If you've ever set foot in the Middle East, you must have come across falafel. The street food that's made up of pulsed beans, herbs, and spices is popular all over the region. One of the most loved versions of the dish can be found in Lebanon and its recipe is quite unique. We absolutely love Lebanese falafel and having a recipe for it on hand is an absolute must. Here's an easy Lebanese falafel recipe that we promise you'll love and make over and over.
Ingredients You'll Need:
- Chickpeas/garbanzo beans: The star ingredient of this dish. Make sure you avoid boiling the beans especially if you're frying your falafel. Instead, soak the chickpeas overnight, drain them and dry them well before popping them in the food processor.
- Parsley: Fresh parsley adds a punch of flavor to the patties. You can use coriander instead or use a mix of both herbs but I personally recommend that you make falafel with parsley.
- Flour: A few tablespoons of flour are a must to bind the patties together during the frying process. This ingredient is also essential if you choose to bake the dish.
- Onions: These work as a binding agent and also add flavor to the patties.
- Garlic: A little goes a long way here. Some people like to skip this ingredient. However, I recommend that you add it and it's essential in most Lebanese versions of this dish.
- Baking powder: Super important to help the falafel patties fry up well.
- Allspice: A dash of allspice take this dish up a notch.
- Cumin: A little bit of dried, powdered cumin is also highly recommended but you can skip it if you don't have it on hand.
- Salt/Pepper: No dish is ever complete without this seasoning mix.
- Sesame seeds: This is an optional ingredient but I highly recommend that you sprinkle some sesame seeds on your patties before you fry them.
You will also need:
- A good food processor
- A falafel scooper (You can use an ice cream scooper instead or any ladle-style spoon)
- Baking sheets (to set the falafel patties on before frying/baking)
Tips and Tricks
- Never use boiled beans to make the falafel paste if you're planning to fry your patties. Why? Because the boiling process means the beans will retain moisture causing the patties to crumble apart once you place them in the fryer. What you need to do is use beans that have been soaked overnight (never cooked) to form the patty mix.
- Don't use canned chickpeas/beans in this recipe.
- Make sure you put the patties in the fridge for at least an hour before you fry them up.
Some people also like to use broad beans (fava beans) in this dish. If you want to use them, half the amount of chickpeas that our recipe calls for and add these instead (similar to this Egyptian falafel recipe also known as Ta'ameya).
Different kinds of fresh green herbs and mint can be added to this recipe but the original Lebanese way to make the patties only involves parsley or coriander.
Is Falafel Gluten-Free?
Traditional Lebanese falafel is not gluten-free because it uses flour to bind the ingredients together. However, the Egyptian version of falafel, also known as Tamiya, is gluten-free.
Is It Possible To Lighten Up Falafel?
The answer is an absolute yes. While nothing tops crunchy, deep-fried falafel patties, there are other options if you're watching your waistline.
One way of lightening up this dish is by baking the falafel patties instead of frying them. Follow the exact recipe instructions but simply pop these in the oven instead of frying them.
Another way of lightening up this dish is by going light on the sauces that can make this dish heavier. Instead, opt for fresh, crunchy vegetables that also pair well here. Veggies that go amazingly well with falafel include tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, green peppers, green onions, and radishes.
Ways to Serve Lebanese Falafel
You can serve the patties on a bed of lettuce alongside a plate of pickles and veggies. Many of us (including myself) like to use the patties in wraps made up of pita bread, tarator sauce, veggies, and pickles. This version is a must-try.
What Goes With Falafel?
- Big bowls of fattoush or tabbouleh go amazingly well with the falafel patties.
- In Lebanon, the dish is always drizzled with a tahini-based sauce called tarator.
- People also serve them alongside popular Levantine mezze dishes including hummus, foul medames and balila.
- In some Lebanese villages, falafel is often served with other plant-based dishes like loubye b zeit and moujadara.
- Homemade pita bread