Recipe: Crispy Falafel with yogurt tahini sauce and pickled onions

Recipe: Crispy Falafel with yogurt tahini sauce and pickled onions

Christina Vlahoulis | 13 April 2018

These crispy chickpea delights are super easy to make and are bursting with flavor from the fresh herbs, the spices and the toasted sesame seeds for that extra crunch. They are perfectly crunchy on the outside with a nice and fluffy texture on the inside. Ideal for stuffing into pitta bread, drizzled with this creamy tahini sauce and some bright acidity from the pickled onions. A must try if you ask me.

  • Serves 4
  • Prep time 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Cooking time 30 minutes
  • Total time 2 hours 40 minutes


For the pickled onion:

  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 1cup lukewarm water
  • 1½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns

For the yogurt tahini sauce:

  • 1 cups Greek full fat yoghurt
  • ½ cup tahini paste
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 lemons, squeezed
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • ½ tsp cardamom, ground
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground

For the falafel:

  • 500 gr dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup parsley leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
  • 2 tsp chickpea flour or regular flour
  • 2 tsp cumin, ground
  • 2 tsp coriander, ground
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • Pitta bread
  • Green salad (optional)
  • Sliced Orange (optional)


  • Place sliced onions and peppercorns in a large mason jar.
  • In a small bowl, combine the warm water, white wine vinegar, sugar and salt and stir until the sugar and the salt dissolve. Pour the liquid over the onions, enough to cover them fully. Cover tightly and store in fridge, at least overnight.
  • Combine all yoghurt tahini sauce ingredients into a blender and whiz until well combined. If the texture if the sauce is too thick add a little bit of water and whiz again until you have a nice saucy consistency, Cover and place in the fridge until ready to use.
  • In the bowl of a food processor add chickpeas, onions, garlic, parsley, cilantro, scallions, flour, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Whiz the mixture, scraping down the sides and continue whizzing until it looks like couscous like (you don’t want it to turn into a paste but you don’t want it too mealy either) Transfer mixture into a bowl, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for about 2 hours.
  • After mixture has been chilled, dissolve the baking soda in 2 teaspoons cold water and pour into the falafel mixture (this helps keep the falafel balls to be light) Add the sesame seeds and mix through. Scoop out about 1½ tablespoons of the mixture and shape into balls and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Continue until all the mixture is used up.
  • Fill a deep skillet or medium saucepan with the vegetable oil and heat over medium/high heat. Once oil is hot (about 180°-190° C on a an instant read thermometer) Carefully place about 7-10 falafel balls into the oil, one at a time, allowing room between each ball. Fry until lightly browned on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes and then carefully turn balls on their other side for a further 2 minutes. Transfer cooked falafel to a paper towel lined tray and season lightly with some extra salt. Repeat with remaining falafel balls.
  • Once all ready serve with the yoghurt tahini sauce, pickled onions, green salad, sliced oranges and pitta bread.


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