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Truly Authentic Falafel

Truly Authentic Falafel recipe || @thismessisours #glutenfree #vegan

***Updated with new images 5/12/2017 ****

If you were to come to my house for dinner, chances are I would offer to make you an amazing falafel dinner. It’s one of my favorite meals to make! I would make homemade hummus with my own tahini, I would throw down a basket of gluten free naan, and we would slather it with tzatziki before loading it up with grilled veggies, and crispy falafel. We would eat our weight in falafel and probably want to take a nap afterwards…seriously, it happens.

Up until a few months ago I really thought I had falafel nailed down. That was of course until I read that real deal authentic falafel is made in a meat grinder. WHAT?! Honestly, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. With a primarily vegetarian household I tend to shy away from things like meat grinders, because seriously why would I ever buy one? Turns out after a lot of research that this $30 gadget is actually great for a lot of things other than making ground meat. Who knew?

Truly Authentic Falafel recipe || @thismessisours #glutenfree #vegan

You can grind soaked chickpeas, herbs, and spices for falafel, you can makes salsa, grind hominy for tamales, even make fruit purees. Since Christmas was around the corner I asked for one. I am pretty sure that Todd thought I had LOST my mind, but being the super supportive husband that he is he went along with my whim. I made falafel the first opportunity I had and all I can say is WHOA! It’s a whole new ballgame around here and my falafel making game is officially on point.

Now, I am not telling you that you have to have a meat grinder to make this falafel, but the texture is light and airy as opposed to being more dense and compact when you make falafel with a food processor. It is a world of difference in texture, both are amazing in flavor, and either way your family and friends will rave about your amazing falafel to everyone they know. However, if you are a true falfel snob like my family tends to be, a meat grinder is the way to go. It’s a super small investment for a lifetime of amazing falafel.

Also – an added bonus that works no matter how you choose to make your falafel: This recipe makes a lot of falafel, but it freezes great! Form the falafel into balls or patties, freeze it on a sheet pan before transferring to a plastic zip bag for long term storage. The falafel can go straight into the hot oil from the freezer without a problem. Just add another minute or so to the cook time. Perfect golden falafel!

Rosemary Lamb Kofta and Falafel Feast for Father's Day recipe || We have multiple dietary preferences gathering around our Father's Day table this year , so the menu will appease them all! Rosemary lamb kofta for the meat eaters and fresh homemade falafel for our vegetarians. || @thismessisours @surperiorfarms #FathersDay #glutenfree

Looking for a meaty main dish to turn your falafel fest into a full on feast? Check out our Rosemary Lamb Kofta recipe by clicking here. 

4.9 from 7 reviews
Authentic Falafel
Author: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1½ teaspoons Kosher salt, plus more for seasoning after cooking
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • grape seed oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Place chickpeas in a large bowl and fill with water to cover them to a depth of 3 inches. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave on counter for 24 hours. The chickpeas will triple in size and absorb quite a bit of the water so check a few times during soaking to see if you need to add more water.Once the beans have soaked for 24 hours, drain and rinse well.
  2. Place the cumin and coriander seeds in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet and set over medium high heat. Cook, shaking the pan frequently, until the seeds give off an aroma and just begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the toasted spices to a spice grinder and process until finely ground. Set aside.
  3. Place the drained chickpeas, ground spices, garlic, onion, cilantro, and parsley into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine then feed through the meat grinder in small batches until everything has been ground.
  4. Mix the lemon zest, cayenne, salt, and black pepper into the ground chickpeas then roll a small amount of the mixture into a walnut sized ball or a small patty with your hands. The mixture should hold together nicely and not fall apart.
  5. Continue rolling the rest of the batter into uniform size balls or patties so that they will cook in the same amount of time. I used a small ice cream scoop and had falafels that were about the size of golf balls. Place the uncooked falafel on a large plate or baking sheet until ready to cook.
  6. Pour oil in a Dutch oven or a large, high-sided skillet to a depth of 2-3 inches, enough to cover the falafel. Place a thermometer into the oil and heat over med-high heat until the temperature reaches 360° - 375° F.
  7. While the oil is heating place a flattened paper grocery bag onto a baking sheet and cover with a few clean paper towels. This will help to collect the oil as it drains off of your falafel.
  8. When the oil is to temp fry a test falafel. The oil should bubble up and sizzle all around it. The falafel itself should stay together in one piece and not break apart at all. It should take 2 - 3 minutes to fry to a beautiful golden brown. If your falafel is not completely submerged flip and cook the other side until it’s nice and browned all over. Remove the cooked falafel from the oil and drain on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt while the falafel is still hot. Fry the remaining falafel in batches, being careful to not over crowd the pan and drop the temp of the oil.
 

Comments

  1. I want to come to your house for dinner! That sounds like quite the meal. I have a meat grinder (that has been used once) and I’ve never thought to make falafels in it – thanks for the awesome recipe inspiration!

  2. Wow these look wonderful! I am honestly tempted to make these, but I’m thinking about how it will sound, “hubby, can we purchase a meat grinder?” Lol. Love it and great post!

  3. Haleene

    I have a Ninja and use that to grind meat, I get better hamburger cuts to make hamburger with, but I love all forms of food. Just saying if you have the more powerful blenders, you don’t need a meat grinder.
    These look great! Will be trying it out very soon.

  4. Lyn Ette Lyons

    I made this but made it with adding some water and making it the consistency of waffle batter and heavily sprayed a hot waffle iron with olive oil cooking spray

    and let it heat up and then poured the batter in the waffle iron and let it cook until done and crispy. I then spread the waffle with hummus and topped with my favorite greens, sliced cucumbers ,radishes ,red onions,boiled egg chopped,tomatoes (what ever you like on a salad) grated parmesan cheese or feta and your favorite dressing(MINE IS TZATZIKI) salt and pepper and enjoy!!! It is so good!! Usually I do only a half a waffle it is so filling. I make them and freeze them in the freezer and pull them out and toast them when ever I want . Try it I am sure you to will love it!!!

  5. NL

    I tried this recipe but with canned chickpeas, but they were falling apart.
    Does it make a big difference to use dried chickpeas ?

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and your helpful hints! We made this recipe along with your gluten-free naan and tzatziki sauce. I purchased the hummus and tahini 🙂 My family loved every morsel of our dinner… and they are not vegetarian or gluten -free like I am. I have an old meat grinder that was my Grandmother’s. I had never used it. It must have been too old or the attachments were not suited for we couldn’t get the mixture through the wholes. Plan B – I used my Green Power Juicer with the grinder attachment. It worked wonderfully and gave us a great texture. Thank you again! We all give this recipe a 5 star rating and it will definitely become one of our favorite meals! Thank you!

  7. Candace

    Wow! Simply wonderful! Made these tonight and my family devoured them. Will be making again for sure! Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Zoë B

    Wow, just tried making these for the first time and oh my goodness are they worth the effort!!! It did take me about 2 hours all together but I think that was due to the age of the meat grinder (which I was almost going to throw out the other day – so glad I didn’t!) This is going to have to be the way I always make falafel now. Thanks so much for your post!

    • Agreed, it is a bit of a time investment, but so worth it! This makes so much falafel I like to freeze have the falafels and fry them later which makes for a much quicker dinner the second time around. I picked up a meat grinder attachment for my Kitchenaid stand mixer for about $50 and it makes the process so much faster.

  9. Yatin P

    Tried a few times to make the perfect falafel but couldn’t. Finally stumbled upon this and it is the bomb. Thanks Meg. Better than buying the store falafel mix or the store bought veggie patties.

    Thanks.

    Yat.

    Follow me on Instagram #TheFoodieDad

  10. Molly McDonald

    Hi! I don’t own a meat grinder. Is there something else I can use *crossing fingers*? This sounds amazing and I’ve wanting to try making my own falafel!

  11. Molly

    I did not notice that your recipe called for cumin seeds and coriander seeds, so I bought the ground, how much of each would I use?

    • Hey Molly, no worries. I would probably still use about the same amount, 1 teaspoon for each. Don’t skip toasting the ground spices though it really brings out the flavor of the spice, just be careful they don’t burn.

  12. Emma

    These falafels are amazing. We had some problems with them falling apart so we used a bit of egg and flour in the mix to hold them together. Other than that, it’s a fool proof recipe which has quickly become a family favourite!

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ABOUT MEG

Meg van der Kruik is the writer, mother, photographer, designer, cook and creative spirit behind This Mess is Ours. After her infant son was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, she dedicated herself to learning to make meals the whole family would love. It’s a bit of a mess – cooking for a vegetarian and three meat-eaters with a range of gluten + dairy sensitivities, but she manages to bring them together every night around their little family table.