World's Easiest Falafel and Tzatziki

By marisab67
May 17, 2011
166 Comments


Author Notes: Is there a better street food than falafel? The smell of the balls frying, the cool, creamy tzatziki on a muggy New York afternoon. The idea that you are eating something good for you that's on the fried food pyramid. It's really got it all. And it even comes with its own slideshow :)marisab67

Food52 Review: Call anything "world's easiest" and we're skeptical, but marisab67 is on to something. We'd never made falafel from scratch before and were astonished at how easy—and fun—it could be. The food processor does double duty for the herbed chickpea mixture and then the garlic-scented tzatziki, saving us from both fine-chopping ingredients and washing extra dishes. The falafel patties are easily formed (a good time to put children or other passersby to work) and behave well in the frying pan. One bite into a pita stuffed with freshly crisped falafel, doused in your perfect tzatziki and a few shakes of hot sauce, and ordering takeout will seem like too much trouble. —A&MThe Editors

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 27 hrs
Cook time: 1 hrs

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, rinsed well and soaked overnight
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 bunch mint, washed, divided
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 piece bread
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 lemons, juiced, divided
  • 1 cup canola oil, for frying
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, Greek-style preferred
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package pita or flatbread

Directions

  1. Drain chickpeas and let air dry for 2 hours, or more.
  2. Process chickpeas, onion, 2 cloves garlic, half bunch mint, cilantro, egg, bread, salt and pepper, cumin, and half the lemon juice on low speed until a thick paste forms. No chunks or your falafel balls will fall apart.
  3. Form into 3-inch patties and let rest while tzatziki is made.
  4. Rinse processor and pulse cucumber, yogurt, remaining mint, remaining lemon juice, and the last garlic clove on low just until blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Heat the canola oil in a high-sided, heavy-bottomed pan. When hot, fry patties on medium high heat for 3 minutes each side or until golden brown.
  6. Serve with warm pita or flatbread.

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Reviews (166) Questions (17)

166 Comments

Rhonda35 March 7, 2018
Made these for the first time tonight - delicious! I made the chickpea mixture ahead of time bc: life, and let it sit in the fridge till dinner time. It was easy to form the patties and they held together well. I didn't feel like dealing with the mess of frying, so I oven-fried the patties at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes a side. They came out crispy and nicely browned on the outside and tender on the inside. The tzatziki is a perfect compliment to the well-flavored falafel. Loved this recipe!<br />
 
Gretchen January 22, 2018
I saw this recipe this morning and decided to try them tonight. I was a little hesitant after reading mixed reviews but I’m SO glad I took a chance. They are delicious! I used dried chickpeas and did a quick soak - simmer in hot water for 2 minutes and then let sit for an hour. I made a few small changes- I used a piece of chewy whole wheat bread, added a pinch of cayenne, and after adding I’ve egg, added another to make the mixture more cohesive. I used an ice cream scoop to form the falafel and flattened them slightly to make patties. The falafel were crisp on the outside and nutty and flavorful on the inside. The dried chickpeas have a far superior taste and texture than canned. So good with the tzatziki sauce! This is a keeper!
 
Anne G. December 28, 2017
Made this tonight and they turned out great and the tzatziki was delicious, will be making these again in the future. I went by the recipe exactly as written and the whole family loved them.
 
Bridget M. December 13, 2017
I haven't tried this recipe. It reading everyone's comments leads me to avoid it. Here is a really great and delicious, and quite easy to do falafel recipe I have tried - https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bonappetit.com/recipe/falafel-fritters-bowl-with-cucumbers-and-yogurt-sauce/amp I highly recommend
 
Bridget M. December 13, 2017
Well I can't paste the link, but it is the falafel fritters bowl from bon appetit.
 
Katheryn's K. January 21, 2018
Thanks for this Bridget, I prefer not to fry and it’s much easier with the canned chickpeas. This falafel fritter bowl turned out great.
 
Wordsketch August 21, 2017
I've had this recipe saved for some time and finally made them tonight! They really were so delicious, quick and easy to make, that I immediately made another batch with the rest of my soaked chickpeas. The crust is super nice and while the interior is light yet hearty. I didn't have any cilantro on hand, so I subbed in ground coriander seed.
 
Dianecpa July 20, 2017
I don't add the egg and just find I have to be patient as it processes to a smooth paste that makes a beautiful ball to bake or fry,
 
icdragon July 19, 2017
This came out terrible. Just came back from Greece and I was very disappointed. Followed the recipe to a T and I ended up having to add tablespoons of corn starch to get them to stick together in the hot oil, and then they came out like little latke pancakes. They look nothing like the photos. I can't imagine why 2.7k people "favorited" this recipe.
 
Tamara H. September 13, 2016
The falafel were nice, if somewhat tasteless. Only two pinches of salt? The tzatziki was a watery mess!
 
Foodlikes1 June 26, 2018
Always squeeze out moisture from cucumbers
 
Kendra August 31, 2016
Oh man, wish I had read more comments before I read this. I let the chickpeas soak, tasted one, and thought that wasn't right, they must want you to soak for even longer, but since I don't have time, I will cook them... Yup, mush... Tried to salvage by throwing in the oven, but still mushy. Tastes great, but more of a thick dip consistency.<br /><br />And very very runny tzaziki.
 
Foodlikes1 June 26, 2018
You have to grate the cucumber and then squeeze it to get rid d, of all the excess moisture
 
Dianecpa June 9, 2016
Leave out the egg, I do....voila it is vegan. I am sure you can come up with another sauce or dressing. I have made this falafel many times, love it!
 
Joanne B. June 9, 2016
Okay thanks. Sometimes it really needs the egg. But I will give it a try.
 
Joanne B. June 9, 2016
This is not vegan. It came up as the third recipe when I searched for "vegan."
 
Rey C. December 28, 2015
Well...this was a fantastic failure. Given the rave reviews I'm sure it was something I did, but all I got was a mushy mess. Oh well, good thing pizza is on backup.
 
arielles November 12, 2014
This is one of those recipes that you have to follow without deviating from the directions. If you follow it, it is wonderful! I am about to make it for a second time tonight!
 
leanne August 23, 2014
Wonderful recipe. A shame so many people had negative comments about the tzatziki, I would have thought that a forum like this is about reinventing recipes and bringing in your own creativity. All of it was great for us and our toddler, thank you!<br />
 
Dianecpa July 5, 2014
Yes....400 degrees and turn them when they start to brown.
 
Mayra September 15, 2016
hello! do you remember how long did it take?
 
Has anyone tried baking these instead of frying?
 
souptastic May 29, 2014
I used blended rolled oats (with resulting texture of breadcrumbs) instead of bread and they held together great. Also used chard, kale and green onion since that's what I had on hand. Tasty!
 
S.Levy April 11, 2014
No eggs; this is crazy! Try the egyptian falafel récipe. It.'s the civilized one!
 
S.Levy April 11, 2014
The real falafel are made with "foul akhdar" NOT chick peas! (Green beans)......
 
girlwithaknife March 25, 2014
Any chance this will work with canned chickpeas? I know it's not the same but it's hard to plan ahead sometimes.
 
BrownRedbud September 18, 2014
It does not work with canned chickpeas. I found out the hard way. It was a mushy mess that would not hold together or fry. I ended up throwing the whole thing out.