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Sprouted Chickpea Falafel Balls

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When I wrote about my Real Sourdough Pita Bread I introduced you to one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Falafel’s Drive In.

A collage of falafel ball dishes with text overlay.

They have that perfect mix of Middle East authenticity and American drive-in. It’s a great combination!

Every time I’m in San Jose, California, I stop in for a falafel or two, a banana milkshake, and some good memories!

Falafel's Drive In marquee in San Jose, California.

I don’t know what they fry their falafels in, I don’t know whether or not they use organic chickpeas or organic flour, and to be honest, I don’t want to know. That would just ruin the magic of the place.

But, I do take these things very seriously, so when I make falafels at home they are always organic, sprouted, and fried in traditional fats!

A bowl of falafel balls with pita and tahini.

Sprouting Chickpeas

This recipe takes some time — the beans are sprouted for 5 to 6 DAYS.

Sprouting beans is pretty straight forward though, and sprouting adds a lot of nutritional benefits.

A bowl of sprouted chickpeas.

By sprouting the chickpeas completely you get a deeply nourishing falafel that has been properly prepared, making it easier to digest, breaking down enzyme inhibitors, and boosting vitamin and mineral content.

A bowl of falafel balls with pita and tahini.

This recipe feeds a crowd, dishing up around 60 falafel balls that are perfect for eating hot or freezing alongside my sourdough pitas for easy re-heatable dinners.

Re-heat frozen falafel balls on a baking sheet in an oven set to 350°F. Cook them just until they are crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes.

A bowl of falafel balls.

Since I live in Oregon now and only get to indulge in my favorite Bay Area falafel joint once or twice a year, I had to come up with my own nourishing falafel recipe.

I’m really happy with the results and I hope you will be too!

A bowl of falafel balls with text overlay.

Perfect Accompaniments to Homemade Falafel

Real Sourdough Pita Bread

Easy Tahini Dressing

Tahini dressing with an olive oil swirl.

Sprouted Chickpea Falafel Balls

Sprouted Chickpea Falafel Balls

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 6 days 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 6 days 2 hours

Properly prepared chickpeas are mixed with the perfect blend of Middle Eastern spices and fried to perfection.


  • 3 cups dried chickpeas

Spice Blend

  • 2 bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 fresh onion
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne, or chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Oil for Frying


Sprouting the Chickpeas

  1. In a large bowl rinse and soak the chickpeas covered with fresh filtered water for 4 to 6 hours.
  2. Drain the beans and rinse them well. Let them sit covered overnight.
  3. The next day, rinse and drain the beans morning and night. Never leave water in the bowl.
  4. Repeat this for 4 to 5 days until the beans have all sprouted and the roots are about 1/2 inch long.

Making the Falafel Batter

  1. Wash and dry the parsley, removing the tough thick stems. Small tender stems are fine.
  2. Working in batches, puree the sprouted beans and parsley in a food processor or food mill. Depending on preference you can leave them a little chunky or puree them very smooth. I prefer the latter. Add the pureed mixture to a large bowl.
  3. Add all the spices, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to the bowl and combine thoroughly.
  4. Set the falafel batter aside.

Frying the Falafel Balls

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a small, deep sauce pan.
  2. Using a scoop or spoon, roll five falafel balls about the size of a small plum.
  3. Add the balls to the hot oil and cook them for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. If they are browning too fast turn down the heat. They need at least 3 minutes to cook completely through.
  4. While the first batch cooks, roll the second batch and so on until all the balls have been cooked.
  5. Remove the falafel balls from the oil with a slotted spoon or spider. Drain them on a paper-covered plate.
  6. Serve them warm in pitas for falafel sandwiches, on a hummus platter, or on a large salad with tahini dressing!
A close-up of fried falafel balls.

A bowl of falafel balls with tahini.

A pita stuffed with fried falafel balls, tahini, and veggies.

A pita stuffed with fried falafel balls, tahini, and veggies.

A pita stuffed with fried falafel balls, tahini, and veggies next to a bowl of falafel balls.

A bowl of fried falafel balls.

A pita stuffed with fried falafel balls, tahini, and veggies and a bowl of fried falafel balls.



Thursday 21st of January 2021

Has anyone tried baking this?

Butter For All

Friday 22nd of January 2021

Hi Kay!

I don't believe I've had anyone try it yet but I'm sure it would be a great way to cook them. I would personally oil the balls lightly on the outside to keep them from drying out too much. Bake at 350℉ for (I'm guessing here) 15-20 minutes. Let me know if you give it a go!


Becky Jean

Saturday 5th of December 2020

REVISED comment:

The flavors were positively OUTSTANDING – the best falafel I’ve ever tasted. THIS RECIPE IS THE BOMB!!!!! Perfect!!!

We're only allowed to eat sprouted legumes, so finding this simply exquisite recipe is a life saver.

Now it's time to eat the WHOLE humble pie. I COOKED the chickpeas, first! Duh!! At least I figured it out. Courtney, I'm sooooooo sorry to leave that mixed review when it was all my fault. Just goes to show that even a gourmet cook of 40 years makes mistakes and eats her share of humble pie.

This remains the best falafel I've ever made. Thank you!

Becky Jean

Tuesday 25th of August 2020

The flavors were positively OUTSTANDING - the best falafel I've ever tasted.

The texture was a failure - too liquidy, so the patties (so soft to form into balls) totally disintegrated in the oil. I thought of taking pictures of the batter and results, but was too hungry and disappointed to make the effort. We're GF here, so I added coconut flour to soak up some of the moisure, with marginal success - enough to be able to eat some supper. Next day, I added 4 eggs to the remaining mixture, which helped, but I couldn't correct the texture - more like a mashed potato pancake. It was still too soft and moist and could never be shaped into balls.

...perhaps I sprout my cece longer than you do, which could alter the moisture ratio. I followed your recipe to the letter, btw.

I'd give this 5 stars on taste and none on work-ability.

Did you ever post your tahini dressing for these?

Becky Jean

Saturday 5th of December 2020

@Butter For All, Thanks for posting the Tahini dressing. I'll try it next time I make the tasty falafel. God bless you!

Butter For All

Tuesday 1st of September 2020

Hi Becky!

I'm really sorry these didn't work for you. That is strange, they beans shouldn't be wet at all, for me they are sticky after blending and hold together well. You kept the beans raw, correct? Adding coconut flour was a good idea but might have made them more susceptible to breaking apart in the oil. I wonder if rice flour would help if that ever happened again?

I will try to take more process shots next time I make the falafel, or maybe even video. That way you can see the texture I'm working with. Hope you will try again in the future 😊



PS I forgot to write up the Tahini dressing! I need people like you to help keep me in line, lol. I'll get on that right away!

Anna R.

Friday 10th of April 2020

Do you use dried or canned chickpeas for this? Thanks!

Butter For All

Friday 10th of April 2020

Hi Anna,

You are sprouting dried chickpeas! You can use canned beans too, but you HAVE to add flour or they will fall apart in the oil. And they won't be sprouted, so the nutritional benefits of sprouting would be void.

Hope this helps,



Tuesday 25th of February 2020


Can you imagine these with calamari and plantains!

And worsh it down with ice-cold coconut milk!

PS: I think you're a little light on the garlic... YeeHaw!

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