The Dish: Homemade Falafel Trumps Boxed Varieties


Falafel, falafel sandwich, allison arthur, dishing jackson hole, dining jackson hole, recipeA really good falafel sandwich is up there with what I consider one of the best meals out there — for vegetarians or not. In fact, when my friend, Ali, and I ate our way through Paris a few years ago we both agreed our falafel in the famed Marais was arguably one of our best meals (unless, you count a ridiculously delicious cheese cart as a meal).

The falafel themselves are good. They are generally crunchy (since they are fried) and usually have enough fresh herbs to make them flavorful. The trick, however, to an amazing falafel sandwich, is in the toppings.

My sister, Lee, sent me to her favorite falafel joint in NYC (Taim) last time I was there. Now, New Yorkers know their falafel. In downtown NYC there is a falafel spot on every corner. This version came in a pita and was served with a variety of delicious toppings, including a tahini sauce and pickled cabbage. It was memorable.

One day recently, while flipping through a magazine, it dawned on me that I had never made a homemade falafel before. I have done the mix that you turn into dough and cook, but never from scratch. I couldn’t understand why I had never taken that task on. They aren’t hard to make. I think it must have been the frying that scared me. I don’t like to fry at home.

Anyway, I decided it was time and the cooking ensued.

The falafel themselves were pretty easy. You prep a little and blend it all together in a food processor. Pan-frying them was no big deal either. I went heavy on the fresh herbs and mine came out a beautiful green color. What did take a while was prepping the toppings.

falafel, falafel sandwich, recipe, dishing jackson hole, dining jackson hole

As I said, toppings and sauces can make or break a good falafel sandwich.

I started with the sauce provided here. It is a great accompaniment to these falafel. Make it a little spicier if you prefer a kick by adding some hot sauce, too. Next, I set out a spread of add-ons.

I chopped pickled red beets (the sandwich standout), lettuce, carrots and caramelized onions. I also had some spicy red peppers that I threw in just for fun. I heated some naan (which I think is better than those dried out pitas you find in stores) and we each made our sandwiches to our desire.

I added a generous spread of the yogurt sauce and all the toppings and two falafel. It may not have been eaten in a café in Paris or on the streets of New York, but it was good and I will do this recipe again!

Spicy Cucumber Yogurt Sauce


  • 6 ounces almond yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Strain the yogurt in a colander layered with cheesecloth until as much of the liquid as possible is removed.
  • Do the same thing to remove the excess liquid from the cucumbers.
  • Add all ingredients together in a bowl and mix well.


  • 2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 shallot
  • salt and pepper


  • In a food processor, mix all the ingredients until blended well.
  • Form into 12 round discs.
  • In a heavy-bottom skillet heat a generous amount of vegetable oil — enough to fill the pan about 1/4 the way up.
  • Heat on medium to medium high.
  • When the oil is hot, drop the falafel balls into the mix and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Don’t overcrowd the pan. This may take up to 3 or 4 sessions.
  • While the others cook, keep the cooked ones warm in a 200-degree oven.
  • Assemble your falafel sandwich on either pita or naan with the sauce and whatever other toppings you prefer (lettuce, cucumber, picked anything, hummus, tomatoes, etc.)

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Writer. Cook. Hockey player. Skier. Snowboarder. Mountain biker. Mother of two great danes. Wife. Marketing expert. And, most fulfilling, Co-editor of Dishing!

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