Falafel with Israeli Salad #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on November 3, 2013

Falafel with Israeli Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Here in San Francisco, the quest to find the best falafel seems never ending. I should know, I’ve been sampling them all over town for as long as I can remember. The one place that had it right, Just Like Home, disappeared eons ago. Meanwhile a parade of places serving dried-up hockey pucks has taken its place, usually over-hyped and over-priced. And I’m sorry to say, Trader Joe’s, you know I love you, but the patties in your freezer section just don’t cut it. So when Amanda over at Macromama announced she was hosting a Middle Eastern themed #SundaySupper, I decided it was high time I start making my own falafel–perhaps I should have started in my own kitchen in the first place!

The history of falafel is somewhat muddled, but it’s generally accepted that it originated in Egypt during ancient times. (The Oxford Companion to Food, 1999.) The word itself means “pepper.” The patties are a blend of ground-up chickpeas and spices, which are deep-fried and are either enjoyed straight or eaten as a sandwich in pita bread, and topped with a variety of items such as hummus, pickled vegetables, and tahini. It’s popular street food in the Middle East, especially in Israel where it is considered the national dish.

It’s also an economical dish, which is funny considering falafel sandwiches are so darn expensive in SF. Not to mention it’s simple to make. Seriously, everything should be this easy. The food processor is your best friend here, and within minutes, you’ll be ready to pop them into the fryer. You’ll note that I pan-fried mine, but if you have a deep fryer, that’s definitely the way to go. I’ve also included a recipe for Israeli Salad–a blend of Roma tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, green onions, and parsley. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll want it with every meal, just as the Israelis do. The falafel recipe itself was adapted from an old cookbook I’ve had around since the 80s–New Jewish Cuisine by Gila Berkowitz. The patties are flavorful and moist, and the whole recipe probably cost less than what I’d pay for a single sandwich downtown.

Enjoy!

Falafel with Israeli Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

In the food processor, chop up the garlic, cilantro, and scallions first, then add the remaining ingredients and whirl until thoroughly blended.

Falafel with Israeli Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

I transferred the mixture to a bowl since it’s easier to work from there.

Falafel with Israeli Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Since I don’t have a deep fryer, I cooked these in my cast iron pan.  When cooked this way, they’ll need about 4 minutes on each side.

Falafel with Israeli Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

While the falafel patties are cooking, prep the salad. Persian cucumbers work best, but if you can’t find them, English cucumbers will work just fine.

Falafel with Israeli Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

A friend’s mom used to make this salad all the time. Once you try it, you’ll crave it like crazy.

Falafel with Israeli Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

I used this tahini sauce to top the sandwiches.

Here’s the printer friendly version:

5.0 from 1 reviews
Falafel with Israeli Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This falafel, a Middle Eastern classic, is moist and delicious served in pita bread and topped with Israeli salad.
Author:
Recipe type: snack
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 (15-oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Oil for frying
Garnishes
Instructions
  1. Add the garlic, scallions, and cilantro to a food processor bowl, and whirl until finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients, and process until completely blended.
  2. Add enough oil to the frying pan so that it reaches about 1 inch deep, and heat over medium-high heat until an inserted thermometer reads 360F.
  3. Shape the falafel mixture into balls about 1½ inches in diameter, and add to the hot oil in batches, cooking until golden brown (about 4 minutes on each side). Drain on paper towels.
  4. To assemble the sandwiches, cut the pita bread in half. Spread a small amount of hummus inside the pita bread. Add lettuce leaves and a couple of falafel balls. Top with Israeli Salad, tahina sauce, and schug.
Notes
If you have a deep fryer, use that for cooking instead.

 
5.0 from 1 reviews
Israeli Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A refreshing blend of cucumbers, tomatoes, and green onions, Israeli salad is the perfect falafel topping.
Author:
Recipe type: salad
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 2 Persian cucumbers
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the tomatoes and cucumbers into a fine dice. Finely chop the green onions. Add everything to a medium sized bowl, and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

 

Let’s see what other Middle Eastern treats the rest of the #SundaySupper crew has cooked up for you!

Mezze {Appetizers}

Salata {Salads and Sides}

Main

Halwa {Desserts}

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter tonight (Sunday). We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by visiting the Sunday Supper Movement page.

 

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan November 3, 2013 at 6:21 am

You need to come to my coast, we have some awesome falafel joints and they are cheap too. It’s the best lunch. :-)
Susan recently posted..Homemade Labneh Cheese #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Constance @FoodieArmyWife November 3, 2013 at 7:25 am

Mmmmm…here’s another one I want for breakfast!
Constance @FoodieArmyWife recently posted..Crockpot Curry Chicken | #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Family Foodie November 3, 2013 at 7:48 am

We have the same issue here in Florida… So hard to find a great falafel… this salad looks absolutely amazing!
Family Foodie recently posted..Roasted Tomato Hummus #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Liz November 3, 2013 at 8:28 am

Wow, my mouth is watering!!! Wish I had this for my lunch today…gorgeous!!!
Liz recently posted..Ghraybeh or Lebanese Shortbread Cookies #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Shaina November 3, 2013 at 8:39 am

There is only one place here in Boca that I know of that serves good falafel, and surprisingly it is in the mall! haha. That’s why it’s good to have great recipes like this one!
Shaina recently posted..Burnt Eggplant with Garlic, Lemon and Pomegranate Seeds for #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Marie@citronlimette November 3, 2013 at 9:53 am

Your dish looks so delicious.
Marie@citronlimette recently posted..Couscous, Lentil and Chickpea Salad #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen November 3, 2013 at 10:23 am

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I was watching Eat Street the other day and they had a falafel truck on the show. I wanted that sandwich so bad!!
Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen recently posted..Chicken Biryani for Middle Eastern #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Renee November 3, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Amazing how something so inexpensive and easy to make can cost so much when you dine out. The secret is out now. I’m so glad I have a food processor so I can whip up a batch of these in no time.
Renee recently posted..Sesame Tahini Cookies for #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Hezzi-D November 3, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Yummy! I love anything that is stuffed in a pita and the combination of the falafel and salad together look great!

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Courtney @ Neighborfood November 3, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Economical, easy, and delicious? That’s all I need to hear to send this to the top of my to-make list!
Courtney @ Neighborfood recently posted..Fried Honey Citrus Cakes #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Julie @ Texan New Yorker November 4, 2013 at 6:51 am

This looks so tasty. I’ve got to try making my own falafel sometime too. You can find it all over New York – the street carts sell it, but their other dishes are often not good, so I’ve been wary of trying the falafel. (Hey, if you can make chicken thighs taste dry and chewy, I don’t want to think about what you would do to chickpeas and veggies!) I’ll have to take matters into my own hands, too, I suppose! :)
Julie @ Texan New Yorker recently posted..Chicken Shawarma #SundaySupperMy Profile

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The Wimpy Vegetarian November 4, 2013 at 2:27 pm

That does it. I’m making these for sure. I’ve lived here in the Bay Area for over 20 years and still haven’t tried falafel. This recipe looks perfect to me. Pinning right now!
The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Charred Eggplant and Chickpea Stew: SundaySupperMy Profile

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Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom) November 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm

There’s this hole-in-the-wall in the Mission called Truly Mediterranean. I was skeptical at first , but their falafel were light and perfect, not heavy and greasy. I miss that place…

BUT homemade is best and these look great! :-)
Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom) recently posted..Shakshuka for Two #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Anne Papina November 6, 2013 at 8:55 am

oooh thanks for the tip!

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Lane @ Supper for a Steal November 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I’m on a never-ending quest to find the best falafel too! There was a Lebanese place down the road that had the best and of course it went out of business. I remember having it in Paris a few years ago, but don’t recall if it was the best (must not have been if I can’t remember!) Now I make it myself too. I love finding new recipes to try. Can’t wait to try yours.
Lane @ Supper for a Steal recently posted..Muhammara for Middle Eastern #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips November 7, 2013 at 3:16 am

You gotta love that the simplest dishes are the most expensive! these look so good!
Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips recently posted..Creamy Balsamic Greek Yogurt Vinaigrette Salad DressingMy Profile

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