Appetizers/ HotApp

Classic Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce

Falafel is not a hushpuppy!

After 12 hours on a plane and a 3 hour layover and then another flight to Tel Aviv we made it to your hotel in Israel. What a trip that was and were we ever exhausted.

For months now I have been watching different YouTube videos on the places we would be touring in Israel and have been really excited about the places we are going to be visiting.

I was pretty anxious about the kinds of food we would be eating. Was it all going to be the same — hummus, falafel, tahini, kanafeh, baba ganoush and kebabs (of course) just to name a few. We like everything so I didn’t think I would not be turning my nose up at anything except maybe the falafel. Ya know I do have this thing about chickpeas! 

The food ended up not being my favorite part of the trip. But that was ok because I knew this trip was not “all about the food”.

I have never eaten falafel before (until the night I made this). My kids all have and always tell me how they like it, especially the son and d-I-l in Chicago. I had to ask his advice on what to serve mine with when I made it. I really wanted to try it before I went so I could come my version to the real thing. 

So a couple of nights before we left, our friends Peggy and Gordon (also on the trip) came over and we had a mini cocktail party with just the four of us. We had the falafel I made with the Tzatziki Sauce (cucumber), little lamb chops that she made, and I also made my Domaine Chandon spread and some little stuffed pepadew peppers (with Laughing Cow cheese). I really wanted to just try the falafel before eating my virgin falafel ball/sandwich/whatever there. We also had a bottle of champagne to toast our trip and a bottle of Israeli wine.

So the falafel wasn’t what I expected and I can’t say I liked it. I was thinking it was going to taste light and fluffy like my hushpuppies — they did not. BUT, I’ll see if I change my opinion after eating an authentic falafel. I have to omit the falafel I had in Israel was very good and very light. I think I put too much flour in mine and didn’t use the chickpea flour called for (I have since adjusted this recipe.).

BLAST FROM THE PAST: I love making things I’ve had while on vacation. This Fougasse (leaf shaped) bread is a recipe I made before going to France. And guess what? We saw it at every market we went to while visiting there.

Soak beans overnight.

Put everything in a food processor.

Pulse until you have tiny pieces of the chickpeas. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Form into balls and fry in oil for 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels or wire rack.

The cucumber sauce.

Bon Appetite!

Fresh out of the fryer, these were delicious.

All that extra stuff in the above plate I stuffed into pieces of pita and topped with the falafel and sauce.

Classic Falafel

Recipe from I wanted to make this before our trip to Israel and then try several there to compare.

Servings 20


  • 2 cups dry chickpeas
  • 1 bunch green onions white and green parts
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, cilantro or mint leaves, chopped or combination of all three
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chickpea flour more if needed
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 pinch cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Add the garbanzo beans into a large bowl and soak in water overnight (the water should be a couple inches higher than the beans, so the beans plump up).
  2. Rinse the beans and add them to a food processor with chopped onion, minced garlic, parsley, flour, salt, cumin, ground coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cardamom.
  3. Process the ingredients together until it looks like a coarse paste, like a super chunky peanut butter.
  4. Be sparing with how long your process it, the chickpeas should still be visible in small chunks. Try to form a tablespoon of mixture into a ball. If it doesn't form well, put back in processor for a few more spins.

  5. Put the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes

  6. Make the paste into small balls about one heaping tablespoon, rolling them in your hand. (In Israel they used a small gadget kind of like a ice cream scoop and scooped directly into the hot oil.)

  7. If your falafel batter is too loose to stay in a ball you can add a few more tablespoons of flour.
  8. Heat the oil on medium heat and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel-lined plate and season to tase with salt. 

  9. Serve  immediately with pita, hummus and tomatoes for a great falafel sandwich.

Recipe Notes

To make a little chickpea flour put a few tablespoons of the dried chickpeas (before you soak them) in a food processor and process until you have a fine flour. This will be much cheaper than buying a bag of chickpea flour.


Tzatziki Sauce


  • 2 c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 c. diced cucumber seeds removed
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh dill or 1-2 tsp. dried dill
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, garlic and dill. Stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until serving time.

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