Falafels are pretty much the world’s perfect meat substitute. This is no surprise when we consider that falafels are made primarily from chickpeas, and chickpeas are a powerhouse of plant-based nutrition. With their high levels of fiber and protein, these burgers are insanely healthy, delicious, and satisfying. Even better, unlike normal falafels which are deep fried (gasp!), the ones here are just lightly pan-fried to make them extremely low in fat. Top them with fresh lettuce, tomato, red onion, and the homemade lemon tahini mayo recipe below for a truly incredible veggie burger.

In 2011, even McDonalds got onboard the falafel movement by introducing the McFalafel (no joke) throughout Israel and other Middle East countries. Personal biases against McDonald’s aside, if I stumbled across a McFalafel here in California, I might have to wander inside and see what’s going on…

Falafel Veggie Burger

Makes 3 big burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Whole wheat rolls or Ezekiel bread
  • Avocado, lettuce, tomato, and red onion
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Sea salt, to taste

Falafel Burger and Fries

The Lemon Tahini Mayo

The lemon tahini sauce (last four ingredients) is a deliciously creamy mayonnaise-like sauce that pairs perfectly with these burgers. To make, simply whisk together equal parts tahini and water with a squeeze of lemon juice, garlic powder, and sea salt until everything is incorporated. Give it a taste and feel free to adjust anything as needed. It can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Step One

Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas and add about half of them to the food processor with the chickpea flour, parsley, chopped green onions, garlic, coriander, lemon juice, and sea salt. Process until everything is well-incorporated. Then add the remaining chickpeas with a handful of chopped sun-dried tomatoes and pulse just a few times, so that some chunks remain. This is a horrible analogy, but the texture should resemble Play-Doh at this point (hey, you know you ate that stuff when you were a kid) – dry but still pliable. If it’s too wet, simply add more chickpea flour

Falafel Burger Processor

Step Two

Using your hands, form into flat rounds about 4 inches in diameter for the burgers. For even cooking, make sure they are no thicker than 2/3 inch. Heat a skillet with a few drops of olive oil (or optionally omit if using a non-stick pan) and cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes on each side until slightly browned.

A note on texture: texture always seems to be an issue with veggie burgers. Thankfully, these actually hold together really nicely. Right after cooking, the insides have a softer texture, which I think works well. But if you prefer them to be a little more dry and crumbly, try this trick: leave them in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, they’ll be much more firm, even after being reheated.

Step Three

To serve, grab some whole wheat buns (Ezekiel brand is great) and spread a layer of tahini sauce on each half. Top with the burger, tomato, lettuce, red onion, and avocado. Take that, McFalafel.

Falafel Burger Open

Falafel Burger