Falafel Me Delicious

By Jaclyn

I first had falafel when I was 18 or so, in a tiny hole-in-the-wall Lebanese dive in Gainesville, Florida that served it up hot to order alongside the best french fries I've ever had. The combination of spicy hot falafel, creamy tahini dressing, and bright, crunchy veggies sang on my tongue. I was visiting the city in bad company, but the falafel--the falafel made it all worth it.

Of course, traditional deep-fried falafel doesn't meet my bottom line. It enlarges my bottom line. Or something.

Er, moving on.

This lower fat falafel recipe uses whole wheat flour instead of white to bind the dough and is browned quickly on the stovetop, then transferred to a hot oven to bake off, and is wrapped up in a whole wheat pita.

I made it with a throw-together Israeli salad and some tahini dressing. It would also be great with a tzatziki, which I would have made if I hadn't accidentally killed all the fresh dill in my garden.


I adapted this recipe from Eunice, who made it after I suggested, via Twitter, trying it out in her new food processor. Then I saw her pictures and decided that I needed to make my own. Go, social networking!

For the falafel, you'll need:
1 cup of canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (I didn't have this and neither did Publix. FML)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin (which makes life worth living)
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons of canola oil
mini whole wheat pita bread

For the Israeli salad:

1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 medium cucumber, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 tsp olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

For the tahini dressing:

1 tbsp tahini puree. It's expensive, but very worth it. I use it when I make homemade hummus all the time.
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp plain Greek yogurt or reduced fat sour cream. I used sour cream because that's what I have.
1-2 tbsp warm water, depending on how thin you want your dressing
Salt and pepper to taste


  • Place chickpeas and onions in food processor. Add parsley, cilantro, salt, crushed red pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed. If you're like me, be lazy and use your mini prep processor instead of the big pain in the ass one, then give yourself more work to do because it won't all fit in the mini. Hate yourself.
  • Sprinkle in the baking powder and flour and pulse. Place the mixture in a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours. Or, like, 45 minutes, if you're impatient and hungry. It'll be fine.
  • Form the chickpea mixture into patties about 2-3″ in diameter. The thinner your patties, the more crunch you'll get. Trust me. Especially if you were impatient and didn't let your mixture chill for a long time.
  • Preheat oven to 400°. Heat oil in a frying pan and lightly brown the falafel on both sides, then put them on a baking sheet and bake for about 15-18 minutes.
While all that is happening, toss the ingredients for the Israeli salad together in a bowl, and whisk the ingredients for the tahini dressing with a fork.

When your falafels are done, put 3-4 patties in a warm whole wheat pita, spoon some Israeli salad in the pita, and top the whole thing off with a drizzle of the tahini dressing.

Oh, did you happen to notice my little side of fries? Yes, those are baked too. I just sliced a very small Russet potato into wedges, tossed it in a bit of olive oil, with salt, pepper, and parsley, and baked them off while my falafel baked. I dipped them in the leftover tahini dressing.

This is a nutritious, filling lunch or dinner, reminiscent of the deep-fried stuff, but it's much lower in fat than your normal falafel and fries, and it really satisfies the craving. Eat it up!

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