Dinner Recipes Middle Eastern Vegetarian


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This easy to make and delicious homemade falafel recipe is served in pita bread and topped with a thick, tangy tahini-yogurt sauce!  These vegetarian Middle Eastern fritters are a great way to cut down on meat!

When you move to a completely new place, there are so many novel foods and restaurants to explore, it takes a while before you start to miss what you left behind.  One of our old favorites was the Pita Kitchen, right around the corner from our house.  People came from all over Los Angeles to this tiny Middle Eastern restaurant.  It had a few tables crowded onto the sidewalk, and lines snaking out the door and away from the take-out window at all hours of the day and night.

Best of all it was just a short stroll from our front door.  The dogs would drag us in that direction on their walks, following the scent of chicken and lamb on the grill.

But grilled meats weren’t the only delights to be had from Pita Kitchen. Falafel are patties or round balls made from ground chickpeas and spices, fried and served in pita bread topped with a thick, tangy tahini-yogurt sauce.   Basically a Middle Eastern veggie burger.

These came out great, but next time I will cook my own chickpeas instead of using the canned.  I think using dried beans results in a drier, fluffier texture in the finished falafel.  The canned beans retain a lot of extra moisture, so there is a trade off for the convenience of using them.


Falafel Salad Bowl is a satisfying and healthy Middle Eastern main course salad ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com
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4.34 from 3 votes


This easy to make and delicious homemade falafel recipe is served in pita bread and topped with a thick, tangy tahini-yogurt sauce!
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes


For the falafel:

  • 1/2 small red onion chopped roughly
  • 2 garlic cloves smashed
  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas or 1 drained can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup of parsley 1/2 cup mint
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2  tsp paprika 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2  cup flour
  • vegetable oil
  • Pita bread

For the tahini sauce:

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup tahini sesame paste
  • the juice of 1 lemon


  • Add everything except the flour to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are roughly blended.  You want texture, not a completely smooth paste.  Add in the flour and pulse just to blend.
  • Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and chill for an hour or so.
  • Using a scoop or tablespoon, form the falafel into regular sized balls, and flatten slightly to form patties.  Add more flour if your mix is too wet to work with.
  • Pre-heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a saute pan and cook the falafel till golden on one side, then flip and cook another few minutes. Drain on paper towels while you cook the rest.
  • For the sauce, blend the yogurt with the tahini and lemon juice.
  • Serve the falafel in pita bread with the tahini-yogurt sauce drizzled over it, or on the side.

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  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 9:11 am

    well,in falafel you should use raw(soaked)chick-peas.it comes out much better! trust us middle-eastern 🙂

  • Reply
    August 26, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    This looks awesome! I love homemade falafel, but I’ve yet to try it with dried chickpeas as well

  • Reply
    Sarah (Snippets of Thyme)
    August 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    These falafels are going on our menu planner. We love to go out for falafels but the kids have said they would be fun to make at home. Yours looks delicious!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I love falafel…man…you are so good!! three area few middle eastern kitchens here in edinburgh that i need to try…but…the best falafel i have ever have had was in Paris. yum yum…schluuurp

  • Reply
    Andrea {From the Bookshelf}
    August 24, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Wow! These look great! I love Falafel and have been dying to try them! Thanks for making them look so easy to make!

  • Reply
    A Trifle Rushed
    August 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Gosh! I do love a falafel. I make them sometimes here in Brittany, were they are very difficult to find, but tend to buy them back in London. I must say your’s do look very good!

  • Reply
    Jane and Lance Hattatt
    August 24, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Hello Sue:
    These sound absolutely delicious, particularly as we are very fond of all Middle Eastern food.

  • Reply
    Maris (in Good Taste)
    August 24, 2011 at 12:57 am

    This is one of my favorites! Looks perfect!

  • Reply
    Gerlinde in Dallas
    August 23, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    I haven’t had falafel in forever! I’m getting hungry just looking at yours.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    They look perfect to me! Love the crispy tops and bottoms…mmmmmm….

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    OK I am drooling!! I love love falafels…obsessed really. Can’t wait to try these. There is really only one place near me where I can get a good one too. I’d love to make them at home! Thanks for sharing! Beautiful photos.

  • Reply
    My Farmhouse Kitchen
    August 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    oh those look good, my friend

    when did you move east ?
    where were you in L.A.

    i am about 4 hours north of L.A.


  • Reply
    Barefeet In The Kitchen
    August 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Oh, those pitas has me sighing at first sight. This all sounds delicious!