Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern “fast food” made of a mixture of chickpeas, fresh herbs, and spices that are formed into small patties or balls. The balls are then fried or baked until golden brown.

They can be eaten on a platter with a Mediterranean style salad, with creamy cucumber tzaitki or a tahini sauce. Or, another popular option is to spoon all of these ingredients into a warm whole wheat pita for a fast food healthy sandwich. It’s not a big Mac and fries and it’s loaded with plant based protein and fiber that is good for you.

It is believed that falafel originated in Egypt as Coptic Christians looked for a hearty replacement for meat during long seasons of fasting or lent.  It has also become a popular vegan food in Egypt and throughout the Middle East and in the US too.

I like to serve my falafel with my Greek salad and tzaziki.

This vegan dish is made with simple, everyday ingredients. You must use dried garbanzo beans. Canned beans will not produce the results that you are looking for.  The dried garbanzo beans must be soaked overnight so you do need to plan ahead a bit. Season the falafel mixture with dried ground cumin and coriander. Or you can roast cumin and coriander seeds and then grind them in a small spice grinder. Garlic, onion, parsley, and a pinch of cayenne are also added to the garbanzo bean mixture.

You can make the falafel mixture ahead and it will keep in the fridge for a few days. You can also make it and freeze the uncooked mixture for future use. The cooked falafel balls do not keep well in the fridge or the freezer. Always plan to cook and eat falafel while it is crisp and crunchy and hot.

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