Best Falafel Salad Ever (or my favorite to date)

When I was going to university I would frequent a Lebanese restaurant for take-out lunch. My favorite thing on the menu was falafel. And I have loved falafel ever since. But nothing has come close to tasting like those deep fried patties from the international food court.

Last summer I discovered the best tasting falafel recipe since my university days. It was in one of my mom’s health magazines, I don’t remember which one.

I’ve made a lot of falafels over the years (and a lot of hummus, which honestly I don’t like so much anymore, I think O.D’ed on hummus). The falafel recipe I found last summer has been my favorite to date. I tweaked it a bit and when winter arrived filed the recipe and forgot about it.

When we celebrated Céline’s birthday we ate lunch ate at a raw, organic restaurant and I had falafel. It was really good. It reminded me of my recipe from last summer, except I pan-fry mine, the restaurant dehydrates theirs. I came home, found my recipe and added to our summer menu.

The way we most often eat falafel is with salad. Damien can’t eat wheat (so, no pita) and I don’t want to eat refined grains too much. Making falafel salad is the answer to this dilemma.

In my salad e-book I share a simple strategy for preparing meal sized salads:

  1. Green leafy base
  2. Veggie & Fruit toppings
  3. Nut & Seed toppings
  4. Beans
  5. Dressing

When I make a falafel meal salad the falafel patties replace the beans. It’s more work than our usual bean topping so I do this for a supper meal, instead of our usual salad for lunch.

the patties look slightly green from the parsley in the recipe

One way to add more variety to your meal sized salads is to use other carbohydrate/protein foods instead of beans. And a falafel patties is a great way to do that. 

What makes this falafel recipe different than other recipes I’ve tried is that the beans aren’t cooked.

This falafel recipe uses soaked chickpeas. If you want, you can sprout them. I don’t. I just soak overnight or up to 24 hours. I made these with sprouted chickpeas this week. Oh my, I just changed my tune. Sprouted chickpeas are SO good and there are no worries about eating uncooked beans. I recommend this route. 

In my salad e-book Jennifer Sanders teaches us how to soak and sprout beans, illustrating with chickpeas. Perfect for a recipe like this.

Using soaked, instead of cooked beans, gives the most authentic tasting falafel I’ve ever made. For truly authentic taste I would have to deep-fry them. Instead, I fry these patties in a cast iron skillet seasoned with coconut oil. I add a bit of coconut oil in between the batches if the pans gets too dry.

What I love about this recipe is how easy it is to make. Once you’ve soaked (and sprouted - if you want) the chickpeas, you just put it all in the food processor to blend. But don’t blend too much, because the texture is what makes these patties taste most authentic, even if they aren’t deep fried. 

Best Ever Falafel Salad Recipe

Click to view and print→ Best Ever Falafel and Falafel Sauce

To make this a meal sized salad:

  • shred or finely chop your favorite leafy greens - romaine lettuce and cabbage are really good with this recipe
  • top with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, red or green onion, and a hint of mint (if you’re feeling adventurous)
  • add whole or coarsely crumbled falafel patties.
  • top with sauce

This recipe makes one meal for my family, along with all the veggies of course. It's the perfect recipe for this time of year.

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  • Sara

    Sara on Aug. 2, 2012, 1:41 p.m.

    I recently ate falafel for the first time. For some reason I thought it was meat based and not chic peas. I loved it. Thanks for the recipe. I will defiantly make it for my family.


  • Kimberly

    Kimberly on Aug. 2, 2012, 1:59 p.m.

    Thanks for the recipe. My local health food store makes great falafel's when you are in a pinch with a littl heat to delish. Except for last week they were not that good, someone else must of made them. While I was there I decided to pick up some chickpeas and make my I have a great recipe without the need to cook the chickpeas, making it a perfect week night meal, and no need to wait until the weekend to soak, and cook the beans.

    I'm looking forward to some great falafels.



  • Kika

    Kika on Aug. 2, 2012, 3:01 p.m.

    I like falafel too - also since my university days :) There used to be a place in WEM that sold them (they were always closed on Saturdays, though, their sabbath) and one on Whyte Ave - both closed long ago. I do like the idea of trying the sprouting although we do soak and eat beans many times/wk with no issues (I use Kombu in all but our black-eyed beans). I look forward to trying these new recipes.


  • Nicki

    Nicki on Aug. 2, 2012, 3:30 p.m.

    Well this is highly fortuitous. I have falafel on the menu this week and couldn't decide which recipe to go with, now I know! BTW I enjoyed the book. I'm a big salad eater, including meal-sized salads but never gave the dressing "centre stage" before, so looking forward to trying all your lovely recipes.


  • Nicole

    Nicole on Aug. 2, 2012, 5:08 p.m.

    I made falafels from a mix a few months ago and the kids did not like them. I admit they weren't too good, so I am so excited to try making them the RIGHT way! Thanks for the recipe! Did you put it there from MacGourmet? I downloaded a 20 time free trial, and I am trying to figure out how to use it! So far I can type in my own recipe, but to just get one in there from say Pinterest, it doesn't work. Hmm...

    About Eat This - Just bought cashews, so tonight I can make either the Cowboy or the roasted garlic dressing. Yummy!


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 2, 2012, 5:15 p.m.

      Yes, the printable is generated by MacGourmet (print, and save as pdf). You can't upload just any recipe to MacGourmet, it only recognizes certain formats, which is a bummer. I have to manually enter most of my recipes.  


  • Anna

    Anna on Aug. 3, 2012, 2:02 a.m.

    This recipe is almost identical to our falafel recipe from "The Vegetarian Adventure" by Rowan Bishop and Sue Carruthers, only ours has lemon juice and chilli powder also. We make about four times this quantity once a month and freeze the patties so that we can just grab them out for a really quick meal - we do have wraps with them and tabouli and green salad - yum!

    This was one of my staple cheap recipes right through medical school.


  • Anonymous

    Anonymous on Aug. 3, 2012, 7:21 a.m.

    I use almost the same recipe (found in a lebanese cooking book), only I don't fry them, but bake them in oven (15 min / 200 C). It's less work + you need less oil. You can sprinkle some oil on the falafel when you bake them (my friend recommends to sprinkle them with oil after 1/2 of the baking time, that is to open the oven after 7 - 8 min + sprinkle them), but I normally omitt the oil completely. I'll try your falafel sauce this weekend! :-) Thank you for sharing it!


  • Aimee

    Aimee on Aug. 3, 2012, 6:11 p.m.

    Am so enjoying your e-book! Just bought more Romaine and baby spinach so that I can begin my goal of meal-sized salad lunches twice a week for us.

    Was just wondering though if you could give some of your favorite combinations? Which beans go nicely with which seeds/nuts and which veggies?? Pairings, if you will? And which dressings go nicely with which combinations? I love the basic "formula" but am always inspired by knowing which combos seem to taste the best or "go with" one another.


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 16, 2012, 11:51 a.m.

      Aimee, I actually don't have favorite combos to recommend. We experiment sometimes but also eat fairly basic salads, it's not very fancy around here. A basic salad for us is romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, red pepper, topped with chick peas, sunflower seeds and dressing. Any of the dressings in the book will work with that combo. We almost always have toasted sunflower seeds as a seed topping. I don't experiment much that way. 


  • Patraq

    Patraq on Aug. 6, 2012, 1:50 a.m.

    Just wanted to update that we had these for dinner tonight, and they are DEFINITELY the best we've ever made. And the kids ate them -- bonus! So happy that we've got enough for dinner tomorrow, too. Thanks for the recipe, Renee!


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 6, 2012, 1:56 a.m.

      Woot! I love it when recipes work for other people! I'm making them this week with sprouted chickpeas, following the direction in my e-book (written by Jennifer Sanders) for sprouting chickpeas. Usually I just soak overnight but we're into sprouting these days, under my sister-in-laws' positive influence!


  • low calorie recipes

    low calorie recipes on Aug. 8, 2012, 1:23 p.m.

    Your falafel recipe seems to be good. I pan fry mine too. Looking forward to your friend's salad e-book as my kids dont like salads much and I can really do with some variety in this department!


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