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.
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.