Falafel (vegan)

By Shiran

These classic falafel balls are a delicious alternative to meat. The base ingredient is chickpeas, making them a satisfying option suitable for vegans.

Amazing Falafel

One of my favorite Israeli street foods is falafel. There are many great spots for it—way too many to be honest—but none of them taste quite like my mom’s homemade falafel. The recipe I’m sharing today is one of her oldest ones, with its age showing just how good it is.

Since it’s a family favorite, she tends to surprise us when making it, and I can smell it long before reaching the doorstep. And when she does make it, it always comes with the full package: fresh pita from the bakery and homemade salads, French fries, and tahini.

Amazing Falafel

Make sure to prepare ahead because you need to soak uncooked chickpeas in cold water for about 12 hours.

If the falafel falls apart during frying, that usually means the mixture is too wet (which is easy enough to fix with more flour) or too dry. Alternatively, your oil may not be hot enough.

A common way to eat falafel in Israel is to stuff it into a pita and add hummus or tahini, tomato cucumber salad, or French fries. It’s so freakin’ delicious!

 

Falafel (vegan)
Yields: : about 25 balls (depending on size)
 

These classic falafel balls are a delicious alternative to meat. The base ingredient is chickpeas, making them a satisfying option suitable for vegans.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chickpeas (uncooked), rinsed twice
  • A slice of white bread, crust removed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or more, as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon salt (or more, as needed)
  • A few turns of black pepper
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

Instructions
  1. Place chickpeas in a large bowl and fill with cold water until they’re covered. Let soak overnight or for 12 hours, then drain well.
  2. Move chickpeas to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until ground.
  3. Take the slice of bread, soak it in water, then squeeze out the excess. Crumble it into pieces in the food processor. Add all remaining ingredients and process until mixture is combined but slightly granular.
  4. Form mixture into balls, about the size of a walnut (they’ll expand during frying).
  5. Frying: In a large, deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2-3 in./5-7 cm of oil. To test if the oil is hot enough, insert a thermometer into the oil and see if it reaches 375F/190C. If you don’t have a thermometer to test, insert a wooden spoon into the oil; it’s ready for frying when bubbles appear around the stick. If it bubbles vigorously, it’s too hot. Carefully add falafel balls, a few at a time, depending on how large the saucepan is. If falafel falls apart, you may need to add more flour to a too-wet mixture, or turn up the heat. Fry until golden brown, a few minutes on each side. Drain and move to a paper towel-lined plate.

Notes
* Soaked bread is the secret to these amazing falafel because it acts as a binder and makes them soft and tender. Soak a slice of bread in water to soften it, then squeeze out the water, crumble into large pieces, and add to the mixture. Fresh or day-old bread is fine.

 

6 Comments on Falafel (vegan)

  1. Aimee / Wallflower Kitchen
    March 22, 2016 at 5:14 pm (12 months ago)

    Falafel is one of my favourite things in life. That’s good enough reason to visit Tel Aviv, right there! I rarely get round to make it though, which is crazy since I love it so much. I’ve pinned this recipe to remind me to make some soon…

    Reply
    • Shiran
      March 22, 2016 at 5:31 pm (12 months ago)

      Please come visit Aimee! The food here is amazing!

      Reply
  2. Karen
    October 23, 2016 at 4:55 pm (5 months ago)

    Looks delicious! What is the red sauce you are serving it with here?

    Reply
    • Shiran
      October 25, 2016 at 8:07 am (5 months ago)

      Hi Karen, it’s a tomato sauce called matbucha. It’s delicious!

      Reply
      • Karen
        November 15, 2016 at 6:09 pm (4 months ago)

        Thanks so much for your response shiran! Do you make it yourself? Would love to know the recipe if you ever get around to it! Also what is the other sauce? Does it have a name? I’m assuming tahini or garlic based? All the best! Love your blog 🙂

        Reply
        • Shiran
          November 20, 2016 at 11:01 am (4 months ago)

          I usually buy it, it can easily be found in supermarkets in Israel 🙂 There are many recipes online though, so maybe just try one! The other sauce is tahini/hummus, both go great with falafel.

          Reply

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