The ‘Thanksgiving’ Falafel Recipe


Falafel CloseupI have received a number of requests for this recipe. We made up a batch of these delicious falafel for our Thanksgiving road trip this year.  They were gone by the second dinner stop that evening. For those who are not familiar, falafel has its origins in Egypt with variations found in north Africa, Israel, and Palestine.  Falafel is made from one or more beans.  Arab/Egyptian falafel is made with fava beans, Israeli falafel is made with garbanzo beans (chick peas).  Today in the U.S., falafels can be found using a combination of chick peas, fava beans, or even black beans.  Falafels have become a favorite food of western vegetarians for their protein content.  For me, falafel is a guilty pleasure I am enjoying this holiday season. The recipe I share here is based on an Israeli recipe that only uses chickpeas.

I was first introduced to falafel at the Pita Inn in Skokie, IL many years ago.  (If you ever visit the north shore of Chicago, you must stop at Pita Inn.)  For years, I tried unsuccessfully to make falafel at home from boxed mixes, each time it was a miserable failure.  I was spoiled by Pita Inn.  I recently discovered a recipe that starts from scratch.  With some slight modifications, I got the ‘Thanksgiving’ flavor I was looking for.  Special thanks to Joan Nathan author of Foods of Israel Today for the original recipe.  The link to her original recipe can be found at the end of this post. So here it is, the ‘Thanksgiving Falafel’ recipe. Enjoy!


Looking good, but be careful not to add more than 6 falafel to pan at once. See tips.

  • 1 C.            Dried garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas)
  • ½               Red onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 Tbs.         Finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbs.         Finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp.         Sea salt
  • ¼-½ tsp.    Cayenne pepper powder (start with ¼ tsp, add to taste)
  • ¼ tsp.         Tumeric
  • ¼ tsp.         Hungarian Paprika
  • 1  tsp.         Simply Organic Grilling Seasoning Chicken Seasoning
  • 4                Cloves of fresh garlic (peeled, course chopped)
  • 1 tsp.          Cumin
  • 1 tsp.          Aluminum-free baking powder
  • 4-6 Tbs.      Flour (start with 4 Tbs. see directions)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, enough for at least one inch of oil in a medium frying pan.(2-3 cups)

Directions: (Yield: 20-22 Falafel. Time: 24 hrs. / 45 min. without soak & fridge time)

  • Soak 1 cup of dried garbanzo beans overnight in 3 cups of filtered water.
  • Drain water from beans and rinse in cold water.
  • Add beans to food processor.
  • Add remaining ingredients except flour and baking powder to the food processor.
  • Pulse process mixture on until combined (no visible chick pea kernels present, but not smooth).
  • Put mixture in large bowl.
  • Stir in baking powder by hand.
  • Stir in just enough flour to form patties that do not stick your hand.
  • Check flavor, season to taste.
  • Place in refrigerator for 6-8 hours. (optional)
  • Add just over an inch of olive oil to medium skillet
  • Bring oil to 350 degree F.
  • Gently form falafel patties from a generous tablespoon of mixture. Form, do not ‘press’, into patties.
  • Place up to 7 patties in the heated oil.
  • Cook until golden brown on both sides (2-3 minutes per side).
  • When done, immediately place on paper towels to drain.
  • Add dash of salt and thyme while hot.
  • Check for doneness, a uniform texture inside.
  • Enjoy!


  • Geeks and gear heads only. Had one in the garage. Used it to monitor oil temperature during cooking.  Harbor Freight #93984. $20.

    Oil temperature and quality are critical to the taste and texture of the falafel.  Do not burn or smoke the oil.

  • Let the oil reach temperature before adding falafel. Limit the number of falafel to 7 pieces in the pan at one time. Too many falafel in the pan at once will drop the temperature of the oil too low and result in an oily falafel. I measured the oil temperature with a cheap IR temp gauge I had lying around in the garage.  A culinary temp gauge could work here as well.
  • If you are pressed for time, you can eliminate the overnight soak time by using use canned chickpeas instead of dried beans. Rinse canned beans well with cold water. We prefer the dried beans.


Off The Grid Health Recommends:

  • Frying falafel in a good extra virgin olive oil at 340-350 degree Fahrenheit. Oil quality will impact your flavor and texture. I used Phillip Berrio extra virgin olive oil from Costco for this recipe.
  • Using distilled water to soak beans to preserve flavor, especially if you have high chlorine in your tap water.
  • Replacing garbanzo bean water every 8 hours if you soak at room temperature and soak in refrigerator if you need to soak for more than 24 hours.
  • Trying to make a Falafel Burger from a large pattie!

The original recipe by Joan Nathan including instructions, garnishes, and discussion on Falafel can be found on Epicurious.

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