Mint Falafel Pitas with Smoky Sweet Tahini
Do you know what the secret is to making AMAZING falafel at home? My falafel recipe will give you that wonderful, textured, crisp bite of restaurant and food truck falafel. Try this recipe, and never make soggy falafel again!
For the falafel:
- 1 ½ cups chickpeas, dry
- ½ cup scallion, roughly chopped
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 (48oz) bottle Canola oil, (for deep frying, but you can pan fry in a few Tbsp of oil if you prefer)
For the Smoky Sweet Tahini:
- ¼ cup tahini
- 6 Tbsp water
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 dash pepper
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp lemon, or more to taste
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Pita bread
- Tomato, sliced
- Fresh Feta, (omit to keep this meal vegan)
Parboil the chickpeas
At least 4 hours before you plan to make the falafel batter, parboil the chickpeas. Do this by placing the chickpeas in a small pot of water, and bring it to a boil over high heat. (Make sure the water covers the chickpeas by at least 1½ inches.)
Once boiling, lower the heat to medium low, and let the chickpeas simmer for 15 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the chickpeas at a simmer.
Let the chickpeas sit
After 15 minutes, turn off the heat, and let the chickpeas sit in the water for at least 4 hours. You can do this step in the morning before you leave for work, or even the night before you plan to make the falafel.
Make the falafel batter
After the parboiled chickpeas have sat for at least 4 hours, make the falafel batter. Drain the chickpeas, and add them to the bowl of a food processor, followed by the scallion, mint, sea salt, paprika, and smoked paprika.
Pulse a few times to get things going, then process for about a minute. Open the lid, scrape the sides, close, and process again. Process until the chickpeas and the herbs have become small bits and flecks. Don’t process too much! We definitely want texture here.
Finish and refrigerate the batter
Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, water, and baking soda. Mix until everything comes together.
You don’t want a dry batter, but it also can’t be overly moist. You should be able to take a chunk of the batter and easily roll a ball, like cookie dough. If the batter is too wet to do this, add a little more of the breadcrumbs. If it is too dry to roll a ball, add a little bit more water.
Once you’ve got the right texture, refrigerate the batter for at least 30 minutes before you plan to fry the falafel. (You can also refrigerate the falafel batter overnight.)
Make the Smoky Sweet Tahini Sauce
While the falafel batter refrigerates, make the tahini sauce. Just throw the tahini, water, garlic, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, lemon juice, and maple syrup in the food processor. Process until smooth. Taste, and add more lemon juice to preference. Done!
Make the falafel balls
Form the falafel into balls or patties. I prefer to mold the falafel into 1 ½ inch balls, but you can truly do whatever size or shape your prefer. (I get 16-18 one and one half inch falafel balls with this recipe.)
You can pan fry the falafel in a few Tbsp of oil over medium heat, for about 3 minutes on each side until brown. Or you can deep fry the falafel. I prepare this recipe both ways, and each way is delicious.
Deep fry the falafel
To deep fry, heat 48 oz Canola oil over high heat in a large pot for 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, lower 3-4 falafel into the hot oil. Fry the falafel in the oil until they turn a deep, golden brown color. Move the falafel around once or twice while they fry to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. This should take about 3 minutes.
Remove the falafel from the oil with a slotted spoon, and set them on a plate covered with a paper towel to remove excess oil. Repeat this process until all of the falafel is fried.
Compile the pitas and serve!
Open the pita pocket. Spread some of the tahini sauce inside. Layer some spinach on top of the sauce, followed by the falafel. I like to kind of smash the falafel balls a bit so that the pita lays a little flatter.
Now put in the tomato slices, sprinkle in some feta (if using), drizzle a little more sauce, and serve! These falafel pita sandwiches are great alone, or with a nice salad. Enjoy!
It is an extra step to start with dry chickpeas and parboil them, but trust me, it is SOOOOO WORTH it. If you haven’t tried making falafel this way before, just do it. Please do it. I promise you will never go back to soggy-canned-chickpea-falafel again!
This mint falafel is even better when served with my Smoky Sweet Tahini sauce. This falafel and tahini sauce would be great over a bed of greens, but I love them even more sandwiched in a pita. Make these delicious mint falafel pitas, and tell me if you enjoy them as much as I do!