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Image / Living / Food & Drink

What to eat tonight: Traditional chickpea falafel pockets

by Meg Walker
17th Feb 2021

Never tried making your own falafel before? This vegan recipe is very easy and makes for a nice change to the usual midweek dinner.

Surely you have tasted, or maybe even prepared, one version of this classic falafel recipe. An intensive 24-hour soak makes the chickpeas properly soft, which gives a lovely moist yet light mixture that is easy to digest.

Traditional Chickpea Falafel Pockets
Makes 24-26 small falafels


  • 180g dried chickpeas
  • 80g chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, leaves only
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp bread soda
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 – tsp salt
  • 230ml oil, for frying

Serving suggestion

  • 4 pitta pockets
  • tahini sauce
  • raw vegetables (such as sliced tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, rocket, parsley, spring onions)


Soak the chickpeas in plenty of water for 12 hours. Drain, discarding the water, cover with fresh water and let soak for another 12 hours. Drain, rinse well and let drain again for another 5 minutes.

It’s best to use a food processor fitted with an ?S? blade for blending the falafel mix, even though it can also be done in a good blender, in two batches.

First blend the drained chickpeas; the texture should resemble coarse sand. Add all the remaining ingredients (except the frying oil) and blend until you get a paste. Cover with clingfilm and let sit in the fridge for 1 hour, or longer.

Roll into walnut-sized balls, wetting your hands once in a while to prevent sticking.

Deep-fry the falafels in hot oil for 4 minutes or until nicely browned. Because we’re using soaked chickpeas, these falafels need to be deep-fried to make them digestible – baking them wouldn’t work.

Warm the pitta pockets, fill with vegetables of your choice, add falafel balls and serve with the tahini sauce. Yum!

Extracted from Falafel Forever by Dunja Gulin (Ryland, Peters & Small, approx €11.50).
Photography by Tim Atkins.