Falafel With Tahini Sauce

My whole family loves falafel with tahini sauce. My husband and I both grew up eating falafel in NYC. In Brooklyn, we lived near a little family-run restaurant that made an amazing homemade falafel sandwich people would line up for blocks to get. I still miss it 13 years later. Here in Northern California, there is a local place with decent falafel our boys have grown up eating, but recently we have all become extremely fond of the homemade version.

During lockdown, I began making homemade falafel with tahini sauce on a steady clip. But the hardest part about making it was securing the dried chickpeas. Chickpeas, like other beans, flour, yeast, and toilet paper, were all considered “hot commodities“. To avoid this, I began buying dried chickpeas in bulk and my problem was solved. As a result, fresh falafel with tahini quickly got integrated into our favorite meal repertoire. This is not my falafel recipe, it is Tory Avey’s recipe, and it’s a keeper. I have made a few minor changes, but the original can be seen here.

falafel with tahini sauce

Falafel, for those unfamiliar, is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or a combination of the two. Considered a traditional Arab food, falafel is commonly served in pita bread (recipe for that coming soon), which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa.  The falafel balls are topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and spreads, and drizzled with tahini-based sauce.

falafel with tahini sauce

The History of Falafel

The exact origin of falafel is unknown. One common theory is that the dish originated in Egypt and was eaten by Copts as a replacement for meat during Lent. Since Alexandria is a port city, the dish was exported to other areas in the Middle East. Some believe the dish later migrated northwards to the Levant, where the switch from fava beans to chickpeas was made. But others believe falafel originated during Egypt’s Pharaonic Period, in the Indian subcontinent, known for making various chickpea-based dishes.

In North America, before the 1970s, falafel was found only in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Jewish neighborhoods and restaurants. Today, this popular dish is now considered a common food in many cities throughout North America. Falafel has also become popular among vegetarians and vegans alike, as it’s a great source of protein.

falafel with tahini sauce

Health Benefits of Chickpeas

Health-wise, you can’t get much better; falafel is high in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Chickpeas themselves are low in fat contain no cholesterol and contain a vast amount of nutrients including; iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin C, thiamine, pantothenic acid, vitamin B, and folate.

This recipe is not difficult, but you MUST use dried chickpeas, canned chickpeas will not cut it, so don’t waste your time trying. The real trick with working with dried chickpeas is planning. So, for this recipe, begin soaking the chickpeas the night before. It’s that simple. The next day, the chickpeas are ready to go and you can prep your falafel mixture. This is what I do and I just cook off the falafel balls when we’re ready to eat so they are fresh. If you ask my boys, there is nothing better.

falafel with tahini sauce

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

2 thoughts on "Falafel With Tahini Sauce"

  1. Falafel is a huge favourite in my house too. Yours look fantastic with sesame dressing.

    1. Thanks for writing. It is such a great healthy(ish) dish that’s not as hard to make as people think.

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