This sandwich begins with the Falafel ball, a Middle Eastern specialty made of highly spiced, ground chickpea (garbanzo), deep-fried and served in pita bread with salad and a yogurt or tahini based sauce. The balls are smallish and brown, meatless, slightly crunchy and very delicious.

photo by sjdowntown.com

Steeped in history and even controversy, the Falafel's origins are considered Egyptian, however both Israelis and Palestinians take credit for first cultivating it. With it's popularity in Syria and Lebanon too, one might be hard pressed to say exactly where these tasty treats began.  When Israeli's appropriated Falafel as the "national snack" it caused resentment among Palestinians and in parts of the Arab world where the dish is considered to be authentically Arab.

But we're not here to confirm or contradict history. We're here strictly for the sake of  the Sandwich, it's abundant and satisfyingly rich flavors, attributable only to they guy who stands there and makes the one you're about to eat.  Thankfully, one can easily find a Falafel sandwich in most American cities today.

Alternatively,  you can  be adventurous and build your own Falafel sandwich, in which case, we can offer the "Indianized" version from last months 2nd place Sandwich Contest winner at S365.  Just visit Nivedita's Kitchen to grab the recipe.  Otherwise try this:

2 cups dried chickpeas
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Oil, for deep-frying
Pita bread
Tahini Dressing (recipe follows)

Lettuce, thinly shredded
Cucumbers, thinly sliced
Tomatoes, chopped
Onions, chopped
Soak the chickpeas in water overnight.

Run chickpeas through food processor. Blend in yellow onion, garlic, sesame seeds parsley, salt, cumin, baking powder, coriander, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, and let stand for 1 hour.

Form mixture into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Deep fry in oil until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Serve in a pita bread and fill with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, and onions. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tahini Dressing:
1/3 cup well-stirred tahini (Middle Eastern sesame paste)
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Makes about 1 cup.


  1. I see falafel sandwichs on TV on a regular basis and have never tried one. Now that we have a recipe, we'll have to give it a try.

  2. I'm a HUGE fan of falafel sandwiches. I spent a summer in Israel and we'd head out just about every evening to get one. Never got sick of them. Your recipe looks perfect.

  3. I have always wondered what the heck falafel is and how it's pronounced. Now I know! I'll have to try one, sounds pretty good.

  4. it's sounding pretty darn good right about now:)

  5. Hi
    My favorite food when I was in UAE. That forced me to try my Indianized version.
    Thanks for mentioning it here.
    I hope you can open my blog now.

  6. Thanks for your comments everyone. Happy Falafeling! keri

  7. Yum!! I love falafel sandwiches, but I've always cheated and bought pre-made falafel balls. Homemade sound wonderful and simple enough to make.

  8. I. WANT. THAT.

    I wish we had any place offering falafel in this area, but alas, we are limited in ethnic dining.

    My undergrad town used to have this awesome falafel restaurant. I felt like a badass when I ate there.


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