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.


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.
Recipe type: snack
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 4
  • 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
  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.
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.
Recipe type: salad
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 4
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 2 Persian cucumbers
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  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}


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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