Tag Archives: falafel

Meatless Monday: Homemade Falafels

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (3 of 7)

I’ve totally been MIA. Cooking? Yes, totally. Sporadically, but yes. This last post sort of demonstrates the immediate busyness we generally find ourselves in come September.  My food photography is frequently overrun by kids’ activity photos.

Sometimes I feel like I’m complaining. The never ending cleaning is overwhelming and the constant go-go-go gets wearing. But the truth is I don’t mind on one hand. I really suck at meal planning, but the craziness of keeping up with everyone sort of lends itself to having to learn better techniques of such things.

The following recipe is one that can serve as multiple meals (another plus in the overly-busy-lifestyle). These falafels are great on their own, served with hummus or other tahini-based sauces. They also make great sandwiches or protein for a hefty salad. Delicious hot or cold, that also makes leftovers easy to deal with!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (7 of 7)

Homemade Falafels

Yields about 30 falafel balls

1 pound dry garbanzo beans [chickpeas]
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
5 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
small pinch of ground cardamom
vegetable oil for frying

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (5 of 7)


Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them by about 3 inches of cold water. Let them soak overnight.

Drain, then rinse the garbanzo beans. Pour them into your food processor along with the chopped onion, parsley, cloves of garlic, flour, salt, cumin, coriander, pepper, and cardamom.

Pulse all ingredients together until a coarse meal forms. Scrape the sides of the food processor as needed, pushing the mixture down the sides. Process the mixture until a slightly coarse paste forms. You want the mixture to hold together, but don’t overprocess, so you don’t end up with hummus! Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (2 of 7)

Fill a deep skillet with vegetable oil to a depth of about 1 1/2 inches. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat. Meanwhile, form the falafel mixture into round balls or slider-shaped patties using your hands (about two tablespoons of mixture per falafel). You can make them smaller or larger depending on your personal preference.

Test one ball to make sure your oil is hot enough. At the correct temperature, it should take 2-3 minutes per side to brown. If it browns faster than that, your oil is too hot and your falafels will not be fully cooked in the center. Cool the oil down slightly and try again. When the oil is at the right temperature, fry the falafel balls in batches of 5-6 at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Let the cooked falafels drain on paper towels.

Serve the falafels fresh and hot. My preference is with pita bread, homemade hummus, tzatziki sauce, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese! :)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (6 of 7)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (4 of 7)


I know, its been weeks. Things have been busy. It’s May. My days consist of: sleeping when possible; drinking too much coffee; building lego castles; hiding in bedroom forts; doing mass mountains of laundry; running in the park; tee ball games; hanging upside-down from the monkey bars; pulling up crabgrass to enable pooper-scooper duty (dootie?); cooking a lot but forgetting to take photos until everything’s demolished; catching flies for our two newest family additions (pacific tree frogs); trying to answer every “Juuuuulie! I neeeed yoooou!” patiently, without sounding too worn out or grumpy. It has been fantastic. We’ve finally had some sunshine, which essentially means as much time outdoors as possible, and as little staring at the magic glow of a computer screen time as possible. I’ve tried to figure out where my days go, but it’s a lost cause. We had the 5½ year old for an extra week or so… which essentially means my hours of functionality are different from the weeks we don’t have kids in the house. 7AM to 9PM is full, which leaves 10 hours to fill with blog-things, dishes, hungry puppies, laundry mountains, much needed quiet time filled with NOTHING… and sleep. Blog things aren’t at the top of my list, apparently.

However, no matter how busy our schedules, we have to eat, right? Right. These falafels are pretty easy and very delicious. We ate them rolled up in flatbread, with tzatziki sauce, cucumber-tomato-mint salad, feta, romaine lettuce, tahini, and sirracha sauce. I could’ve easily forgone the bread and ate a bed of greens/salad with the falafel balls on top… along with the tzatziki, which is my new favorite sauce… ever.

There’s a spot in San Francisco that my Mister swears has the utmost to-die-for falafel you can order on the West Coast. A tiny hole-in-the-wall spot. Truly Mediterranean in the Mission (16th St. at Valencia). While I don’t remember too much about our falafel (except that I didn’t care for the eggplant that was added into it), I do remember the falafel balls themselves being remarkably delicious… and seeing a big bowl of bright green falafel balls ready to be fried into crispy goodness, behind the counter. At the time I didn’t realize the inside of a falafel ball that hasn’t been previously frozen or come from a mysterious boxed mix containing only light brown powder, is in fact green.

From that point on, I’ve had a very strange fascination with making homemade falafels containing these crisp, still tender, rounds… that when bitten into, are not dull brown, but a vibrant green screaming that there are delicious herbs hiding inside of them! (Seriously.)



2 cups dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
3 tbsp. parsley, chopped
3 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
3 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1½ tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
sunflower / peanut / canola oil for frying


Preheat the oven to 200ºF.

In the bowl of your food processor (or high-powered blender) fitted with a large cutting blade, combine all the ingredients except for the oil being used to fry the falafel balls.

Pulse the mixture until all the ingredients are well combined and come together like a sticky dough.

Using your hands, roll the dough out into 1” rounds (about the size of a golf ball).

Heat enough oil in a 9-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, so when the balls placed in the pan are almost completely submerged.

Fry until lightly browned, then turn over and brown the other side. Once browned, remove the falafel from the oil and allow it to drain on paper towels for a few minutes, to get rid of excess oil. Place the falafels into the oven while you cook the remaining balls.

Serve immediately after all the falafels are cooked, with tzatziki, cucumber salad, romaine lettuce, feta, hummus, flatbread, tahini, etc. (Whatever sounds good to YOU!)

* * Recipe for tzatziki sauce and cucumber-tomato-mint salad to follow soon.