Falafel is one of the most popular meals in the middle east. It can be found on almost every street corner. Falafel is usually eaten out of a pita pocket, but thankfully for the gluten free community, many people enjoy their falafels on a plate, with the pita bread on the side or not at all. Gluten free pita is hard to find in Seattle and we have only found good gluten free pitas in natural groceries in the middle east. A falafel meal is delicious and filling with or without the GF pita! Falafel balls are made from a mix of garbanzo beans, spices, and herbs. They make for an excellent gluten free dish year round.
Typically, the falafel balls are topped with variety of salads and sauces. Tahini, hummus, cucumbers, tomatoes, and pickles are our favorite additions.
(This recipe makes 20-30 falafel balls)
1 lbs (or about 2 ¼ cups) garbanzo beans soaked overnight*
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves
1/2 bunch Italian parsley leaves
7-10 garlic cloves
1 small onion
1 small jalapeño
Vegetable oil (for frying)
A few tbsp of chickpea flour if needed
*Soaking garbanzo beans or chickpeas:
- Soak 1 lb of picked over dried chickpeas in water (enough to cover) for 12 hours
- Drain before using
Note that old chickpeas will not soften regardless of how long you soak them, so if the dried chickpeas are over a year old, toss them and buy a new batch!
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp cumin
1/2-3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2-3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 Tbs salt
Dash of cardamom, nutmeg, and ground cloves
In a food processor, pulse the soaked beans with the cilantro and parsley. Add the spices, mixing well and pulsing in the food processor but still keeping a coarse consistency.
This falafel mix can be used immediately or it can be frozen and kept for up to 2-3 months. If you freeze the mix, let it thaw completely before proceeding with the next steps:
- In a small deep pot, heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil.
- Create small balls of the falafel mix and drop them into the pot.
- Deep fry uncovered for about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
A note on forming the falafel balls before frying: if the mix is too soft, and the falafel balls won’t form into balls, sprinkle some chickpea flour into the mix and try forming falafel balls again. Repeat if necessary. If the mix becomes too dry, add a few teaspoons of water.