I bet you don’t realize how easy it is to make falafel at home. First step: buy dried chickpeas. Of all the dried beans you may have on hand, chickpeas probably aren’t at the top of the list (but that might change after you try this recipe). For most chickpea recipes, I would never dream of cooking them when it is so easy to pop open a can. For this recipe, however, canned chickpeas would turn an otherwise light falafel into one that is dense and gummy (check out this Serious Eats article to learn more).
Next: soak the chickpeas overnight in a large bowl of water. The next morning, drain and add to a food processor, along with a bunch of fresh herbs and spices. This is where my recipe differs a bit – I add grated carrots and some carrot tops for a bit of extra flavor and nutrition (which never hurts, especially when feeding the littles). Don’t have carrots? You could use other grated roots, like beets (for a sweet ass pink falafel), kohlrabi or parsnips.
Finally: blitz everything in a food processor for a minute or so and then form into patties. You can form them into various sizes; I have tried them around 1″ across and also a bit larger at 2″ across. The smaller sizes do take a bit longer to shape but I find they fit into pita pockets easier and I also like the ratio of soft interior to crispy exterior better.
You could definitely fry these right away but I prefer to lay them on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze the whole batch. Unlike most other freezer meals, these don’t have to be defrosted before cooking. Plop those bad boys right into hot oil and your meal will be ready in no time.
Eating falafel is mostly (or all?) about the toppings. When deciding what to stuff into a pita, I like to have something fresh, something spicy and something pickled. Here are some options: olives, pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, hot sauce, Sriracha, tahini sauce, yogurt sauce, fresh herbs, and fresh veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, onions or greens.