I love falafel, but they have to be done right! I’m talking about crispy on the outside, soft and almost crumbly on the inside, and they have to be packed with lots of herbs! To achieve all of those things you have to start with dry chickpeas. I know, I know, you’re thinking that’s way too much work. But, it’s really not! Once you soak them overnight you don’t have to boil and cook them, you just continue making the falafel like you would if you used a can of cooked chickpeas. See? That’s not so bad. The taste and texture are definitely worth the for thought!
Another cool tip about this recipe is there's zero flour! Most falafels have it to help bind. But, if you let your falafel mixture sit for 15 minutes it will build enough of its own starch to be gluten free!
I like to put my falafels on top of Greek salads, which is why I’ve included a tahini dressing recipe! It’s super delicious, but the trick to using it on a salad is to also dress your salad with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar. The tahini is creamy and a little thicker and it works really well as a combo!
Falafel Salad with Tahini Dressing
Yield: 10 falafels + tahini dressing for two salads
- ¼ pound, ½ heaping cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
- ½ cup cilantro, stem and all
- ½ cup parsley, stem and all
- ¼ cup mint leaves
- ½ a medium onion, quartered
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp coriander seed
- 1 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
- 2 to 3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
For Lemon Tahini Dressing:
- 2 tablespoon tahini
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 tablespoon lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch chili powder
- 4 cups Arugula
- 1 mini cucumber, sliced
- ¼ cup red onion, sliced
- 1 beef steak tomatoes, cut in wedges
- 8 Greek style olives
- ¼ cup feta, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 6 basil leaves
1. Rinse the chickpeas and submerge them in cold water overnight at room temperature. Make sure to leave enough space for the chickpeas to expand over triple their size.
2. The next day, drain chickpeas and pat dry. Place the dry chickpeas in a food processor with cilantro, parsley, mint, onion, garlic, cumin, and coriander seeds. Pulse until the mixture looks like a coarse mill but sticks together when pressed into a ball.
3. Transfer the falafel mixture into a bowl, cover and let sit in the fridge for 15 minutes. This step is what builds extra starch allowing us to not use flour.
4. While the falafel mixture rests, prepare the dressing and salad so you can eat the falafels while they are hot and fresh from the fryer. Whisk the tahini, garlic clove, lemon juice, lemon zest in a medium bowl. The mixture should start to seize. (This is supposed to happen!) Whisk lukewarm water into the mixture until it becomes a pourable consistency. Add a pinch of cayenne + salt. Set aside.
5. In two salad bowls layer arugula, cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, olives, and feta. Set aside.
6. Once the falafel mixture has sat for 15 minutes, using either a tablespoon or a cookie scoop, make a heaping tablespoon sized falafel balls and place on a piece of wax paper.
7. If pan frying, fill a cast-iron or Dutch oven with 3/4” vegetable oil and heat to 375F.
8. Once the oil is to temperature, place one layer of falafels down, leaving enough space between each one to allow for oil flow and heat distribution, about 1” around. Once the bottom is nicely browned, about 4 minutes, flip and brown the top.
9. Carefully remove crispy, golden brown falafels onto a paper lined plate or baking dish. Sprinkle with salt.
10. Top salads with falafel, drizzle with tahini dressing, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and fresh basil.