My falafel burger is two crispy chickpea patties, tzatziki sauce, cheese, tomatoes, cukes, onions, sprouts, and hummus on a brioche bun. It’s a delicious meatless mouthful that’s so much healthier than a fast food burger.
a falafel burger is the perfect veggie burger
Did you know that McDonald’s sells different varieties of vegan and vegetarian burgers in many countries? The McFalafel has been available in various locations worldwide for years, but not here in the States. Since I can’t drive through and grab a McFalafel I thought I’d make my own, which is usually a much better idea, anyway. My burger is better, anyway, since everything is fresh and I’ve perfected the falafel patty to maximize crispness and minimize the dreaded gummy texture so many veggie burgers suffer from (see details below.)
what you’ll need
- a batch of falafel mix ~ You can make your own falafel, or buy the mix already prepared in some stores.
- olive oil ~ just a smidge for frying your burgers.
- tomato ~ thinly sliced.
- red onion ~ thinly sliced.
- cucumber ~ thin slices.
- hummus ~ I smear the top bun with it. Make your own hummus or use store bought.
- tzatziki sauce ~ it’s a refreshing yogurt and cucumber sauce that I slather on the bottom bun. Make your own tzatziki or use store bought.
- cheese ~ leave off for vegan, I used pepper jack.
- burger bun ~ a soft not-too-ginormous bun that won’t overwhelm your crispy falafel patties. Mine is a soft brioche. Could you use a pita pocket? Sure!
what makes my falafel burger the best
Google ‘falafel burger’ and 9 times out of 10 what you’ll see are big fat burger patties trying to emulate a big juicy beef burger. But guess what? That’s exactly what you don’t want with most veggie burgers! A big fat veggie burger will tend to be dry, crumbly, and unappetizing.
I purposely make my burger patties nice and thin, almost like a smash burger. That means there’s proportionately more surface area to crisp up which means a better ‘burger’ experience. I like to layer 2 patties together.
- Use a standard ice cream scoop to portion out your falafel mix for extra thin patties. You can use a 1/2 cup measure for slightly thicker burgers. Roll the mix into a ball gently with your hands.
- Place the ball between 2 sheets of parchment or waxed paper and flatten slightly, then, with with a heavy flat object like a cast iron skillet (or you can even use a tortilla press) flatten the burger into a thin round.
- Keep the patties chilled until you’re ready to fry, and be extra careful when handling them, they will be delicate!
- Coat the bottom of a non stick skillet with olive oil and heat to hot. Carefully place the patties in the hot pan and fry until brown and crisp on the first side.
- Very carefully flip the burgers to crisp on the second side.
- Have all your toppings ready to go so you can serve the burgers hot.
Falafel is a Middle Eastern street food often served in pita bread. It’s made with soaked chickepeas that are ground with spices and herbs, then deep fried in balls or patties.
Falafel, when made right, has a mildly spiced herbal flavor. Coriander and cumin are the dominant spices, with the brightness of cilantro. The texture is crispy on the outside, and crumbly inside.
Falafel and hummus are both made with chickpeas, but falafel is made by grinding soaked uncooked beans with spices and herbs, them deep frying into crisp balls or patties. Hummus is cooked or canned chickpeas that have been pureed with tahini, garlic, and lemon and used as a dip.
I don’t recommend making falafel with canned or cooked chickpeas. The mixture tends to fall apart when you fry it. Traditional falafel is made with raw chickpeas that have been soaked so they are tender.
Yes you can bake it instead of frying, but the texture won’t be quite as good. When you bake falafel you’ll want to form it into patties rather than balls. Bake on an olive oil coated baking pan at 375F until crisp on one side, then carefully flip to cook the other side. Depending on the size of your patties this might take 20 minutes or so.
Yes, but again the texture won’t match the fried version. I recommend shaping falafel into patties for the air fryer and spray both the air fryer basket and the patties with olive oil. Air fry at 350F for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
what to serve with falafel burgers
- Mexican Street Corn Potato Salad
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Tuna
- Israeli Salad Recipe with Za’atar Dressing
- Mediterranean Bean Salad
- Creamy Sweet Corn Salad
- Chopped Asparagus Salad Recipe
- Chopped Italian Salad Recipe
- Divide the falafel mix into 4 1/2 cup portions and gently roll into balls. Place the balls between sheets of waxed or parchment paper and flatten. You can use a heavy cast iron skillet, or even a tortilla press! Keep chilled until ready to fry.
- Lightly coat the bottom of a nonstick skillet with oil. Heat until hot and then, working in batches if necessary, fry the burgers until crispy and browned on the first side. Then flip (gently!) and cook until browned and crisp on the second side.
- Spread a layer of tzatziki on the bottom of four buns.
- Top with your falafel burger patties.
- Add your cheese ~ I like to use 2 slices of extra thin pepper jack.
- Top the cheese with your cucumber slices.
- Follow with your red onions.
- add tomato slices.
- Finish the stack with your sprouts or lettuce.
- Spread a layer of hummus on the upper bun.
- Serve the burgers asap while still hot.
notes and variations
- Double or triple the recipe for more burgers.
- For a lower carb option, serve your falafel burgers on a green salad.