Our Falafel Pita Sandwich is made with homemade falafel and served with fresh ingredients and the most delicious tahini sauce. A middle-eastern fresh and lovely meal that the whole family will love.
When I hear falafel I get instantly hungry. Falafel Sandwich is one of my favourite meals in the world but it has to be done properly: Homemade falafels and homemade pita bread filled with delicious homemade hummus, fresh tomato, a cucumber salad, and a hot sauce.
We love adding some Sambal Oelek to our sandwiches. That's how we prepare our falafel sandwich at home. It takes some time, but we will give you some tips to have things prepared in advance and I can tell you, the effort is well paid when you have the first bite of your middle eastern sandwich.
What is falafel?
Falafels are patties or balls made from chickpeas, fresh herbs such as parsley and coriander, spices such as cumin and coriander powder and other ingredients like onion, garlic, or even broccoli for our recipe. Traditionally, they are deep-fried but you can find recipes for baked falafels too.
Falafels are naturally vegan and gluten-free. No need to add baking soda, flour, egg or any other ingredient.
For our falafel sandwich, we use the classic falafels but if you feel like trying something different, you should try our Beetroot Falafels, as they are super yummy too.
Our Falafel Sandwich recipe is:
- A snack or main meal
- Middle-Eastern style recipe
- Packed with fresh ingredients
- A pita bread Sandwich
- Easy to prepare
How to make the best Falafel from scratch
Dried Chickpeas. You will need dried chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) to make homemade falafel. 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 them with water. They will almost triple in size, so make sure to add enough water.
Broccoli. For our recipe, we like adding some green veggies and broccoli goes amazingly well in falafels. We learnt this from a friend (who is a chef) and it was a game-changing idea.
Onion and garlic. These are key ingredients to flavour your falafels. If you don't have fresh garlic, you can use garlic powder.
Fresh herbs. Falafels need some fresh herbs and leaves to balance the flavours and texture. We like using coriander and parsley. You can add basil, mint or spinach too.
Spice mix. For our falafel recipe, we use cumin, coriander, black pepper and salt. These are easy to find and you will probably have them already at home.
- Combine the ingredients in a food processor. Once your chickpeas have been soaking for at least 12 hours, rinse them and remove the excess 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.
- 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.
- Shape the falafels. Using your hands or using a falafel press, form the falafel mixture into round shapes. Make sure the size is not too small or too big. It should be around the size of your palm. You can as well, shape the mixture into small falafel balls or falafel patties.
- 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 you have brown and crispy falafel. If the oil is too hot, it will brown before the inside part is cooked, so you want to make sure the outer layer is not cooking too fast. Once ready, place them on a paper towel and add a pinch of salt. Alternatively, to frying, you can bake the falafels. They won't be as crispy, but they will be healthier and a perfect way to cook them for toddlers or kids. 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 on each side. They should be golden brown when taking them out.
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 using an airtight container, or freeze them if you want to keep them for longer.
To freeze falafels, place them on a plate first, and leave them in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Then, transfer the falafels to a Ziploc bag and keep them in the freezer. This way the falafels won't stick to each other.
How to prepare the perfect Falafel Pita Sandwich
- Make or buy good quality Pita Bread. We always choose to bake our own pita bread and keep it in the freezer for these occasions. You can also use store-bought pita pockets to make this recipe.
- Prepare your dips. A good Falafel Sandwich needs proper dips to go in. We enjoy our falafel with Homemade Hummus, Vegan Tzatziki sauce, or Baba Ganoush. These middle eastern dips are so easy to prepare that once you start making your own hummus or baba ganoush, you won't be buying them anymore.
- Cut some fresh veggies. To bring a bit of freshness into the sandwich, we like chopping some fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and salad leaves. You can add other fresh veggies such as red onion, yellow onion, finely shredded carrot, zucchini, or sweet peppers.
- Prepare a tahini sauce. This sauce is the easiest and tastiest ever! Simply combine tahini paste with lemon juice and water and mix well until desired consistency. You can make a yogurt sauce as well, a vegan tartar sauce, or any other mild and creamy sauce that you love.
Build the best Falafel Sandwich
Cut the pita pockets in half, spread some hummus, baba ganoush, and spicy sauce (optional) on the bread, add the fresh veggies, and finally the homemade falafels. Serve the sandwich with olives and the delicious tahini sauce.
Other ways to serve Falafels
- Falafel Platter. Serve your falafels together with some dips such as hummus or Baba Ganoush, fresh salads, pita bread, pickles, olives, or even roasted vegetables.
- As a snack. Falafels can be served on their own as a snack. We normally have the leftover falafels the day after and they are still really good.
- On a salad. A perfect lunch idea is a falafel salad. Build a salad with your favourite lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and cucumbers, and add the falafels. Drizzle with a tahini or yoghurt dressing and enjoy!
Falafels for Toddlers and Kids
Falafels are a great choice for toddlers and kids. Chickpeas are an amazing source of fibre, plant-based protein and vitamins. Shape the falafels into small discs and bake them in the oven instead of deep-frying them. This way they can have a perfectly healthy lunch or snack.
Our toddler Luca enjoys his falafels with some hummus, pita bread and tomato and cucumber salad. Often we make some oven-baked chips as well to serve with his falafels.
FAQ and Tips
Can I use canned chickpeas to make Falafel?
No. You need dried chickpeas that have been soaking for at least 12 hours. Canned or cooked chickpeas are too moist and when you try to fry your falafels they will fall apart. We've tried it before, and this is how we learned that it is not possible to make falafels with canned chickpeas.
Make the shaping process easier
Sometimes it can be a bill challenging to shape the falafels. We recommend you keep adding moisture (cold water) to your hands. As well, you can use a falafel scoop to make this step much easier.
What other type of bread can I use?
Other types of bread that are typically used for falafel sandwiches are flatbread or classic sandwich bread. You can use wraps such as this lovely Lentil wraps.
What ingredients go well in a Falafel Sandwich?
Apart from fresh chopped veggies, lettuce, and dips that we add to our falafel sandwich, you can add a wide variety of ingredients to twist this recipe to your taste. Some great ideas are preserved lemons, pickled onions, hot sauces, a drizzle of olive oil, quinoa, a squeeze of lime juice, sesame seeds, or yogurt.
Falafel Pita Sandwich
Ingredients for the Falafels
- 2 cups dried chickpeas
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 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
Ingredients for the Falafel Sandwich
- Pita bread
- 1 large tomato
- ½ cucumber
- Green or black olives
- Sambal or hot sauce optional
- 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 well-combined mixture. It shouldn't 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.
- Cut the Pita Bread in half, spread some hummus and spicy sauce (optional) on the bread, add some fresh chopped tomatoes and cucumber drizzled with some olive oil, add lettuce and finally the homemade falafels. Top the sandwich with green or black olives. Optionally, can add some yoghurt sauce as well.
|If you tried our recipe, please leave a comment or tag us on Instagram. We are always happy to see your creations!