Falafel with White Bean Yogurt Sauce & Tabouli

31 Jul

There are few things better in life than falafel enveloped by hummus and pita at a good Greek restaurant. While I’ve done a good job of making hummus in my own kitchen, I always thought falafel was something so delicious and complex that I’d never be able to recreate it. The closest I’d come was to buy a falafel mix, which proved sorely disappointing. Without hope, my quest to find a perfect falafel recipe never really began.

That’s why, when I randomly stumbled upon this recipe for falafel, I was only cautiously optimistic. I couldn’t allow myself to get my hopes up only to be disappointed! To say I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted this dish would be an understatement.

It was fantastic!! The falafel itself was crispy and flavorful and not too dry (like poorly executed falafel can sometimes be). The white bean yogurt sauce was the perfect accompaniment as a cold, refreshing topping to the warm falafel. And the tabouli was also amazing! Admittedly, I had never tried tabouli before so I can’t speak to its authenticity, but I can say that it tasted bright, fresh, and lemony. I can’t imagine a better side dish for the falafel!

Not only was this dish a delight to eat, but it was also rather simple to make. There isn’t much chopping because the recipe mostly relies on the food processor. The only thing that’s cooked on the stove is the Israeli couscous (unless you do your frying on the stove, that is), and the falafel only takes a couple of minutes in the deep fryer for almost immediate gratification.

And to top it all off, this recipe comes from Melissa D’Arabian’s Ten Dollar Dinners. So you can easily whip up a delicious meal that tastes like it belongs in a great Greek restaurant, for less than $10! This recipe is definitely something to be excited about.

Falafel with White Bean Yogurt Sauce and Tabouli

(adapted from falafel, white bean sauce and tabouli recipes by Melissa D’Arabian)

For the Falafel-


  • 2 1/4 cups canned chickpeas
  • 3 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • Generous 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
  • Generous 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup flour, plus 1/4 cup flour for shaping patties
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Spinach, for garnish
  • White bean yogurt sauce, recipe follows


  • In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, scallions, garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder, parsley, cilantro, egg, and lemon juice. Pulse to combine and season with salt. The mixture will not be smooth, but it should not have  large chunks.
  • Add in the baking powder and 1/3 cup of the flour and pulse to just combine. Remove to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Heat a deep fryer to 360 degrees F (Note: you can also fry on the stovetop if you don’t have a deep fryer– see the original recipe for instructions).
  • Remove the chickpea mixture from the refrigerator. While waiting for the deep fryer to heat, drop spoonfuls of the chickpea mixture onto a plate with 1/4 cup flour. Roll into balls on the floured plate and press gently into patties.
  • Fry in batches of hot oil for about 3 to 4 minutes each side and drain on paper towels.
  • Serve the falafel on a bed of spinach and topped with white bean yogurt sauce.

For the White Bean Yogurt Sauce-


  • 3/4 cup cooked white beans
  • 1 small garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Puree the white beans, garlic, yogurt, lemon juice, and olive oil in a mini food processor until very smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
For the Tabouli-

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (optional, I didn’t use it)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • Cook couscous according to package directions, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain the couscous and set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and zest with the olive oil to make a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • In a large serving bowl, mix together the couscous, parsley, cilantro, mint (if using), tomatoes, and scallions. Toss with the vinaigrette and season to taste.
  • Allow to sit for at least a half hour so the flavors can marry.

Makes 4 servings.


4 Responses to “Falafel with White Bean Yogurt Sauce & Tabouli”

  1. Christina July 31, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    Mmmm…I love Greek food. I have never tried to make falafel before….I think I need to. It sounds wonderful! 🙂

    • yumtherapy July 31, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

      You should definitely try it! The recipe is really not intimidating for first-time falafel makers 🙂

  2. Joanne September 4, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    Yes!!! Falafel IS one of the best foods ever. I really need to make some soon, this is being bookmarked and going on my food to-do list! Thanks for posting!

    • yumtherapy September 4, 2011 at 9:39 am #

      Oh yes, it is one of my faves. I just made this recipe again last night, in fact. It’s a keeper! 🙂

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