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Falafel From Scratch with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Photo by Ludovic Avice on Unsplash

Let’s add one more thing to the ongoing list of what I miss about living in the city… Street Food! I suppose it doesn’t make sense to have a lunch truck in downtown Valley City where there is still at least a foot of snow and no one ever walks anywhere, none the less I still miss really tasty, cheap food, and my most recent craving has been for falafel.

Falafel can only be made with dried garbanzos that have been soaked overnight (had no idea). I was planning on using canned and had to drive 48 miles to Fargo to buy dried, but at this stage in the winter game I will use any excuse to get out of the house.  

I found a rather fail-safe recipe on Mark Bittman’s blog Bitten. He says the secret to getting the patties to stick together is to use as little water as possible when grinding the beans. I ended up not having to use any, but you can save some of the soaking liquid just in case you need help getting everything moving in the food processor. 

Since the food processor was already dirty, I decided topuree up a lemony tahini sauce to serve alongside. You could definitely chop the garlic and parsley by hand and mix the sauce together in a bowl if you want to make this sauce at another time or simply don’t feel like lugging out the food processor.  If you are in a rush Bittman suggests stirring together some tahini and yogurt or serving them with hot sauce. 


Homemade falafel recipe with a creamy lemon tahini sauce for drizzling or dipping. Dairy free!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Soaking time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 462kcal


For the Falafel

  • 1 3/4 cup dried garbanzo beans
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1/2 small yellow onion quartered
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the Lemon Tahini Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For Serving

  • Pita or lavash
  • lettuce
  • cucumbers
  • Kalamata olives


  • for the falafel:
  • Place beans in a large container and cover by 3 to 4 inches with water; they will triple in size. Let soak overnight, add more water if necessary.
  • Drain beans, saving the soaking water, and place in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add remaining ingredients except oil and pulse until all ingredients are minced and mixture comes together, but doesn’t form a paste. Stop motor occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl and add soaking water a tablespoon at a time if necessary to get mixture moving. Shape into 2-inch patties and set on a baking sheet. (These can be made a couple of hours in advance, covered and chilled).
  • Pour oil in a large cast iron skillet or frying pan until it reaches an inch up the sides of the pan. Heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°F on a deep fat fry thermometer or until a wooden chopstick inserted in the oil is immediately covered with bubbles.
  • Add patties a few at a time and let fry until browned on one side, about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side. (If they are browning too quickly reduce heat or raise the heat if not fast enough.) Remove from oil to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining patties.
  • You can serve the falafel on their own with the tahini sauce as an appetizer or make into a sandwich by tucking them into a toasted pita or lavash with some lettuce, cucumbers and olives and a drizzle of sauce on top.
  • for the sauce:
  • Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until smooth, adding more water if necessary to make into a pourable sauce.

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