Falafelinlove’s Fava Bean Falafels

I am continuing my falafel journey, as promised in My canned chickpea falafel recipe, with a recipe for fava bean falafels. I was curious about using dried fava beans, as is common in Egypt and other parts of the middle east, instead of chickpeas. The other ingredients in this recipe are mostly the same as my previous falafel recipe, however, I incorporated a couple of substitutions into this recipe based on my research into traditional tamiya, or Egyptian fava bean falafels.

array of fava bean falafels
An array of fresh pan-fried fava bean falafels.

I must say I was skeptical about how different this recipe would actually taste as compared to my previous falafel recipe, but I was actually quite surprised at how they are quite distinct. Obviously both taste like falafels, but I found the dried fava bean version to be a little chewier and more textured on the inside, while the canned chickpeas gave a smoother consistency on the inside of the falafel.

I’ve experienced similar tastes to both versions of my falafel recipes in different restaurants. In Lebanese or Egyptian restaurants I’ve visited, I had the more chewy and textured falafel, similar to this recipe. In one of my favorite Turkish restaurants, the falafels had a similar soft-on-the-inside-crispy-outside consistency, similar to my previous canned chickpea falafel recipe. Everyone has there own slight variations in how they prepare falafel, which can also affect the resulting taste and texture.

close up fava bean
The crispy, yet chewy balance between exterior and interior is what can make or break a falafel. These were quite delicious.

I really enjoy both soft and chewy versions, but I guess it can depend on your personal preference and what style of falafel you are used to eating that will determine which version you like better. In my opinion, it’s often the memories that are attached certain foods we eat that shape our likes and dislikes. If I had to pick, I think I like this fava bean falafel recipe slightly better than the canned chickpea version because it has a lot of texture and flavor that is similar to what I’ve had in Egyptian restaurants. It also would depend on what mood I’m in as well, sometimes I like chewy falafels, and sometimes I like softer ones. I really like the super green color that these falafels have. I experimented with using fresh coriander, or cilantro in this recipe to replace some of the parsley. If you don’t like the taste of cilantro (some people think it tastes like soap), feel free to use all parsley instead.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these! If you happen to make both recipes, let me know which is your personal preference!

Fava Bean Falafels

Makes 20-25 falafel patties/balls

• 1 cup dried fava beans, soaked overnight in water
• 3-4 medium cloves of garlic, chopped
• 1 tsp. ground coriander
• 2 tsp. ground cumin
• 1.5 tsp. crushed coriander seeds
• 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you like things spicy)
• 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
• ½ tsp. ground black pepper
• 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
• 1 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 leek (or 1 small onion), roughly chopped
• 3 tbsp. chopped green onion
• 1 1/4 cups roughly chopped fresh parsley
• 3/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) **
• 5-6 tbsp. all-purpose flour (or more as needed, up to ½ cup)
• Optional: 2-3 tsp. sesame seeds

**if you don’t like the taste of fresh cilantro (coriander), remove it from recipe and increase fresh parsley up to 2 cups

fava bean falafel batter
Chilled falafel batter ready to form into patties.

1. Soak fava beans overnight or up to 24 hrs in a pot of water, covering beans by about 2-3 inches of water. The next day, drain and rinse fava beans and remove shells. Pat dry with paper towel. Set aside until ready to make falafel.
2. Combine salt, ground black pepper, crushed coriander seeds, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, nutmeg, and ground coriander in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.
3. Add fava beans in small batches in the food processor and pulse to a fine crumb (I have a small food processor, so this took me a few batches). This will have more texture than pulsed canned chickpeas used in Canned Chickpea Falafel Recipe.
4. When fava beans are finely pulsed in the food processor, leave about ¼ cup pulsed fava beans in bowl of food processor and remove remaining fava bean crumbs and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
5. Add spice mixture (salt, ground black pepper, crushed coriander seeds, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, nutmeg, and ground coriander) to the food processor and pulse small amount of fava bean crumb with spice mixture until thoroughly mixed. Remove from food processor and add this mixture to the rest of the fava bean crumbs that was set aside. Thoroughly mix all of the fava bean crumbs and spices together until uniform.
6. Add chopped parsley and coriander to the food processor and pulse until parsley/coriander is very finely chopped into tiny pieces. Add parsley and coriander to the fava mixture and set aside.
7. Add chopped garlic and leek (or onion) to the bowl of a food processor. Chop mixture in food processor until vegetables are in very fine mince.
8. Combine garlic/onion mixture with fava bean/spices/parsley/cilantro mixture in a large bowl and mix everything thoroughly, evenly distributing all ingredients. The mixture should be very green. Don’t be afraid to use your hands to thoroughly mix all ingredients! Add in 1 tsp. of baking powder and mix everything thoroughly again. Add flour as needed, 1-2 tbsp. at a time, until mixture reaches smooth consistency that enables you to form patties, not too wet or sticky but also not dry and crumbly. Optional: add in 2-3 tsp. sesame seeds and distribute throughout falafel batter (or toss patties to coat with seeds after forming patties). Let falafel mixture sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Roll falafel into balls or patties. Place them on a greased baking sheet and pre-heat oven to 375°F if you plan on baking the falafels.
9. Cooking: I pan-fried my falafels in about 2-3 tbsp. light olive oil in batches of 6-7 at a time in a large flat non-stick pan. You can go the traditional route and deep fry them in oil as well. For the healthiest option, bake falafels at 375°F for about 20-25 minutes, until golden-brown on bottom and firm on the outside, but not burned.

baked fava bean falafels
Go green with freshly baked fava bean falafels.

Recipe Update:

**NOTE: This recipe has also been tested using 1 cup dried chickpeas and 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, 1/2 cup dried fava beans. Either can be substituted for 1 cup dried fava beans.

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