Falafel with Lemon Tahini & Pickled Cabbage


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

My Street Food Kitchen

My Street Food Kitchen

By Jennifer Joyce

Published 2015

  • About

Several countries lay claim to inventing falafel, and the various sauces are equally delicious. Lebanon uses a garlic mayonnaise and Israel is partial to sesame tahini. I’ve chosen the latter and pimped it up with some pickled cabbage for added crunch. Use fresh Middle Eastern flatbread and give it a little heat first to soften while rolling up. If you have time, make my Grilled Flatbread recipe. Roll up the warm falafel balls in the soft smoky bread with all the fixings for a little slice of heaven.

Preparation: 35 Minutes, Plus Overnight Soaking
Cooking: 15 Minutes


  • 175 g (6 oz) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 handful each of flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves and coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • tablespoons plain flour
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • tablespoons sesame seeds olive oil, for frying
  • Flatbread, pieces of pickle, pickled long green chillies, chopped cucumber, tomato, red onion, parsley and mint, to serve

Pickled red cabbage

  • ¼ head red cabbage
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

Lemon tahini sauce

  • tablespoons tahini
  • juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed
  • 50 ml ( fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • tablespoons plain yoghurt


To make the pickled red cabbage, thickly shred the cabbage and toss in a large bowl with the salt. Leave to sit a few hours, then rinse the salt off, drain well and return to the bowl. Pour the vinegar over, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain before using.

Meanwhile, to make the tahini sauce, whisk the tahini and 1½ tablespoons of water in a bowl until smooth. Add the lemon juice and zest, garlic, olive oil and yoghurt, season with salt and pepper and combine well. Refrigerate until serving.

To make the falafel, drain the chickpeas and put them in a food processor with all of the ingredients except the sesame seeds and olive oil. Process until a thick dough forms. Using lightly floured hands, form the mixture into spheres the size of a ping-pong ball. Put the sesame seeds on a plate, then roll the falafel in the seeds, pressing to coat well.

Heat the oil in a wok or small heavy-based saucepan to about 7 cm ( inches) deep. When a piece of bread dropped into the oil sizzles instantly, the oil is ready. Fry the falafel balls, in batches, until golden brown and drain on paper towel. Serve with warm flatbread, tahini sauce, pickled cabbage and all the accompaniments.