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Crispy Pan Seared Falafel


Traditional falafel is deep-fried, but this pan-seared version is much lower in fat.

  • Servings: 6

Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 1997


  • 2 1/2 cups cooked (14 ounces) chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion, 4 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup peeled and grated zucchini
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup medium-chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, mint, and cilantro
  • 6 whole-wheat pitas
  • 4 1/2 ounces romaine or Bibb lettuce (about 12 leaves)
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
  • Olive-oil cooking spray
  • Healthy Tzatziki


  1. Combine half the chickpeas, the onion, lemon juice, 4 teaspoons water, zucchini, cayenne, cumin, coriander, baking soda, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add remaining chickpeas to processor, and pulse just until lumpy (should still have some texture), six to eight pulses. Stir into chickpea mixture. Stir in the herbs.

  2. Use your hands to pat the mixture into twelve 2-inch patties, each weighing about 1 1/2 ounces. Place each on a waxed-paper-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, and transfer to refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  3. Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Place skillet over medium heat, and cook 3 to 4 patties at a time, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Transfer cooked patties to a heatproof plate to keep warm in a 200-degree oven, if necessary.

  4. To serve, toast pitas, and split them open. Arrange lettuce, tomato, and red-onion slices on each. Place two of the cooked patties on each pita. Sprinkle each with mint leaves. Serve with tzatziki.

Cook's Notes

Use canned chickpeas to save time; rinse well under cool water, and drain.

Reviews Add a comment

  • lynnfelton
    17 SEP, 2013
    I have to say...I love this recipe. You do need to refrigerate them, although I do crave them and don't always do that. Probably squeezing out the zucchini would help too. Very crispy though...That's what sets them apart.
  • MarianaPR
    30 MAY, 2012
    1. The longer you leave it in the fridge, the better. If you make the mix a day before and leave it a day sitting in the fridge, the patties will come out easier to cook. 2. The nonstick skillet is NOT optional, people! This makes a huge difference when cooking the falafel. 3. I think the use of a flour, an egg or even sesame seeds to help bring the chickpeas together and for the patty not to break is needed. Very flavorful and healthy! Definitely trying it again!
  • hollywoodgimp
    10 JUN, 2008
    where are the nutritional values to this recipe? Why don't you post them w/your recipes? This would be so helpful.