Crunchy and Healthy: Unveiling the Secrets of Perfect Falafel

Crunchy and Healthy: Unveiling the Secrets of Perfect Falafel

Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish consisting of round or oval-shaped balls made from plant-based ingredients, primarily chickpeas (chickpea flour or whole chickpeas) or chickpea flour, with the addition of spices and herbs. Falafel is typically deep-fried to a golden brown color, giving it a crispy exterior, and can be served as a standalone dish or as a filling for pitas or buns.

What goes into falafel?

The main ingredients used to make falafel include chickpeas, onions, garlic, cilantro (coriander), and parsley, as well as various spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Sometimes, different vegetables like carrots or potatoes are added to falafel for texture and flavor variation.

Falafel is a popular vegetarian and vegan dish as it does not contain any animal products. It is rich in protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals, making it nutritious and beneficial for a healthy diet. The dish is often served with sauces such as tahini (sesame sauce), cucumber sauce, or spicy sauce, along with salad and bread.

Crunchy and Healthy: Unveiling the Secrets of Perfect Falafel

Falafel has numerous variations and can vary across different regions of the Middle East and other countries. It appeals to vegetarians and vegans as well as individuals who simply enjoy its taste and texture.

The Benefits of Falafel

In addition to its delicious and unique flavor, falafel offers several health benefits:

  1. Rich in Protein: Falafel contains chickpeas, which are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Protein is an essential nutrient needed for tissue growth and repair in the body.
  2. Nutrient-Rich: Falafel contains various vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, folate, and vitamin C. These nutrients support normal body functioning, strengthen the immune system, and maintain bone health.
  3. High in Fiber: Falafel is a good source of fiber due to the presence of chickpeas and herbs. Fiber helps maintain a healthy digestive system, reduces cholesterol levels, and promotes a feeling of fullness.
  4. Vegetarian and Vegan Option: Falafel is an excellent choice for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet as it doesn't contain any animal-derived products. It provides protein and other essential nutrients that can be obtained from plant sources.
  5. Versatile Serving Options: Falafel is a versatile dish that can be served in various ways. It can be served in pitas or wraps, added to salads, or accompanied by special sauces like tahini. This allows for taste variation and offers a variety of preparation and presentation options.

It's important to note that the benefits of falafel may vary depending on the ingredients used in its preparation. Recipes may differ, and the nutrient content can depend on the cooking method and added ingredients.

A Classic Falafel Recipe


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4-6 tablespoons chickpea flour or all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Place the dried chickpeas in a bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak overnight. The chickpeas will expand, so make sure to use a large enough bowl and enough water to cover them completely.
  2. Drain the soaked chickpeas and transfer them to a food processor. Add the onion, parsley, cilantro, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, and baking soda. Pulse the mixture until well combined and it forms a coarse texture. Scrape down the sides of the processor as needed.
  3. Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl. Gradually add the chickpea flour (or all-purpose flour) while mixing until the mixture becomes firm enough to hold its shape when formed into balls. The exact amount of flour needed may vary, so start with 4 tablespoons and add more if necessary.
  4. Cover the falafel mixture and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight. Chilling will help the mixture firm up and make it easier to shape into balls.
  5. Heat vegetable oil in a deep pot or skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, shape the falafel mixture into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter, using your hands or a falafel scoop.
  6. Carefully drop the falafel balls into the hot oil, frying them in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. Fry until they turn golden brown and crispy on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per batch. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked falafel from the oil and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  7. Serve the falafel hot as a standalone dish, stuffed into pita bread with tahini sauce and vegetables, or on top of a salad.

Enjoy your homemade classic falafel!