The only thing better than a falafel… is a green falafel. As in, a falafel loaded with spinach, cilantro, and parsley. Some bloggers would tell you about the added boost of vitamins and nutrients due to the greens. But I’m just going to tell you this: it makes your falafel a nice color. 😉
I always thought of falafel as something you could only get in a restaurant. But this was my first falafel-making escapade, and it went remarkably well. I just loved making everything from scratch. Each bite felt that much more satisfying. And bonus: they held up pretty well in the fridge.
The beet hummus used in this recipe comes from an older recipe of mine, and I cannot recommend it enough. You can make a full batch and have a bunch for later (I spread mine on sandwiches, use it as a dip for carrots, etc), or make a half batch and use it just for the sandwiches. As for the bread, I recommend mini naan, which has a great doughiness. Though any sort of pita will work.
How to make falafel at home
These green falafel are deep fried, but I pinky promise anyone can master this recipe. Just remember to keep the oven fan on during the frying process to prevent your house from smelling like oil. To make homemade falafel, you simply have to:
Make the falafel mixture — To make the green falafel mixture, you just have to throw all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until combined. You don’t want to create a puree, as a little texture in the falafel is a good thing. But you want everything to be blended well enough that it’ll stick together when rolled into balls.
Freeze the raw falafel — Before frying the falafel, you need to freeze them for around 30 minutes. This will help them hold together better in the oil, and will make the outside nice and crispy.
Fry the falafel — Fry the falafel for a few minutes until they’re a gorgeous golden brown color. The oil in your pan should be about an inch deep, and you should heat it to 350ºF before you start frying the green falafel. (If the oil temperature is too low, the falafel will just sit there and soak up excess oil).
Tips for making homemade falafel
Keep the falafel fairly small — You don’t want to make the falafel too big, otherwise they won’t fry up properly. Not to mention they’d be a pain to stuff into a sandwich!
Fry the falafel in batches — Fry only 5 to 6 falafel at a time. This will prevent the oil from dropping in temperature and will ensure that the falafel all cook evenly.
Place the fried falafel on a paper towel-lined plate — While you’re frying up the rest of the falafel, sit the cooked falafel on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up any excess oil.
Assembling the green falafel sandwiches
Feel free to top your falafel sandwiches however you’d like. I slathered mine with the yummy beet hummus (I like how the slightly sweet hummus offset the herby, rich falafel) and then drizzled on some yogurt and added a few arugula leaves. If you have extra time, you could add some fresh garlic, olive oil, and dill to the yogurt and make a tzatziki-like sauce. You could also pop these green falafel on top of a salad instead of eating them as a sandwich. Do what you will with this easy recipe!
In a food processor, pulse the spinach, cilantro, parsley, onion, garlic, cumin, salt, red pepper flakes, and paprika until finely diced. Do not form into a puree- the mixture should still have texture.
Add in the lemon juice, tahini, chickpeas, and flour. Pulse until the mixture reaches a consistency where it holds together when formed into a ball, but does not get too finely pureed.
Line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper. Roll falafels into 2 inch balls, then place on cookie sheet. Once finished, chill balls in freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
cook the falafel
Pour oil into a large caste iron pan until it reaches a depth of 1 inch. Heat to roughly 350°F.
Remove falafels from freezer and fry 5-6 falafels at one time. Cook for 30 seconds on one side, then continue to cook, turning occasionally, until the entire falafel is a deep golden brown. Repeat with remaining falafels.
make the sandwiches
Spread 2-3 tablespoons of beet hummus onto each pita. Top with a small handful of arugula, then 2-3 falafels, then yogurt.