Recipe - Baked Falafel in a Pita

After Duc's first experience with falafel in San Jose, I think he got hooked to it even though he wasn't sure what they were made of. He asked me one day then to make some since he started craving them and was curious what went into them. I'm a big fan too of falafel but I don't like deep frying things. It ends up being messy and just generally greasy (it's a vat of oil!). So I wondered if one could bake falafel instead. This led to some internet searching and yes, it was possible! It won't necessarily be as crunchy as you may be accustomed to but it fixes the craving. Oh also, due to its being baked, they will be patties instead of fried balls.

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 8-10 patties)
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsps coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • olive oil
      Tahini Sauce
  • 1 medium lemon, juice only
  • 1/2 cup tahni
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped 
Step 2: Making the falafel mix
The fun part about  making all of this is that it's not very complicated. You just need a good food processor that can thoroughly pulse everything into a wet "paste" of sorts. Grab half a bunch of parsley and cilantro each and chop in half to fit better into the processor. Add in as well as the garlic and garbanzo beans. I don't have a big processor so I eventually had to transfer everything to a bowl to mix in the spices but you can put that right into the machine itself. Use oil as needed to create a partially wet mix.


Step 3: Forming the patties
Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a large baking sheet very well as the oil on this will prevent sticking and help crisp up the patties as best it can. Form patties about 1/2" thick (approximately 8-10) and place on the baking sheet. Drizzle plenty of oil on each patty to give it a nice sheen - this will help the crisping. Bake for 10 minutes before taking out to flip over. Bake for an additional 15-18 minutes or until the patties become a golden brown. Make the sauce while you wait.


Step 4: Making the sauce
While the patties are baking, make yourself some simple and tasty tahini sauce to use. Blend together the tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic. Yep, that simple.

Step 5: Finishing
When the falafel is ready, remove from the oven and let cool a little. In the meantime, heat up some pita pockets. You can use whichever veggies you wish to top your falafel in a pita. I went simple and diced up some tomatoes with shredded Romaine. Place falafel into pocket as well as veggies. Drizzle a good amount of tahini sauce on it and enjoy!

Photography by Minerva Thai.