While we were traveling through the south of Spain, we often went out for falafel. Is that surprising?
Every town we visited had historic Arab and Jewish quarters, and the falafel was plentiful and oh, so good! As a falafel plate, a falafel wrap or out of hand, these chickpea patties are incredibly satisfying.
I have a recipe I love from Saveur, one I’ve been making for years. But since it involves deep frying, I hardly ever make it.
But now that we’re a family of devoted falafel eaters, I wanted to find a way to incorporate it into our regular weeknight dinner rotation.
So, I decided to test out frying versus baking falafel. To be honest, I doubted that the baked falafel could be as crispy as the deep-fried version.
Oh, was I ever wrong!
The key to getting crispy baked falafel was to use the technique I rely on for making crispy sweet potato oven fries:
1. Preheat a sheet pan in a hot oven.
2. Use enough oil for browning on both sides.
As you can see, the fried falafel does have a more even crust. So, when I’m going for falafel perfection, frying is still the way to go.
But, the baked falafel is a lot easier when time is short, and there’s no oil splatters on the stove. I just add warmed pita breads, sliced tomatoes, lettuce and this terrific 5-minute tahini-yogurt sauce.
So, now we can feast on falafel whenever the mood strikes. And around here, that’s a lot!
Have you tried making baked falafel? Let me know in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook
This is the recipe I've been making for years, adapted from Saveur. You'll need to soak the chickpeas overnight before blending in a food processor. You can form the patties in advance and bake (or fry) before serving.
- 2 cups dry chickpeas soaked for 8-12 hours
- 2 tablespoons bulgur
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro stems
- 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- pinch cayenne
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse, scraping down the bowl, a few times until evenly ground but not smooth.
Use a 1/4-cup measuring cup to portion the falafel mixture into slider-sized patties. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (This step can be done in advance.)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a rimmed sheet pan in the oven for 5 minutes. Then, add the oil and heat for 1 minute.
Carefully arrange the falafel on the sheet pan about 2 inches apart. Bake until the bottom sides are golden brown, about 6 minutes. Flip the patties so that they land in oil and cook until the bottoms are golden brown and the falafel are heated through, about 5 minutes more.
To fry falafel, I pan fry instead of deep frying. Heat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat until a few crumbs of the mixture sprinkled into the oil bubble. Cook the patties in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan for 3-4 minutes per side until deeply golden brown.