafel mixture. Overmixing can make the mixture tough and more likely to fall apart.
  • Fry the patties in batches so that they do not overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding the pan will lower the temperature of the oil and make it more difficult for the falafel balls to cook evenly.
  • Flip the only once while frying. Overflipping can cause them to fall apart.
Falafel Serving Ideas
  • Wraps: Fill a pita bread or tortilla with falafel, hummus, tahini, and your favorite vegetables.
  • Bowls: Serve over rice or quinoa with roasted vegetables, hummus, and tahini.
  • Burgers: Bake or grill the falafel balls and serve them on buns with your favorite toppings.
  • Salads: Add falafel balls to your favorite salad for an extra boost of protein and flavor
 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Authentic Lebanese Falafel Recipe (Vegan)
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
140
Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
9
g
14
%
Sodium
 
148
mg
6
%
Carbohydrates
 
12
g
4
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
2
g
2
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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