Spicy Falafel

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Adapted from


  • 1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight in 4 cups water
  • 1/2 small white onion
  • 1 fresh jalapeño or 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeño slices, drained
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 23 tablespoons wheat flour or chickpea flour
  • 34 cups oil for frying (grapeseed, canola, corn)
  • Avocado tahini sauce:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 12 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeño pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Soak the chickpeas at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours at room temperature. Drain. You should get about 2 cups of soaked peas.
  2. Grate the onion on the large side of a box grater. You should get about 1/2 cup grated onion.
  3. Remove seeds from chile for milder falafel. Mince the chile.
  4. Grind the soaked chickpeas in a food processor with the garlic, herbs and spices until it looks like a chunky paste. It should not be completely smooth but look more like wet couscous. If you have only a tiny food processor like my 4-cup size, you’ll need to do this in batches.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and mix in in the grated onion and minced chile. Add enough flour to make a dough that will stick together but isn’t too wet. Cover the bowl.
  6. Refrigerate this mixture at least 1 hour and up to 3 days (be sure to cover so it doesn’t dry out).
  7. Shape balls from falafel mix using about 2 tablespoons per ball (or a little bigger/smaller if you want).
  8. Heat 2 inches of oil in a deep pot to 275ºF (135ºC)
  9. Fry balls or patties for 3-4 minutes on each side until dark brown. Keep the oil temperature between 250-300ºF (120-148ºC). You want them to cook slowly to ensure the insides are cooked through or else you’ll have raw-tasting falafel.
  10. Drain on paper towel or rack
  11. For tahini sauce, combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add extra water for thinner sauce.

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