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My Favorite Falafel Pita with Spicy Tahini Sauce
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My Favorite Falafel Pita with Spicy Tahini Sauce

I had my first falafel sandwich in Israel about 25 years ago.  Let me tell you - it was love at first bite.  Those crunchy garbanzo bean balls, nestled in fresh vegetables and tahini enveloped by a soft warm pita, were irresitable.  Street vendors sold these sandwiches on almost every street corner in Jerusalem and the wafting spicy aroma was a constant temptation while running errands or touring this beautiful city.  I lived in Jerusalem for 6 months and their middle eastern cuisine has remained a constant in my home kitchen.

This is a perfect vegan lunch that will add a little variety and spice to your life.  Enjoy!

Falafel Pita with Spicy Tahini

makes 25 balls

2 cups of dries chickpeas, soaked in water for 12 hours

Crumbs from 2 slices of white bread

5 cloves of garlic 2 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup chopped coriander

1/2 small onion

1 spoon of sesame seeds

1 teaspoon cumin spice

1 teaspoon paprika

Salt, pepper

Oil for deep frying


1. Wash the soaked chickpeas and put them in a food processor with the garlic, onion and spices. Grind until you get a rough moist texture. Add a little water if needed.

2. Move the mixture into a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and put aside, covered, for 30-60 minutes.

3. Warm the oil – it should be hot, not boiling. Add the baking soda to the mixture and knead a little.

4. Wet your hands and shape little balls (smaller then apricots). Fry until you get a deep brown shade. 

5.  Tuck balls into a warm pita with chopped lettuce, tomato and spicy tahini sauce*

*Spicy Tahini Sauce:

2 tbsp tahini

1 teaspoon sriracha

2 tbsp agave

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tbsp of fresh lime juice

4 tbsp water

Whisk all in ingredients together.  Pour into sandwich pocket.

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  1. SnakeWitch
    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I've been wanting to learn how to make falafels at home for a long time. In Canada, restaurants often use lentils - maybe because they don't need to be soaked? Voted! If you have a chance, come by and read my latest piece, Animal-Friendly AND Sexy!
    1. Akanksha
      Lentils definitely need to be soaked for far less time than chickpeas.. I've never tried falafels..but this sounds good :)
      1. SnakeWitch
        Seriously? I'm actually surprised. Not that I think that this is a traditional dish in your country, but falafels are so international now - they sell well in Colombia, one of the very few vegan options available in many cities outside of vegetarian restaurants.
        1. Akanksha
          Yes, never heard of them. Actually Indian cuisine is very different from that of Middle east. I looked up Google to find out if it has a different name in India but it doesn't. There is so much variety in Indian food, it is difficult for anyone to know about all the food that is made in different states. They might be available here and I think I will find them if I look!
    2. Virtually Homemade
      Virtually Homemade
      Lentils would definitely be an interesting twist! Either way so healthy :)
  2. Akanksha
    Akanksha at first bite..lolz :)
    1. Virtually Homemade
      Virtually Homemade
      Definitely try it! so good and a classic middle eastern dish.
  3. Roopam
    I love falafels and falafel sure your trip must have been amazing with all the great Voted!
  4. Veganara
    Voted. Mmmm, they sound delicious! I have heard that it is very easy to be vegan in the Middle East. Is garbanzo beans another name for chick-peas?
    1. Virtually Homemade
      Virtually Homemade
      Yes same thing. Thanks for voting!
  5. kristo
  6. Anita Vegana
    Looks good. Voted!
  7. VeganDozen
    Vote #8! Falafels is one of our family's favorites! We eat them like hamburgers with our Almondaise on top! Actually, we have made lentil patties before and love those as well...
    1. Veganara
      I like the sound of those lentil patties VeganDozen! Can you share the recipe for those?
      1. VeganDozen
        I will post that lentil patty recipe soon!
        1. SnakeWitch
          Lentil patties can be used for hamburgers, too... !
  8. Ron Wrinkle
    Help! Every time I try to make falafel as soon as the balls are put in the oil they fall apart. Very discouraging.
    1. Virtually Homemade
      Virtually Homemade
      Are you soaking the chick peas long enough? You definitely need the moisture to help it bind with the bread. The gluten in the bread should keep it all together - hope that helps :)
      1. SnakeWitch
        Would canned chick peas do the trick? I don't usually recommend them, but if it's easier to do for this recipe, then so be it.
      2. Ron Wrinkle
        My recipe calls for canned. Thanks.
  9. sometimeszen
    So going to try this recipe. My sister says it is hard to make home made falafel, want to try, at least once. There is a restaurant not too far from me that has a good falafel sandwich. Quick question do they need to be totally immersed in the oil or is rolling them over in a pan with less oil okay?
    1. Virtually Homemade
      Virtually Homemade
      Just be sure they are not touching the bottom. They need to be floating in the oil. If they touch the bottom they will stick and break. You can definitely roll them to brown each side.
    2. FlamingDave
      Homemade falafel isn't that hard, and well worth the effort. Haven't tried this recipe yet, but have done many others. I have used soaked chickpeas, canned garbanzos, canned fava beans, chickpea flour instead of breadcrumbs...there are endless variations. I prefer baking my falafels, which is not at all traditional. By spraying or brushing my falafel balls with a little olive oil, and baking in a hot oven (400 deg.) on parchment paper, they come out nicely crispy and not so oily. But this won't work with the soaked dried chickpeas...I think they need the frying to cook deeply enough.


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