{Recipe: Falafel with Lemon Tahini Dressing}

Sometimes it’s a challenge to come up with a creative dish.  I’m finding that I’m hitting a routine again where I’m making the same dinners over and over again and, well, it’s getting a little boring.  When this happens, drastic measures must be taken.  Ignored are the boxes of pasta in our pantry.  The same goes for couscous and rice.  Then I look to see what’s left.

I reached my breaking point one recent night.  We happened to be particularly low on ingredients. The shelves in our cabinet were stocked with just a few cans of garbanzos.  The fridge was filled with greens, including two heads of cabbage. Oh, and a massive bag of carrots.  A bean salad, maybe? Naaaaaaah.


When I’m in a rut, I tend to refer to my handy dandy Cuisinart food processor for some guidance.  I’m telling you, friends, I don’t know what I’d do without this thing.  I’ll use mine at least three times a week to make anything from pesto to cookie dough (easiest way to make shortbread).

So, I glanced over at the little guy with pleading eyes. HELP ME! And then… vwahla!  Falafel.  Within 30 minutes I had a satisfying, vegetarian meal.  And it didn’t involve pasta.  Or couscous.  Or rice.  Just beans, shredded carrot, and some fresh herbs and spices.

Falafel with Lemon Tahini Dressing

Ingredients for Falafel

3 carrots, peeled

16 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed and dried

1/4 cup fresh mint

1/4 cup fresh parsley

2 cloves garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp sriracha

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp salt

1 tablespoon chickpea flour

For the dressing

3 tbsp tahini

juice of half a lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp sugar

a pinch of salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cover the top of a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using the shredding disc of the food processor, shred the carrots.  Transfer to a bowl.

Switch to the chopping knife blade of the food processor.  Add the next ten ingredients to the bowl of the food processor and process until all the ingredients come together, but mixture is not completely smooth.

Add the chickpea mixture to the carrots and stir to combine.  Mix in the chickpea flour until it is incorporated into mixture.  Add more if the mixture seems too wet to work with.

Roll the mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, into 20 balls and line up on the baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes (though it may need a few minutes longer) and then rotate the falafel so it browns on each side. Bake for another 5-7 minutes.  Check to see if they are done or if they need another couple of minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.

Serve the falafel in a couple of lettuce or purple cabbage leaves, topped with some chopped tomato and some red pepper. Drizzle the dressing on top and enjoy!


  • September 21, 2011 - 12:40 am

    Yuri - Twitter has been full of great recipes today, first the green tea mille crepe over at @zenchef and now this… Love the purple cabbage cups and the *baked* falafels :)ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 12:44 am

    Vijitha - I love falafels and like the twist with cooked garbanzo beans. I tried making falafels with black eyed peas and Indian lentils. Serving it in a cabbage cups is a great idea. Baked ones are healthier and it will be South beach friendly too. I am going to try it for sure.ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 1:24 am

    Rosa - Falafels are so delicious and so is tahini dressing. Your recipe is fabulous! I love those purple cabbage cups. Creativity usually comes when there’s a lack of ingredients…



  • September 21, 2011 - 2:48 am

    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen - I love that these are oven baked. So fast and healthy!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 6:28 am

    Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living - I’ve found that sometimes it is the instances where I have few ingredients to work with when I get the most creative. This falafel recipe sounds great; and I’m completely with you regarding my food processor: I use it practically every day and couldn’t imagine my life without it ;).

    I need to try these!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 7:12 am

    Rosie @ Sweetapolita - I love this recipe, and I love any reason to use my food processor! I agree with Sylvie – I love that these are baked. I think I could make these, Brian :) Lovely, lovely photos (particularly the top photo – stunning).ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 7:35 am

    Chef Dennis - I have been wanting to make falafel, but didn’t know where to start, thanks so much for sharing your recipe and that outstanding tahini dressing! I know my girls will love it!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 7:47 am

    A Plum By Any Other Name - Baking the falafel is not only easier than frying … but with my birthday coming up soon it will leave plenty of space for cake. Can’t wait to try this out!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 7:50 am

    Gail - BAKED falafel! FABULOUS, Brian! I’m adding this to winter roster of meals. xoxoReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 7:52 am

    Meeta - Love falafel – food I grew up on living in the Middle East for most of my younger years. I have a recipe on the blog too, like that these are baked. Hope you had a great Birthday Brian!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 8:02 am

    thelittleloaf - I love inspirational moments like this – wonderful creations from store cupboard staples! These look absolutely delicious – and love that they aren’t deep fried either.ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 8:04 am

    Candace - I had no idea that making falafel was so easy and that they were baked make them even better. These look absolutely fantastic and I love the lemon tahini dressing! I’m going to check my kitchen to see if I have everything to make these. If not, they are going on the menu plan for sure. Thank you for sharing your recipes. I can’t wait to make these!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 8:32 am

    Michelle - I’d have to agree that my food processor is one of my favorite appliances in the kitchen!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 8:32 am

    natalie (the sweets life) - falafel has been on my ‘to make’ list FOREVER and i still haven’t gotten around to it. yours look wonderful!

    ps. i share the love for the food processor!!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 8:33 am
  • September 21, 2011 - 8:46 am

    Anita Menon - looks so good. One of my go to foods in the vegetarian department.ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 8:46 am

    nicole - we have several cans of garbanzo beans in our cabinets. I am going to have to stop getting take out falafel and make it myself one day.ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 9:06 am

    Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids - This looks amazingly delicious. I cannot wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 10:27 am

    The Tiffin Girl - Baked falafels are a genius idea! I make them often, but I flatten them into patties so I can stuff them into pita pockets.

    I usually make tzatziki sauce, but I’ll have to try your sauce next time. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 11:00 am

    Beth Michelle - Your falafel looks so yummy! I love how you used cabbage in place of pita bread. I will have to try that sometime. Beautiful photos!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 11:47 am

    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts - I have never tried Falafel before, but it sounds wonderful! The Tahini Dressing sounds like the perfect pairing for this. Seems like you might be out of your rut!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 12:03 pm

    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic - I love falafel but never made it myself. Awesome job coming up with this!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 12:50 pm

    MikeVFMK - Brian, I love love love falafels. But I rarely if ever make it. I also get in a rut and it’s so good to come up with new, delicious ideas! Likee this! Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 1:02 pm

    Georgie - This is “really” good stuff! You have the most interesting presentation and the food and photography is constantly gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 1:05 pm

    Emily @ A Cambridge Story - Love that you served this in cabbage! I think random inspiration prompted by an empty pantry is the best kind!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 2:30 pm

    Jeanette - I’ve never made falafel before, but I love that these are more healthy and baked.ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 5:20 pm

    Margaret - I love that this was created out of what was in your pantry. I think when we are left with limited ingredients we often come up with the most creative dish. These falafels look delicious. Btw, I love the picture of someone holding your food. I assume it’s E? I’d love to be your hand model one day! :-)ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 5:31 pm

    Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic - My life seems suddenly devoid of Cuisinarts …ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 5:48 pm

    Barbara | Creative Culinary - I think I come up with some of my most creative dishes when I’m forced to use limited ingredients on hand. That being said, I seldom think of them as something photo or blog worthy since there were just a quick mesh of ingredients; not something I’ve planned. I should revise that way of thinking maybe? I know this sure looks good!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 7:51 pm

    Hester aka The Chef Doc - Oh fab, Brian. I like that you bake the falafels instead of fry them. I’d like to try this healthier alternative. Thanks for sharing the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 8:51 pm

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction - Oh, this dish sounds amazing… I often get in a rut and have trouble getting out. Getting out the food processor is a brilliant idea. Especially if it yields a dish like this :)ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2011 - 10:10 pm

    Lora ~ cakeduchess - I love falafel and never thought of adding carrots to batter…so healthy and delicious. I get in a rut and challenge myself to make something totally different and it is always so refreshing:)ReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2011 - 7:08 am

    Joanne - Falafel is one of those things that I crave…every second of every day. I love that you served it in those gorgeous cabbage cups! Such a beautiful meal…I would never believe that it was a clean-out-the-pantry type of endeavor.ReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2011 - 12:10 pm

    Kulsum@Journeykitchen - Gorgeous. Being born and brought up in Middle East its no suprise I love falafels but your lemon tahini dressing got me drooling!ReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2011 - 1:17 pm

    Kita - I can’t tell you how much I love my food processor either! These falafel look beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2011 - 4:26 pm

    Lisa {With Style and Grace} - this recipe looks incredible. must make!ReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2011 - 7:42 pm

    merry jennifer - I’ve had falafel, but I’ve never made it. Yours is the first recipe that had me *really* wanting to make it. And believing I can.
    Thanks, Brian.ReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2011 - 9:03 pm

    bunkycooks - I love falafel as street food, but now I may need to try it at home.ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2011 - 12:15 am

    Kim Bee - Congrats on top 9! This is really out of this world. Great recipe and wonderful pics.ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2011 - 7:01 am

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - This sounds delightful! Yum!ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2011 - 9:22 am

    April - congrats on the top 9! I actually added this to my to do list a couple of days ago :)ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2011 - 9:52 am

    Holly - I never knew how easy falafel is to make. I know I have a can of garbanzo beans lying around, and I’ll definitely be trying this!ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2011 - 10:36 am

    Brooks at Cakewalker - Brian, this entry is a terrific routine-breaker! MY area is devoid of good falafel houses, so to have this accessible recipe brings it straight to my kitchen – thank you for sharing it. I appreciate the baked falafel vs. the commonplace fried versions. Congratulations on making the Top 9. Bravo!ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2011 - 1:19 pm

    sara - love love love. the food processor is a god send, I’m not sure what I was doing without one for a few years. The dressing, in cabbage, mmm my favorite kind of meal.ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2011 - 2:12 pm

    Jenn - This sounds super refreshing, I think I will try it this weekend! And I love that these are baked instead of fried :)ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2011 - 3:26 pm

    Christine - Congrats on Foodbuzz top 9!ReplyCancel

  • September 24, 2011 - 3:32 pm

    Sharon - Love falafel but never tried making at home, you have inspired to now though!! I happen to have some cans of garbanzo beans laying around so looks like could go on next weeks menu!! Love the idea of the cabbage cups, thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • September 25, 2011 - 9:38 am

    Curt - This sounds very good. I like all the cumin in there. Even 1 teaspoon can go a long way.ReplyCancel

  • September 26, 2011 - 12:41 pm

    Chez Us - I have falafel on my to-make list; just never get around to it. You have made it look so easy, that now I am inspired even more.ReplyCancel

  • September 26, 2011 - 5:40 pm

    Sneh | Cook Republic - Lovely recipe! Love the opening shot, so fresh and inviting!ReplyCancel

  • October 9, 2011 - 1:19 pm

    Ranjani - What a perfect impromptu meal!ReplyCancel

  • October 22, 2011 - 4:12 pm

    Andrew Frishman - MMMNNNN. . . I LOVES me some falafel.

    No estoy seguro si hay una differencia entre Chick Peas y Garbonzos.ReplyCancel

  • October 27, 2011 - 6:56 am

    norma - Congrats on Foodbuzz. I remember the first time I had Falafel. A little joint right across the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan about 20 years ago and it is still one of my favorite to go dishes.ReplyCancel

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