3 interesting falafel variations: enriched with sesame, zucchini or beets | food

According to Vilma Judkajien, food expert of the “Iki” shopping chain, mentioned in the press release, falafels are enjoying a real golden age recently, but this dish appeared many years ago.

True, the history of falafel is confusing, and their origin is not entirely clear. Falafels are said to have mostly originated in Egypt and were inspired by Indian cuisine. Legend has it that dishes similar to falafel were eaten in this country as far back as the 4th century. True, then falafels are not made of chickpeas, but Fava bean Beans. The name of the dish “falafelia” is said to be derived from the name of this type of bean.

It is believed that the Jews who lived in Yemen made this dish more popular, who started serving falafel balls in pita. Due to its simple preparation and excellent taste, falafels quickly became a traditional street food in the Middle East, which over time became popular around the world.

Falafels are based on chickpeas and sometimes beans and are a great way to add more plant-based foods to your daily menu.

“Currently, falafels are considered a traditional food not only in Egypt, but also in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Israel. Since they are based on nutritious chickpeas and sometimes beans, they are a good way to include more plant-based foods in your daily menu. Mostly, this dish is made from the already mentioned chickpeas, Fresh herbs such as parsley, coriander, dill, as well as onion, garlic and, of course, ground spices: cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper. All these ingredients are ground, then a little flour is added to the dough, formed into small balls and cooked in oil”, V. Judkazien says.

Strelkabelka Photo/Falafels with toppings

Strelkabelka Photo/Falafels with toppings

Don’t be afraid to experiment

After preparing falafel mass at home, it is not necessary to fry them immediately. You should wrap it in cling film or seal it in an airtight container. The prepared mass can be stored in the refrigerator for about 4 days, and after making such “preparations” for this dish, you will not be long to prepare a quick, but nutritious dinner for the family.

Although falafels are traditionally made from chickpeas, you can freely experiment when preparing their mass: add beetroot, zucchini, pumpkin, other vegetables and mix together various favorite, most unexpected, spices. In this way, falafels do not have an unusual taste, but look colorful on the plate.

Vida Press Photo/Falafels with beets

Vida Press Photo/Falafels with beets

Falafels are usually served with vegetable salads: cucumber, tomato and onion, olives. Various sauces or spreads are an integral part of this dish, starting with the traditional hummus and ending with a mild yogurt sauce. Those who like full falafels often choose to eat them in a pita or serve them with fresh bread.

Vida Press Photo/Pitos

Vida Press Photo/Pitos

And according to nutritionists, falafels are traditionally fried in boiling oil, those who want to make a healthier version of this dish are advised to bake them in the oven. The only way to cook falafels this way is to turn them from time to time – this way they cook evenly.

V. Juodkazienė shares three recipes for falafel with toppings.

Sesame falafels with hummus and Greek bread


  • 500 grams of boiled chickpeas;
  • 2 cloves of garlic;
  • 1 small onion;
  • 4 tbsp. spoon fresh parsley;
  • ¼ tsp. spoon hot pepper spices;
  • 4 tbsp. spoon sesame;
  • 1 tea. spoon coriander seeds;
  • 1 tea. spoon cumin spice;
  • ¼ tsp. spoon ground black pepper;
  • 1 tea. spoon of salt;
  • 2 tbsp. tablespoon olive oil;
  • 50 grams of whole grain flour;
  • 1 tea. spoon baking powder.


1. Wash the chickpeas, dry them and put them in an electric blender. Add chopped onions, garlic and greens and mash everything.

2. Add sesame and coriander seeds to the resulting mass, add cumin, pepper, hot pepper spices and salt, pour olive oil and mash everything again – don’t worry if there are large pieces.

3. Pour the prepared falafel mass into a bowl and use a spoon to mix in the flour, pre-mixed with baking powder.

4. Form small balls from the prepared mass and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

5. Put the falafels in an oven preheated to 190 °C and bake for about 15 minutes.

For the Greek Bread:

  • 400 grams of flour;
  • 10 grams of dry yeast;
  • 1 tea. spoon of sugar;
  • 1 tbsp. tablespoon olive oil;
  • 200 ml warm water;
  • 1 tea. spoon of salt.


1. Put sugar and dry yeast in a bowl and pour 50 ml of warm water. Wait 10 minutes until the yeast foams.

2. Sift the flour into a clean bowl, add the salt, mix, then add the foamy yeast mixture, olive oil and remaining warm water. Knead the dough until smooth, then cover the bowl with the dough with cling film or a cloth towel and wait for about 40 minutes.

3. When the dough rises, knead the dough again, divide it into 8 equal parts and form balls. Leave them covered for another 15 minutes, and when they rise a bit, roll each ball into a round pancake.

4. Place a tray lined with baking paper in the oven and heat to 250°C.

5. When the tin is hot, place the formed dough in it and bake for about 3-4 minutes – until it starts to puff. Then flip the bread and cook for a couple of minutes. Store baked loaves in a covered container to prevent them from hardening.

For the hummus:

  • 1 tbsp. spoon sesame paste Tahini;
  • 2 tbsp. spoon of lemon juice;
  • 2 cloves of garlic;
  • 300 grams of boiled chickpeas;
  • ¼ tsp. spoon of salt;
  • ¼ tsp. spoon cumin;
  • A pinch of hot pepper seasoning;
  • 2-3 tbsp. spoon water;
  • 1 tbsp. spoon olive oil.


1. Pour sesame paste and lemon juice into an electric blender, add chopped garlic and blend everything. Then add the washed and drained chickpeas to the blender and grind them until smooth. Add salt, cumin, hot pepper spice and grind a little more. Finally, add some water, mash again, then add more water and mash again – add water and mash until the hummus is smooth.

2. Place the prepared hummus in a small bowl and drizzle with olive oil.

For the sauce:

  • 100 ml of olive oil;
  • 4 tbsp. spoon fresh parsley;
  • A pinch of salt.


Add chopped parsley in a small bowl, pour olive oil, add a pinch of salt and mix everything well.

For the salad:

  • 1 avocado;
  • 1 lemon juice;
  • 1 handful of lettuce and purple cabbage leaves.


1. Peel the avocado, remove the pit, cut into small pieces and sprinkle with lemon juice.

2. Add the washed and dried lettuce and cabbage leaves to the salad bowl, add the avocado pieces and mix everything.

Zucchini Falafels


  • 200 grams of zucchini;
  • 400 grams of boiled chickpeas;
  • 2nd century salt;
  • ½ tea. spoon ground black pepper;
  • 1 tea. spoon ground coriander;
  • 2 cloves of garlic;
  • 1 small onion;
  • ½ hot pepper;
  • 50 grams of fresh parsley;
  • 50 grams of young spinach leaves;
  • 50 grams of flour;
  • 1 tbsp. spoon sesame;
  • 1 tbsp. tablespoon olive oil;
  • 200 grams of young beetroot.

For the sauce:

  • 50 grams of boiled chickpeas;
  • 1 tea. spoon sesame paste Tahini;
  • 1 tbsp. spoon of lemon juice;
  • a pinch of salt;
  • 1 tbsp. spoon chopped red onion;
  • 250 ml of yogurt.


1. Grate the zucchini, add salt, mix and wait for about 10 minutes until the liquid is released. Pour off the excess water and squeeze the zucchini, wrapped in a cloth towel.

2. Add washed and drained chickpeas, zucchini, chopped onion, parsley and spinach to an electric blender. Mash all these ingredients until you get a mass with a coarse texture. Then add salt, pepper, coriander spice, chopped hot pepper, flour, sesame seeds and mix everything well with a spoon.

3. Form thick pieces from the resulting mass, place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle with olive oil and place in the oven.

4. Bake at 200 °C for about 20 minutes.

5. While the falafels are baking, prepare the sauce. Pour sesame paste and lemon juice into a food processor, add washed and dried chickpeas and grind everything. Then add salt, add onions and stir the curd with a spoon. Refrigerate the sauce until ready to use.

6. Wrap the cooked falafels in washed beetroot leaves and serve with cold sauce, Greek bread and your favorite fresh vegetables – cabbage, corn or cucumbers are perfect.

Beet falafels with yogurt sauce


  • 350 grams of boiled chickpeas;
  • 200 grams of boiled beetroot;
  • 2 cloves of garlic;
  • 1 onion;
  • 1 tbsp. spoon sesame;
  • 1 tea. spoon ground coriander seeds;
  • 1 tea. spoon cumin;
  • 1 tea. spoon of salt;
  • ½ tea. spoon ground black pepper;
  • 3 tbsp. spoon spelled flour;
  • 1 tea. spoon baking powder;
  • 3 tbsp. spoon bread crumbs;
  • 1 tbsp. spoon olive oil.

For the sauce:

  • 250 ml of yogurt;
  • 1 clove of garlic;
  • 1 tbsp. spoon fresh coriander;
  • a pinch of salt;
  • Juice of 1 lemon.

For the dish:

  • 100 grams of yellow pepper;
  • 1 red onion;
  • 50 grams of young spinach leaves;
  • 30 grams of red cabbage;
  • 2 tbsp. spoon fresh coriander;
  • 4 large Greek loaves.


1. Wash the chickpeas in cold water, dry them, put them in an electric blender and grind them. Add chopped beetroot, onion, garlic, sesame and coriander seeds to the resulting mass, rub again, then add salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, flour and baking powder mixture and mash everything until smooth.

2. Place the falafel mass in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

3. Form balls from the cooled mass, place them in a tin covered with baking paper. Press each ball with your hand, forming a disc about 2 cm thick. Drizzle the falafels with olive oil, place in an oven preheated to 190°C and bake for about 20 minutes.

4. While the falafels are baking, prepare the sauce. Pour yogurt, lemon juice, chopped garlic and coriander in a bowl, add some salt and mix everything.

5. Serve falafels on Greek bread with chopped vegetables and yogurt sauce.

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