Recipes Main Courses Pizza and Sandwiches Panfried Falafel with Cumin and Garlic

Panfried Falafel with Cumin and Garlic

Nearly raw chickpeas are the key to the toothsome texture of these savory Middle Eastern patties. Tuck the falafel into warmed pita bread rounds along with a leaf of red leaf lettuce, a spoonful of chopped tomatoes, a drizzle of plain yogurt or a dollop of tahini, and a sprinkling of mint. Keep the cooked falafel warm in a low oven while you finish panfrying the rest.


  • Salt, to taste, plus 3/4 tsp.  
  • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas 
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped 
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped 
  • 1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin 
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes 
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, or as needed


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the chickpeas and cook until slightly softened but still very firm in the center, about 10 minutes. Drain the chickpeas and let cool slightly.

In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, onion, garlic and parsley and process until coarsely pureed. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the baking powder, cumin, the 3/4 tsp. salt and the red pepper flakes. Refrigerate the mixture until cold, about 1 hour.

In a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm about 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. With wet hands, shape 1/4-cup portions of the chickpea mixture into patties about 3 inches wide. Place 3 or 4 patties at a time in the pan and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes total. Repeat to shape and cook the remaining falafel, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed. Serve immediately. Makes 12 to 14 patties; serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).