Falafel with Calabrian Chili Tahini Sauce


Time for the perfect recipe to go with the charred scallion whipped feta

Homemade Falafel with Calabrian Chili Tahini Sauce

I had never made homemade falafel before (well maybe I did in culinary school and just don’t remember) and I was very pleased with how these turned out.

I referenced a few recipes before developing my own and the key to making good homemade falafel comes down to 3 key points..

  1. You must start with dried chickpeas that are soaked in water overnight. If you try to use canned chickpeas the falafel will not have the right consistency.
  2. The more herbs/seasoning the better! Chickpeas are inherently somewhat bland so you have to spice them up to make them super flavorful and delicious.
  3. You definitely need a food processor to make these. I don’t think a blender will cut it this time!

The first step is to puree the chickpeas. You may have to do this in batches. You want a really fine crumb.

Then remove the chickpea mixture and puree all the herbs together.

In the food processor went parsley, garlic, dill, jalapeno, and chives. Chop chop chop! I think a food processor is probably my favorite kitchen appliance, the possibilities are endless!

Then you mix the herbs with the ground chickpeas and some spices. I opted to use cumin, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. I also added a bit of baking soda to help with texture.

Then it’s time to form into patties! It really doesn’t matter what shape or size, just whatever you prefer.

I opted to fry my falafel because #liveyourbestlife. You can bake them, but they just wont have as crispy of a texture on the outside.

I chose to shallow fry these and flip them half way through. In a medium pot with about 2 cups of olive oil. Just so that the oil goes about half way up the falafel.

I like to finish them with a sprinkle of salt when they come out of the oil. The great thing about falafel is you can serve them at room temperature and they are just as delicious!

The spicy tahini really takes them over the top!

I hope you give these a try 🙂

Falafel with Calabrian Chili Tahini Sauce 

Serves 4-6 (about 26 pieces of falafel) 


For the Falafel: 

  • 1 and ¾ cup DRIED chickpeas 
  • ½ medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups of parsley (about 1 large bunch), roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of chives, roughly chopped 
  • 1 jalapeno, roughly chopped 
  • 4 garlic cloves 
  • 3 sprigs of dill
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp baking soda 
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • Olive oil for frying (about 1.5 cups depending on the size of the pan) 

For the Calabrian Chili Tahini Sauce:

  • ¾ cup tahini 
  • 1 tbsp calabrian chili paste (you could substitute sambal or harissa)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • ½ tsp pepper


  1. Soak dried chickpeas overnight (at least 12 hours) in enough water to cover the chickpeas by about 2 inches. 
  2. Drain the soaked chickpeas and rinse them off. In about 2 batches, blend them in the food processor. This will also take a few minutes for each batch, you want the mixture nice and ground up. 
  3. Place the mixture in a large bowl.
  4. In the food processor add the yellow onion, parsley, chives, jalapeno, garlic, and dill. Blend until thoroughly chopped. This will take a couple minutes.
  5. Add the herb mixture to the ground chickpeas along with the smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and mix it all together. Season to taste. 
  6. Form the mixture into 2 inch sized round patties (or whatever size you prefer your falafel to be) 
  7. In a large skillet with at least 2 inch sides (think like a rondeau pot) heat about 1 cup of olive oil. You want about half an inch of oil to fry in. Heat the oil to medium heat. Fry the falafel for about 2 minutes per side. You will probably have to do this in batches because you do NOT want to overcrowd the falafel in the pan, otherwise they won’t get crispy.  Remove from oil and sprinkle with a touch of salt.
  8. For the sauce, mix all ingredients together. Thin the sauce out with about ¼ cup of water or until the consistency you prefer.
  9. Serve falafel warm or room temperature with the sauce. 

Note: You can also bake the falafel patties at 375 degrees F for about 25 minutes. I would recommend drizzling the falafel with some olive oil before baking for extra flavor.

Picture from our Mediterranean feast the other night. Including..

  • charred scallion whipped feta
  • tzatziki (basically just plain greek yogurt, cucumber, parsley, mint, lemon juice and olive oil),
  • hummus (got to share the recipe soon)
  • baba ghanoush (also should share this!),
  • tabouleh (cooked couscous mixed with tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper)
  • Homemade Pita Bread (our bread didn’t really “poof” like the picture showed but it still had great texture)
  • Confit Lamb (This is a Maju recipe meaning there is no recipe lol)

I hope this helps/inspires you to have your own Mediterranean spread:)

xx Chelcie