Simply Lebanese

Lucy’s Famous Falafel (Lebanese Falafel)

Falafel
  • Prep Time
    1 hr
  • Cook Time
    15 mins
  • Serving
    24
Falafel is an iconic street food and appetizer. This Lebanese recipe uses both chickpeas and fava beans, making it delicious and loaded with protein and nutrients.
Falafel

I think it is safe to say that Falafel is the most popular Arab (Middle-Eastern) food out there. It is vegan, healthy, delicious and loaded with protein and nutrients.

Where Falafel originated depends on who you ask. It is very controversial; Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians will insist it is a Levantine dish and originated in that region while, the Egyptians will say it was eaten by pharaoh’s in Egypt a thousand years ago. Then there’s the Israeli’s, who have made Falafel their National dish! It is said that Falafel was a very popular dish among the Yemeni Jews who brought it to Israel.

Every region in that area will claim it as their own and truth is they all have unique and delicious variations on it. Regardless of where it originated, Falafel is iconic, and for a reason. It is vegan, healthy, delicious and loaded with protein and nutrients. It has become such a popular street food worldwide and can be found on food trucks, and at restaurants and grocery stores in every city.

What makes Lebanese Falafel different?

The recipe I am sharing with you today is a Lebanese Falafel. It is my mother-in-law’s recipe and honestly the best falafel I have every eaten. When recreating the recipe for the purpose of posting it on here, I didn’t even attempt to make it by myself, but had her make alongside me, measuring and taking lots of notes, so I could write it out for you guys.

While my mother-in-law Lucy is not a professional chef, she does have years of experience having worked at a Middle-eastern restaurant. At the time, she had introduced her own falafel recipe (among many other of her traditional recipes) to the restaurant, which the customers absolutely loved and became successful.

Chickpeas or Fava beans? Or both?

The main ingredients in falafel are either chickpeas, fava beans or a combination of both! Chickpeas is predominately used as the main ingredients throughout the middle-east; for example, in many traditional Palestinian recipes. However, in Lebanon, most often a combination of both fava beans and chickpeas is used in a classic falafel recipe.

Neither the fava beans or chickpeas are cooked prior to making the falafel. Dry beans MUST be used, and soaked overnight until tender. Canned chickpeas come pre-cooked and therefore are too soft and will fall apart. Soaked beans are tender enough to work with but not enough to crumble when handling.

Falafel is filled with other important fresh ingredients as well. Fresh cilantro, parsley, onions and garlic are added to the chickpeas and fava beans. The falafel ingredients are processed together in a food processor or in a meat grinder. Then, a bunch of fragrant spices like coriander and cumin are added and mixed together before being formed into balls. Lucy adds so many wonderful spices that you don’t find in other falafel recipes which really takes her recipe over the top, making it wonderfully delicious.

There is a special metal scoop specifically made for falafel, that will give you a perfectly sized ball every time. However, if you are unable to get your hands on one, you can use an ice cream scooper or your hands if you prefer. 

STEP 1

Soak the dried chickpeas and dried fava beans in water in 2 separate large bowls overnight. Rinse thoroughly 12 hours (or so) later and set aside.

Measure out all the spices and set aside so they are ready to add in as needed.

Falafel Spices

STEP 2

Add the chickpeas to the food processor and pulse until crumbly and no more large pieces remain. Return to the bowl. Do the same with the fava beans and return to the bowl.

STEP 3

Wash the bunches of cilantro and parsley and trim off the stems.

Add to the food processor and process until small but not mushy.

STEP 4

Peel the onions and cut into quarters. Pulse in the food processor until no large pieces remain.

STEP 5

Peel and separate all the garlic and add to the food processor and pulse until small.

STEP 6

In a very large bowl, add all the finely processed ingredients and mix using your hands, until fully combined.

Falafel

Add in all the spices and mix well.

Falafel Spices

STEP 7

Add the baking soda and baking powder just 10 minutes before frying.

STEP 8

Preheat a large skillet with canola oil until 350-370F degrees.

STEP 9

Using the falafel scooper (or tablespoon), form a ball (about 2tb. large if using a spoon), and carefully drop the balls into the oil. Fry for about 3-4 minutes per side, until brown. 

Check out this falafel scooper from Amazon. We tested it on another batch and it works very well!

Falafel Scooper
Stöckel Stainless Steel Professional Falafel Scoop Maker, Large

STEP 10

In a large paper towel-lined plate, remove the falafel onto the plate.

Prepare your falafel sandwiches or eat on a platter.

How to eat Falafel

The traditional way of cooking falafel is deep frying it in a neutral oil such as canola. However, if you are trying to be more health-conscious, you can bake the falafel for about 20 minutes on 350.  

Falafel has become known as a street food because, it is typically served on pita bread with fresh vegetables (such as sliced tomatoes, pickles and pickled turnips) and tarator (tahini sauce). The tarator is the same tarator made for beef shawarma and it vital in this falafel recipe. The patties are naturally somewhat dry from the chickpeas and fava beans and require a sauce to really help bring the flavor out. Traditionally, Falafel is eaten as a “mezze,” appetizer. You can serve the falafel on a salad if you’d like or, even in a platter with rice and veggies.

Falafel

This recipe is very freezer friendly. The quantity for this recipe makes about 72 falafel balls so, feeds about 24 people.  

Lucy’s Freezer Tips

1. Do not add the baking soda and baking powder to the mix if you plan on freezing it. Add it after it has been defrosted and about 10 minutes before you fry it.

2. You can add the spices before freezing or after defrosting, whichever you prefer.

3. Freeze in separate airtight bags and remove from the freezer at least 4 hours before frying them.

Lucy Kobeissi
Lucy Kobeissi
Falafel

Falafel (Lucy’s Famous Falafel)

Falafel is an iconic street food and appetizer. This Lebanese recipe uses both chickpeas and fava beans, making it delicious and loaded with protein and nutrients.
4.74 from 26 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Lebanese
Keyword: chickpeas, deep-fried ball, falafel, favabeans, street food, Tahini Sauce, vegan
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 24
Calories: 235kcal
Author: Iman

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. Dried Chickpeas
  • 1 lb. Dried Fava beans
  • 1 bunch Parsley
  • 1 bunch Cilantro
  • 5 heads Garlic
  • 2 med. White Onions or Yellow
  • 2.5 tb. Cumin
  • 2 tb. Coriander
  • 2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 tb. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Chili powder
  • 4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • Canola Oil for frying or any neutral oil such as vegetable or grape seed.

Instructions

  • Soak the dried chickpeas and dried fava beans in water in 2 separate large bowls overnight. Rinse thoroughly 12 hours (or so) later and set aside.
  • Add the chickpeas to the food processer and pulse until crumbly and no more large pieces remain. Return to the bowl. Do the same with the fava beans and return to the bowl.
  • Wash the bunches of cilantro and parsley and trim off the stems. Add to the food processor and process until small but not mushy.
  • Peel the onions and cut into quarters. Pulse in the food processor until no large pieces remain.
  • Peel and separate all the garlic and add to the food processor and pulse until small.
  • Measure out all the spices and set aside so they are ready to add in as needed.
  • In a very large bowl, add all the finely processed ingredients and mix using your hands, until fully combined.
  • Add in all the spices and mix well.
    *If you are making only half or ¼of this recipe, you can process the cilantro, parsley, onions and garlic all together since they will easily fit into the food processor. I processed it separately since, they will not fit.
    *If you plan on freezing some of this mix, separate into airtight baggies and freeze now.
  • Add the baking soda and baking powder just 10 minutes before frying.
    Preheat a large skillet with canola oil until 350-370F degrees.
  • Using the falafel scooper (or tablespoon), form a ball (about 2 tb. large if using a spoon), and carefully drop the balls into the oil. Fry for about 3-4 minutes per side, until brown.
    *Do not overcrowd the pan, fry about 4-5 at once.
  • In a large paper towel-lined plate, remove the falafel onto the plate.

Notes

Click here to view the tarator sauce!

Nutrition

Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 14.6g | Saturated Fat: 2.9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5.3g | Sodium: 688mg | Potassium: 293mg | Fiber: 5.4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 13.4IU | Vitamin C: 13.4mg | Calcium: 50.9mg | Iron: 8.5mg

DisclaimerThis recipe post may contain affiliate links to products or tools.

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    Recipe Reviews

    • Danielle

      5 stars
      If i dont have fava beans, but only chickpeas, should I keep with the original stated recipe of 2 lbs chickpeas, or use the total quantity of 3 lb beans to make up for the 1lb loss of fava? I’ve made these a few timea before and the falafels are always outstanding!

    • Jenn

      Hi, thank you for this awesome recipe. I have a question, how far in advance can you fry these and is there anyway to reheat them if they are fried in advance? Thanks.

      • Iman

        Yes, you can fry in advance and I would reheat them in the oven or air fryer. However, they are the best fried fresh!

    • Kiki

      Hello dear, is there a way to make this that doesn’t require a food processor?

      • Iman

        You can use a meat grinder as many places do, but the chickpeas and fava beans need to be processed quite well so, something strong that crushes is necessary.

    • Helen

      3 stars
      I believe you meant to say 5 cloves of garlic not 5 heads of garlic, am I right? Thanks

      • Iman

        Hello! No, 5 head of garlic is correct! This recipe makes quite a bit of falafel, about 24 servings. I promise the garlic is not remotely overwhelming, just gives wonderful flavor. However, feel free to use less if you’re not a big fan.

    • Leila Bdeir

      Hello,
      I am making the full quantity of the batter. I would like to put it in the fridge overnight and cook part of it tomorrow and freeze part of it. How will I know how much baking powder and baking soda to use for the quantity I am frying? If is an option to fry the balls and freeze them afterwards? Do they thaw nicely?
      Thank you 🙂

      • Iman

        5 stars
        I would just divide the baking soda and powder by the quantity you are making. So, for example, if you divided the entire quantity into 4 separate bags (to freeze some and refrigerate some), you would use 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/4 tsp. of baking soda! You can pre-cook and then freeze them and rewarm them in the oven to get crispy. The texture isn’t 100% the same but, still tastes great.

    • :D

      What if you cannot find sried fava beans?

      • Iman

        Cooked ones will not work in this recipe. You can find dried ones at most grocery stores or even online, on Amazon! Last resort would be to use just dried chickpeas. Many recipes use just chickpeas so, it is not uncommon.

    • Amin Oteifa

      I’m really torn because I grew up in Egypt and they don’t ever use chickpeas. I’m going to give it a try but will do 1/2 chickpeas vs 2/3. Most recipes don’t include the additional spices so I’m looking forward to adding them. Thanks for the great recipe.

      • Iman

        Wow, I didn’t know that some dont even use chickpeas at all. I have heard of only chickpeas but not vice versa! But yes, go right ahead and change the ratio of fava beans and chickpeas according to your preference. The recipe will still be as wonderful. The added spices give it delicious flavor, I hope you love it!

    • Szopa

      I’m sorry but where is the list of ingredients to know the quantity?

      • Iman

        Hello! The ingredients and full directions are on the “Recipe card,” there was an issue for a bit today where it wasn’t showing up, but it is back and loaded now!

    • Marina

      5 stars
      Oh yes, sorry that I didn’t see that! It worked perfectly well! I actually used baking paper and for around 40-50 minutes (I guess the time depends on the oven) and it turned out great! The texture was also very crispy, pretty similar to the fried one! So I’m truly satisfied. Thank you! This is definitely the best falafel recipe ever! 🙂

    • Ahmad

      5 stars
      The falafel are absolutely delicious, they come out crispy and work really well with vegetables in a sandwich or in a plate. Nutritious option for vegans as well!

    • Elizabeth

      5 stars
      The best recipe that I’ve found online.

    • Marina

      5 stars
      I love this!! Thank you for all your delicious recipes! I’m going to make it today! Would it be possible to bake them in the oven instead of frying them?

      • Iman

        Awesome!! I am so glad you enjoy my recipes. Yes, I listed above under “How to eat falafel” that they can definitely be baked on a sheet pan for about 20 minutes on 350. Spray them with non-stick spray. The texture on the outside will be a bit different but, still delicious!

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