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Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, aromatic and incredibly delicious are these homemade falafels. Whether served with a salad, with pita bread and a sauce, as a snack between meals or to take with you on the go – falafels are so versatile, healthy and filling. Here I show you how to make falafel yourself, and give tips on how to make the best chickpea balls. For the falafel recipe you need only a few ingredients. The preparation is quick and easy. A detailed vegan falafel recipe with exact quantities and step-by-step instructions can be found below.
What are falafel?
Falafel is a dish from Arabic cuisine. It is prepared from dried chickpeas or beans and has the shape of small, flattened balls. The chickpeas or beans are first soaked in water and then mashed. To this are added chopped onion, garlic, herbs and spices. The pureed mass must then rest for a while before small balls are formed from it and deep-fried.
Can I use cooked or pickled chickpeas for the recipe?
The best falafels are made from dried chickpeas. Then the balls are really crispy on the outside and do not fall apart during frying. You only need to soak the dried chickpeas in plenty of cold water for at least 12 hours beforehand and then drain them well. Alternatively, you can make falafels from pickled or cooked chickpeas. You have to drain them just as thoroughly. Be sure to add some chickpea flour to the pureed chickpea mixture to bind it, otherwise the balls may fall apart when you fry them. However, falafels made from pickled or cooked chickpeas don’t really get crispy and taste less like the original. I recommend you use only dried chickpeas to make your own falafels.
What herbs and spices do I use for homemade falafel?
Usually you make falafels with onions, garlic, parsley, cilantro, pepper and possibly other spices. For the falafel recipe below, I used dried marjoram, cayenne pepper and black pepper in addition to fresh parsley and cilantro. But you can add other herbs or spices to your taste of the chickpea mixture.
Deep fry or bake falafel
You can either pan fry the chickpea balls in plenty of vegetable oil, deep fry them in a deep fryer or bake them in the oven. If you want crispy falafels, you should prefer the pan or deep fryer. This is because they only get a really crispy outer layer after frying or deep frying. If you want to go for a healthier option, then the oven would be the way to go. You should turn the balls after about half of the baking time. However, falafels baked in the oven taste less crispy.
How to make falafel: what can I prepare in advance?
You can prepare the chickpea mixture a day in advance and store it covered in the refrigerator. The next day it will stick together even better, so your balls won’t fall apart. Don’t forget to soak the chickpeas overnight, at least 12 hours beforehand.
Serve vegan falafel
You can serve the falafel in many ways. For example, with lavash bread, salad and a sauce, they pass as a full meal for lunch or dinner. With a dip, such as homemade hummus, they are perfect for snacking between meals or as an appetizer. You can also make your own vegetarian or vegan kebab with the falafels. You can also make a delicious falafel bowl with them. The falafels are also ideal to take with you on the go.
Serve the homemade falafels so:
- with pita bread, vegetables and sauce for lunch or dinner,
- with dips as a snack,
- as an appetizer,
- as a side dish,
- in vegetarian or vegan kebab,
- as a falafel bowl.
The fried chickpea balls are delicious both hot and cold. They taste best fresh, right after frying. The next day, you can simply reheat them in the oven if you want to eat them warm. However, they will taste less crispy by then.
Homemade vs. store-bought falafel
You can buy falafel in almost every supermarket. However, they hardly come close to the taste of homemade falafel. Once you’ve made the little balls yourself, you’ll never want to buy them again. Among other things, you can decide which herbs and spices you want to use in the recipe. Bought falafel often contain unhealthy additives that you can’t use in your food. And because the preparation is a breeze, there’s no reason at all not to make them yourself.
These homemade falafels are
- crispy on the outside, soft on the inside,
- rich in nutrients,
- very versatile to serve,
- perfect to take with you,
- easy and quick to make from a few common ingredients.
How to make falafel: the recipe
You can find the exact quantities and step-by-step instructions to make falafel yourself below in the box recipe.
It is quite easy to make falafel by yourself. You only need a few ingredients for the recipe. These are
- dried chickpeas,
- onion and garlic,
- fresh parsley and cilantro, dried marjoram (or other herbs),
- Cayenne pepper and black pepper (or other spices),
- and vegetable oil for frying.
Make falafel yourself: here’s how
- Wash chickpeas, soak in cold water for at least 12 hours, then drain thoroughly.
- Puree the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro and marjoram to a homogeneous mass, season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Form small, flattened balls from the chickpea mixture and fry in plenty of vegetable oil until golden brown on both sides. Done!
Homemade falafel: with these tips and tricks you’ll make the best chickpea balls
- I recommend using only dried (not cooked or pickled) chickpeas to make your own falafels.
- Be sure to soak chickpeas in plenty of water in a large bowl, as they soak up a lot of it and can double in size. You should soak them for at least 12 hours.
- Drain the chickpeas thoroughly after soaking. Otherwise, your chickpea mixture may become mushy and difficult to form into balls.
- To puree the soaked chickpeas, you’ll need a high-powered blender. If you don’t have one, the best way to puree is with a meat grinder.
- Use any herbs and spices to your taste for the falafel recipe.
- It is important to chill the chickpea mixture for at least 1 hour to allow starch to swell. This will prevent the falafels from falling apart during frying.
- Alternatively, you can prepare falafels in a deep fryer.
- Store the homemade falafels in the refrigerator. They can be kept for about 5 days. You can reheat them in the oven before serving. However, the balls only taste crispy on the outside on the first day directly after preparation.
Have you made vegan falafels yourself using this recipe? I look forward to your result, your star rating and your comment on the recipe below, how they turned out and tasted to you.
- 400 g dried chickpeas
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 bunch coriander
- 1 tsp marjoram
- cayenne pepper
- black pepper
- vegetable oil (for frying)
- Wash chickpeas, soak them in cold water for at least 12 hours and then dry them thoroughly.
- Puree the chickpeas with a powerful blender or with a meat grinder.
- Add chopped onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro and marjoram and blend again until homogeneous, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover the chickpea mixture and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Form small balls of the chickpea mixture and flatten them slightly.
- Fill a deep frying pan generously with vegetable oil (so that the balls are about half covered with oil when frying), heat it over medium heat and fry the chickpea balls in it over medium heat until golden brown on each side.
- It is best to use only dried (not cooked or pickled) chickpeas.
- Soak chickpeas beforehand in plenty of water for at least 12 hours.
- After soaking, be sure to drain the chickpeas thoroughly.
- Puree the soaked chickpeas using a high-powered blender or a meat grinder.
- Use herbs and spices to taste for the recipe.
- Be sure to refrigerate the chickpea mixture for at least 1 hour.
- The soaking and resting time are not included in the preparation time.
- Note the detailed tips and tricks for making vegan falafels yourself at the top of the post.