These patties, which you drop onto heated oil on a sheet pan, have advantages all their own. First of all, they start with canned chickpeas, which means you save the usual 12 to 24 hours you would need to soak dried ones. Second, making them into flat falafel pucks instead of little balls saves you tons of time shaping and gains you more crispy surface area, which, let’s face it, is what falafel’s all about. Well, that and all the yummy stuff you get to drizzle on top. I do tahini, which is just sesame in another form, and how it’s done all over the Middle East.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained but not rinsed
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
- ¼ cup all purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 5 cloves roughly chopped garlic
- ½ cup packed fresh parsley leaves and tender stems
- ½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
- 2 large tomatoes, cored and diced
- 2 large Persian cucumbers, diced
- Extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice to taste
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- ¼ cup pure tahini paste
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 pitas
- Butter lettuce leaves, sliced sour pickles and red onion slices, for serving
Make the falafel:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the oil on a small rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven while it preheats. Combine the chickpeas, onion, flour, garlic, parsley, cilantro, sesame seeds, salt, cumin, coriander, pepper, and chili flakes in a food processor and process until the mixture looks like fine crumbs, 20 to 25 pulses. Pinch a bit of the mixture together between your fingers; if it holds together you’re good. If it crumbles, add another tablespoon of flour to the processor and pulse 5 more times.
Form the mixture into four equal-sized patties about 3 1/2 inches wide by 3/4 inch thick. At this point your oil should be hot; open the oven and working quickly, place the baking sheet on the range and gently arrange the patties on the sheet; they should sizzle on contact. Return to the oven and bake until the underside is crisp, 13 minutes. Open the oven and, using a spatula, gently flip the patties and bake until the second side is crisp, another 12 to 13 minutes.
While the falafel is baking, make the salad and tahini:
Combine the tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl and season with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley.
Make the tahini sauce:
Whisk together the tahini, water, lemon juice, and in a small bowl until smooth.
Build the sandwiches:
When the falafels are ready, take them out and put the pitas right in the oven to warm for 2 to 3 minutes. Make sandwiches by stuffing a lettuce leaf and some salad into a warm pita, followed by a falafel patty, and some pickles and red onion slices. Drizzle with the tahini sauce.