Healthy recipe: Falafel

Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food which can be served as a snack, or as part of a larger meal. It is a healthy vegetarian meal, comprised mostly of chickpeas, and full of fiber and protein. Falafel can be served on its own, but is also often served in pita bread or wrapped in flat bread with salads and sauces, usually with tahini or hot sauce. Yum…

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Makes approx 30


1 pound (about 2 cups) dry chickpeas

1 small brown onion, roughly chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

4 cloves garlic

1 1/2 tbsp flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Pinch of ground cardamom

Vegetable oil for frying

Hummus or tahini to serve


  1. Put dry chickpeas into a large bowl, cover in water and soak overnight. Drain the next day when ready to continue with recipe.
  2. Pour the chickpeas into your food processor along with the chopped onion, garlic cloves, parsley, flour, salt, cumin, ground coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cardamom. Blend mixture, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as required. Continue until you achieve a coarse paste.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, mixing through with a fork. Remove any large chickpea chunks. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  4. Fill a skillet with vegetable oil (roughly 1 1/2 inches deep), heat over medium heat. Using wet hands or an ice-cream scoop (there is a special falafel scoop, if you have one), mould the mixture into balls. Before shaping and frying the whole batch, do a test one first. If the balls don’t stick together, put the mixture back into the blender and blend a bit longer.
  5. To fry, place falafel in oil and cook until brown on each side, rotating when needed. It should take 2-3 minutes to brown the falafel on each side. If it browns a lot quicker than this, your oil is too hot and the falafel may not cook through to the center. When you have it right, you can cook more than one falafel at a time.
  6. Once they are cooked, remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to remove some of the excess oil.
  7. Serve while hot – but not too hot! – with hummus or tahini.