Since we tried our very first Falafel Mezze Platter while living in Berlin, we have been recreating this meal at home. When prepared with some time and love, a mezze platter will become a family favourite.
A Mezze is basically a combination of small dishes and ingredients served typically as an appetizer. You'll see that it can be easily served as a main dish.
We like to prepare some things in advance when making a falafel mezze platter as it can take a bit of time if you try to organize everything on the same day. As well, it depends how many things you want to cook from scratch as some elements can be bought already made. At home, everything is made from scratch and this is something we wouldn't change.
The centre-piece of our Mezze Platter is Homemade Falafels. Falafels are naturally vegan and gluten-free. They are made from soaked and ground chickpeas combined with fresh herbs such as parsley and coriander, garlic, onion, and spices such as coriander, cumin, salt, black pepper and our special touch, broccoli. That's all you need to make mouth-watering damn good falafels.
To complete the mezze platter, we add some homemade dips such as hummus and baba ganoush, some grilled vegetables and halloumi, fresh ingredients like olives, lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes and a creamy tahini sauce to finish the dish.
How to make Falafel from Scratch
Falafel Sandwich can be made with store-bought falafels, but if there is something you need to start making at home instead of buying it, that's falafels! They are really easy to prepare and totally worth the effort. Homemade falafels are tastier and healthier. Start making your falafels at home following these simple steps:
- Leave the chickpeas soaking the day before you intend on making falafels. This step is really important, as canned chickpeas will not work. You need dried chickpeas soaked for at least 12 hours. Canned or cooked chickpeas are too moist and when you try to fry your falafels they will fall apart. Leave the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water. They will almost triple in size, so make sure to add enough water.
- Combine the ingredients in a food processor. Once your chickpeas have been soaking for at least 12 hours, rinse them and remove the excess of water. Add them to a food processor and blend for a couple of seconds. Then add the rest of the ingredients: Fresh parsley and coriander, broccoli florets (optional), onion, garlic, cumin and coriander powder, black pepper and salt. You can as well add some Falafel or Middle Easter seasoning instead of the different spices.
- Blend to the right consistency. You will need to blend all the ingredients until you have a well-combined mixture. It doesn't have to be mushy as the balls will be too dense, but it needs to be blended enough for the mixture to not fall apart when frying them. If your food processor is not big enough, you may need to blend all the ingredients into two batches.
- Shape the mixture into falafels. Using your hands or using a falafel press, form the mixture into round shapes. Make sure the size is not too small or too big. It should be around the size of your palm.
- Cook the falafels. Heat up some neutral oil in a small frying pan so you don't have to use that much oil. Fry the falafels until they are brown and crispy on the outside. If the falafels are shaped correctly, not much oil will go inside. The inside part will still be really fresh and light.
How to store falafels
Once your falafels are perfectly shaped, you can cook them straight away, or you can keep them for later use. You can keep the raw falafels in the fridge for about 4 days or freeze them if you want to keep them for longer.
To freeze falafels, place them in a plate first, and leave in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Transfer into a ziploc bag and leave it in the freezer. This way the falafels won't stick to each other.
How to build the perfect Mezze Platter
- Choose your centre-piece. In many mezze platters, the centre-piece is the hummus. Our mezze platter includes hummus of course, but the main piece of our meal are the homemade falafels. Falafels are filling, crunchy on the outside and fresh on the inside. They combine perfectly with the rest of the ingredients.
- Add some dips. Red Pepper or Beetroot Hummus and Baba Ganoush are the dips we normally include into our falafel mezze platter. You can make them yourself as they are really easy to prepare, or buy store-bought dips. To save some time, try to prepare the dip the day before you want to prepare the mezze.
- Grilled and Roasted Veggies. When we prepare the mezze platter during the winter months, we love adding some warm veggies to make the meal more comforting. Our favourites are grilled aubergine and zucchini and roasted potatoes and carrots. Roasted red peppers, cauliflower, broccoli or sweet potato and delicious options to include as well.
- Fresh ingredients. Every mezze needs a bit of freshness. We Prepare a simple tomato and cucumber salad with some olive oil and add some green leaves such as lettuce to make the mezze platter healthier and lighter.
- Halloumi for a vegetarian mezze platter. Skip this ingredient if you are making a vegan mezze. Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese that can be grilled or fried without melting. This is why is perfect to add to your mezze platters.
- Dressing or sauce. To top the combination of dishes and ingredients on our mezze platter, we prepare a tahini sauce made with tahini, water and lemon juice. This sauce brings the dish together and adds creaminess to every bit of the meal. If you like to add a bit of spice to the dish, we recommend adding some Sambal Oelek on top of the falafels before serving.
- Pita Bread. Serve some pita bread on the side to make sure people can enjoy every dip and ingredient of the plate. If you want to make your own pita bread, check our easy homemade pita bread recipe!
A falafel mezze platter can be served all year round. During the winter months, we choose to add more grilled and roasted veggies and grilled halloumi to make sure the meal is warm and filling. During the summer months, we prefer to add a larger amount of fresh veggies and even fruits such as watermelon to make the meal lighter and easier to digest.
This dish is the perfect option to serve to your friends and family. Everyone can serve themselves and choose their favourite bites. Making a falafel mezze platter can be a great choice when people are coming over. We serve it as an appetizer before a barbeque or we make it bigger and serve it as a main dish.
We cook it as well for the three of us, for a weekend lunch or dinner so we can use the morning to prepare everything. Our toddler Luca loves helping out making the falafel mixture and shaping them! We use then any leftover hummus to make Loaded Hummus and the falafels to make a delicious Falafel Sandwich.
Falafel Mezze Platter for Toddlers and Kids
A mezze platter is a family meal and toddlers and kids enjoy it as much as adults do. At least at home. Our son Luca loves having the option to choose what he is going to try first.
When making falafels for toddlers, we recommend baking them instead of frying them. They won't be as crispy, but they will be healthier. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. For this method, we recommend shaping your falafels into disc shapes. Lay the falafels on a baking tray and bake for around 12-15 minutes each side. They should be golden brown when taking them out.
Keep any spicy sauces out of the platter and just serve it on your plate to make sure the rest will not be spicy. If your kids find tahini dressing too tangy, you can maybe prepare a yogurt mint sauce as it's sweeter and creamier.
Kids and toddlers can help to make the falafels as all that needs to be done will be adding all the ingredients into a food processor. Then, you can include them into the shaping process, this is our toddler's favourite part.
Falafel Mezze Platter
Ingredients for Homemade Falafels
- 2 cups dried chickpeas
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- ¾ cups fresh coriander chopped
- ½ cup parsley chopped
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt add more to taste
Mezze Platter Ingredients
- 12 falafels
- 2 potatoes
- 2 carrots
- 1 cup hummus
- 1 cup baba ganoush
- ½ cucumber
- 7-8 cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- A handful lettuce
- 1 block halloumi
- ½ aubergine
- 1 small zucchini
- Assortment roasted and grilled veggies
- Pita bread
- ¼ Cup tahini
- ⅓ Cup water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- salt to taste
- Leave the chickpeas soaking overnight, at least 12 hours before preparing your falafels.
- Once your chickpeas have been soaking for at least 12 hours, rinse them and remove the excess of water. Add them in a food processor and blend for a couple of seconds.
- Add to the food processor the onion, broccoli, fresh coriander, fresh parsley, coriander powder, cumin powder, black pepper and salt.
- Blend all the ingredients until you have a uniform dough. It doesn't have to be mushy as the balls will be too dense, but it needs to be blended enough for the dough to not fall apart when frying them.
- Using your hands or using a falafel press, form the dough into round shapes. Make sure the size is not too small or too big. It should be around the size of your palm.
- Heat up some neutral oil in a small frying pan so you don't have to use that much oil. Fry the falafels until they are brown and crispy on the outside. If the falafels are shaped correctly, not much oil will go inside. The inside part will still be really fresh and light.
Rest of the ingredients for the Mezze Platter
- Preheat the oven to 180Cº and add in a baking tray potato cut into chips and sliced carrots. Season with some olive oil and salt and bake for about 25-30 minutes.
- To prepare the hummus and baba ganoush from scratch, check our recipes listed above. You can as well use store-bought dips.
- Finely chop the cucumber and cherry tomatoes and combine with extra virgin olive oil and salt.
- Wash and chop the lettuce.
- Heat some oil in a griddle pan and grill the halloumi, sliced aubergine and sliced zucchini.
- Heat up some pita bread to serve with the mezze platter
- To make the tahini sauce simple combine tahini, water and lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients properly until you have a creamy consistency.
|If you tried our recipe, please leave a comment or tag us on Instagram. We are always happy to see your creations!|
More Middle-Eastern recipes:
Falafel Pita Sandwich
Middle-Eastern Chickpea Salad
Roasted Cauliflower salad with Tahini Dressing
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