By Cat, Aug 2010 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)


Falafel are a vegetarian ‘meat’ ball, and can be deep fried or baked. I love them served on top of a salad of greens and spinach with other garden veggies, but there are many other ways to serve them as well.

Chickpea (garbanzo) falafel are better known in the US, but they can also be made with fava beans, as in this recipe, which uses both.

  • Includes: 1.  Falafel  (Garbanzo/Chickpea), Version I; 2. Falafel  (Garbanzo/Chickpea), Version II; 3. Fava-Falafel; 4. Falafel in Pita Sandwich (included in Serving Suggestions)
  • See also: 1. Fava Beans (About); 2. Pita (Middle Eastern Flatbread)

Falafel – I (Chick Pea Patties)

Of course, you can purchase falafel mix, but it is far more healthful to make it from freshly sprouted chick peas (garbanzos), or favas (below).  This recipe is adapted from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, PhD (1).  See also below for a slightly different recipe.

You must start this the morning before the day you plan to cook the falafel, as two 12-hour soaks are required to sprout the chick peas. Do not boil the beans to cook them after sprouting, or your falafel will not hold together when cooking.

The instructions are written to use a food processor, but you could use a mortar & pestle.  However, most mortars are quite small, so instead of dividing the ingredients into two batches, you might need to divide into 4 or more batches.

I’m not sure what the baking powder is for, as these will not rise. Perhaps it is to neutralize the acid used for sprouting/soaking the chickpeas.

I don’t believe a blender would work; in my experience, it doesn’t work too well with ‘dry’ ingredients (works best when a liquid is added, and there is no liquid in this mix).

The original recipe serves 8, but I’ve cut it down to serve 4.

See Dede Med.com (4) for a video recipe of making falafel, or a different Dede Med falafel video (without the recipe) (5)). Dede uses a combo of chick peas and fava beans, both of which are high in protein, but she doesn’t sprout them. Instead, she just gives them an overnight soak. I would advise sprouting them as in my recipe, before picking up with Dede’s recipe with chopping the beans.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Sprout chick peas:
  • 1 cup chick peas (garbanzos)
  • filtered water
  • 2 Tbsp liquid whey or lemon juice, divided portions
  • Make Falafel:
  • 2 cups parsley leaves, loosely packed (or mix of parsley, cilantro and/or mint)
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • ½ tsp ground cumin, or to taste
  • ½ tsp ground coriander, or to taste
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne (optional)
  • ½ tsp baking powder (non-aluminum)
  • about ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (or home-rendered lard)
  • large bowl
  • pot for boiling water
  • food processor, or mortar & pestle
  • large cast iron pan


  1. Sprouting: Bring pot of water to a boil and pour over chick peas in large bowl, to cover.  Stir in 1 Tbsp whey or lemon juice.  Leave in warm place for 12 hours.
  2. Drain off water and add more boiling water,  to cover.  Add remaining 1 Tbsp whey or lemon juice. Leave in warm place for 12 hours.
  3. Falafel: These are made in batches, then combined.
  4. Pulse 1 cup parsley (or herb mix) in food processor until chopped.  Add half of the sprouted chick peas, and half of all remaining ingredients (except olive oil/lard).  Pulse until reduced to a coarse paste.  Should be finely ground enough to hold together, but not entirely smooth.
  5. Repeat with remaining half of chick peas and other ingredients.  Mix batches together, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  6. Form into 12 patties.
  7. Heat olive oil or lard in skillet.  Cook patties in hot oil, then drain on towels.

Falafel – II (Chick Pea Patties)

Here’s an another recipe with slightly different ingredients, adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, originally by Tony Rosenfeld (2). This version doesn’t fry the falafel but rather browns them in a bit of oil then bakes them until done.

It also calls for breadcrumbs. If you are avoiding gluten, you could try steaning quinoa, then roasting it dry and grinding into a fine texture. Or use the above recipe which doesn’t call for crumbs. If you are just avoiding wheat, try making crumbs from my wheat-free Irish soda bread (made with pre-soaked spelt, barley, rye or oat).

This doesn’t contain any herbs (except onion), but you could certainly add herbs as in the above recipe.

I don’t believe a blender would work; in my experience, it doesn’t work too well with ‘dry’ ingredients (works best when a liquid is added, and there is no liquid in this mix). So if you don’t have a food processor, you will need a mortar and pestle to grind the old fashioned way.

Makes 12 falafel to serve 4.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Sprout chick peas:
  • 15 oz sprouted chick peas (garbanzos) – not sure how much dry beans; 1 lb dry beans make 4 – 5 cups, but sprouted beans weigh differently than dry beans
  • Make Falafel:
  • 7 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup plain, fine dry breadcrumbs; more as needed
  • bowl/jar for sprouting chickpeas
  • food processor
  • food processor, or mortar & pestle
  • large cast iron pan
  • baking sheet


  1. Sprouting: See previous recipe for instructions.
  2. Falafel: These are made in batches, then combined.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  4. Pulse chickpeas, 2 Tbsp of the oil, spices, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper into chunky paste.
  5. Dice onion and grind breadcrumbs, then add to the chickpeas and pulse until the mixture tightens up.
  6. Form into 12 ea ½” thick patties, adding more breadcrumbs as needed.
  7. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in cast iron pan over medium heat. Add half of the patties and cook until nicely browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet.
  8. Repeat with 2 Tbsp more oil and remaining patties.
  9. Bake in preheated oven until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Assembly or Serving ideas


This recipe is adapted from Chef In You blog (3). It uses both chickpeas (garbanzos) and fava beans. Of course, they can be made with just the chickpeas (above), but the favas add additional nutrients and a slightly different flavor.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • ½ cup chickpeas, soaked overnight or sprouted
  • 1 ½ cup fresh fava beans, shelled
  • 1 onion
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • few sprigs cilantro
  • 4 – 5 leaves mint
  • 2 – 3 green chiles (or to taste)
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds


  1. Soak chickpeas at least overnight, or sprout them over 2 – 3 days. Drain.
  2. Shell favas and remove outer shell by steaming (see above).
  3. Chop onion coarsely
  4. Grind chickpeas and favas into a paste with the onion, garlic, herbs to a coarse paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add sesame seeds and stir.
  5. Form into balls and deep fry or bake.
  6. To bake: Slightly flatten balls and place on oiled baking pan. Drizzle some oil on top. Bake at 350 F about 20 minutes each side, until brown.

Assembly or Serving ideas

  • Serve with yogurt dip/sauce.
  • Falafel in Pita Sandwich: Slice and make into pita sandwiches with tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced red onion, and yogurt dip/sauce. Experiment with other veggies in the sandwich.


  1. Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, PhD (1)
  2. Fine Cooking.com recipe, originally by Tony Rosenfeld (finecooking.com/recipes/falafel-sandwich-tomato-cucumber-salad.aspx)
  3.  Chef In You blog recipe (chefinyou.com/2008/07/falafel)
  4. Dede Med.com falafel recipe video (dedemed.com/mediterranean/falafel-recipe)
  5. Fast, Easy falafel video by Dede Med (youtube.com/watch?v=pKkwir4WqR0)

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