Easy Vegan Falafel and Tabouli

You might have noticed that I’m currently going through a bit of a chickpea moment. Chickpeas all day, every day.
Have you tried the chickpea salad sandwich by the way? It’s super simple! So simple, in fact, that I made it four times this week. I’m drowning in chickpeas! So, with all the chickpeas I had around, I couldn’t stop myself from having a go at falafel. Between the sandwich and these falafels, I spent the week in chickpea heaven!

I love falafel. I swear I could eat them every day. In Paris, I have my special secret spot where I always go – it’s a stand at a street market that I found by chance when I used to work around the corner. Their falafel are by far the best I’ve ever tried and every time I’m in Paris I make it a point to return there. Since moving to Berlin, I haven’t found anything similar yet to capture my heart and become my go-to place. That’s not to say there aren’t places all around me, I’m just waiting for that something special. The silver lining is that in the meantime, that gives me the chance to experiment myself at home with all the thousands of chickpeas I now have, to try my best to reproduce the falafel of my dreams!

Now, I know most people eat their falafel in a pita with salad, hummous and sauce, but I feel like they go so well paired with a nice fresh, spicy tabouli. Plus, that makes the meal that much lighter. I’ve always loved tabouli. It’s perfect for the summer, quick and easy to make, easy to pack for work or a picnic and usually most people like it. I’ve been working on a few different recipes lately, so let me know if that’s something you may be interested in seeing!

With the falafel and tabouli all you need is a little sauce to finish the plate and I wanted to keep things traditional with a tahini based sauce. My boyfriend and I usually make our own tahini sauce from sesame paste, water and lemon juice and often eat it with rice and grilled aubergine. But this time, he was feeling inspired and added a special touch that brought out all the flavor in the falafel and brought it to another level — paprika and some ras el hanout, a North African blend that gave it just the perfect amount of spice.

If you try out this recipe, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts or photos! I’d love to hear what you think!

Easy Vegan Falafel and Tabouli

Prep time: 60 min
Cook time: 15 min
Total time: 75 min

Ingredients

For the Falafels

  • 1 can chickpeas rinsed and draines
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small onion or 2 small shallots (I tried both and it's good either way)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • bread crumbs for coating
  • 2 tbsp grape seed oil, for frying (You can also omit if you have a non stick pan)

For the Tahini Sauce

  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp water
  • a good squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ras-el-hanout

For the Tabouli

  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 1 big handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of fresh mint finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of half or one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp ground all spice
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Add chickpea, parsley, coriander, garlic, shallots, sesame seeds, cumin, cardamom, salt, pepper to a food processor and pulse to combine until you get a crumbly dough.

  2. Add flour little by little and mix to combine. Add more flour until you the dough is not sticky. Taste and adjust seasonings (I added more cumin and cardamom).

  3. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl, cover and refrigerate for an hour. If you are in a hurry, you can skip this step. Refrigerate just helps to get a firmer dough.

  4. In the meanwhile, prepare the sauce and tabouli. Add the couscous to a bowl, boil the water apart. Add the water on top of the couscous, let stand until water is all absorbed and couscous is cooked. Let it chill.

  5. Prepare the tahini sauce by whisking all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.

  6. Add tomatoes, shallot, parsley, mint, olive oil, all spice, lemon juice and salt to the couscous and mix well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set the tabouli aside.

  7. Time to cook the falafels! Heat grape seed oil in a pan.

  8. Form the falafels: take a bit of the falafel dough and roll it in your hands to form a little ball or disc. (You should get 11-12 falafels)

  9. Add falafels to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, flipping when golden brown.

  10. Serve warm with tabouli and tahini sauce.

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