falafel + herbed tzatziki

There are a lot of food trucks where I live. Not the really fancy cool ones, but the ones that serve your standard NYC hot dog, pretzel, or more recently, cupcakes. They're probably not technically food trucks, more like food carts. Yes, let's refer to them as food carts.

Food truck food, however, is the greatest. Food that came from a truck used to be a bit iffy, but not anymore. Food truck food is cool and delicious. Don't most food lovers dream of having a food truck one day? I do.

You know what my food truck would have? Lots of awesome tasting farm fresh vegetables. Edgy vegetable dishes like veggie empanadas and maybe even some crispy grilled veggies on a stick with an awesome sauce. And falafel. My food tuck would definitely have some really delicious falafel. 

So now that I have my menu down ... I just need to name my food truck. I'm taking suggestions. 


Back to the food carts. A lot of the food carts by me serve falafel. I've never tried one of theirs, but if I had to guess it probably tastes pretty darn good. My problem is, who knows who made that falafel, where it has been sitting all day, and what kind of oil it was fried in. Thanks but no thanks. I'll make my own. 

Falafel is one of those things that can be so wonderful when it's done right, and so awful when it's not done right. The good kind of falafel is one that is not too fried, not to dry, crisp on the outside, made with fresh organic ingredients and loaded with lots of good spices.

That's the type of falafel I want to create in my kitchen. 

See, when I make falafel at home, I know what I am putting in and I know what it will turn out like. I know that I am making a healthier version because I know my ingredients are good, clean, and organic. How often do you see homemade, organic falafel advertised on the side of a food cart? Pretty much never. You know my food truck would have this .... in pink neon flashing lights. 

falafel plate + herbed tzatziki
adpted from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

About 12 falafel


1 cup of dried chickpeas 
¼ cup of chickpea flour
1 clove of garlic, minced
½ cup of onion, diced
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoons of fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ teaspoon of cayenne
½ teaspoon of cumin
½ teaspoon of coriander
½ teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of water 

sunflower, canola, grapeseed, or anther high-heat oil for frying

for the herbed tzatziki:
1 cup of  plain Greek yogurt
1 cucumber, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons  of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of dill
4-5 basil leaved, chopped
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
a pinch of salt + pepper

optional for serving: whole wheat pita, sliced grape tomaotes, cous cous, cucumbers


Soak the chickpeas

  • Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with at least 2 1/2 cups of water. Soak overnight. The next day drain the chickpeas. 

Then, make the falafel chickpea mixture

  • Place the soaked chickpeas, chickpea flour, onion, garlic, parsley and cilantro in a food processor and blend until you have a mixture that is finely chopped and blended. 
  • Then add the cayenne, cumin, coriander, baking powder, salt, lemon juice, and water. Pulse again until the mixture is well blended. Remove from the food processor and place in a large bowl. Give it another good stir and then cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour. 

While the falafel mixture is chilling, prepare the tzatziki

  • Place all of the ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust any seasoning accordingly. Cover and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve the falafel. 

Then shape and fry the falafel

  • Fill a heavy bottom medium sized sauce pan with sunflower oil (or another high-heat oil) just a little under three inches from the side of the pan. Heat the oil over medium heat to around 350º. 
  • Prepare your falafel rolling + frying station. Have a plate nearby for the formed falafel, as well as a small bowl with water. Nearby the frying pan have another plate that is lined with a paper town. 
  • Wet your hands with the water and take about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll it in the palm of your hands to for a boll. Do this until the mixture is all formed. 
  • Then, to fry the falafel gently drop them in the oil and cook for about 4-5 minutes. You want them to be brown and crisp on the outside, and cooked through.  Using a slotted spoon remove the falafel from the oil and transfer them to the paper towel lined plate. 
  • Serve warm with the tzatziki and the other sides of your choice.