Vegan Broad Bean Falafel
Broad bean falafel are a staple for anyone following a vegetarian and vegan diet. Find out just how easy it is to make these delicious fried patties below.
Chickpea versus broad bean falafel
When you think of chickpeas what comes to mind first: chickpeas, or broad beans? For a long time I always thought of chickpeas. Most store bought varieties are (dry) spheres made predominantly of mashed chickpeas and spices. These chickpea falafel are common right across the Middle East.
In Egypt, however, they make them from fava beans a type of broad bean!) It makes the falafel lighter and more moist than its chickpea cousins. They are also bright green! There’s not a lot else that’s different as many of the spices used to flavour the falafel are the same. In my recipe I use a mix of chickpeas AND falafel. So no, they’re not authentic, but they are delicious! You really get the best of both worlds with this recipe.
Add some spice
Onion, garlic, parsley, coriander cumin and cayenne all go into the mix. A little chilli powder or cayenne spice things up. I like to use a mix of fresh and dried herbs. Fresh parsley and coriander help to keep the falafel bright green in colour but also add a really fresh flavour. Ground cumin, coriander and cayenne give a more earthy, deep flavour. Ordinarily when using dried spices you would toast them first or pour over hot oil to release their aromas. We don’t do that here; they just go into the blender with the rest of the ingredients. The result is a more delicate, fragrant flavour than something that is really punchy.
Into the fryer
You don’t need a deep fat fryer to make falafel. In fact, if you’re trying to cut down on fat you can make baked falafel (more on that here). I think the best way to cook these falafel is to shallow fry them. Add about 2 inches of flavourless vegetable oil to your pan and heat to roughly 190C / 375F before adding the falafel. If you’re having trouble shallow frying one of the following might be the issue:
- you need more chickpea flour – add a little more to the mix if the falafel fall apart when you add them to the pan.
- you’ve crowded the pan / the temperature is too low – if this is the case you’ll have greasy, soggy falafel that don’t have a lovely crisp outside.
- your oil is too hot – you’ll notice the outside of your falafel look cooked after just a minute or two but the centre isn’t hot.
This recipe makes a big batch so don’t panic. Just adjust the mix or the oil and keep going! The ones that aren’t quite perfect are “chef’s perks”, so enjoy them as you continue to cook!
Vegan Broad Bean Falafel
- 250 grams tinned chickpeas drained weight, don't throw away the chickpea water (aquafaba) as this is also used in the recipe
- 200 grams frozen broad beans thawed
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
- 1 small bunch coriander roughly chopped
- 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 0.5 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 tbsp chickpea flour
- 1 tsp salt
- sesame seeds
- vegetable oil
- Place the broad beans in a pan of hot water and bring to the boil. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes before draining and plunging into ice cold water.
- Once the broad beans have cooled place these in a food processor of blender along with the chickpeas, onion, garlic, herbs and spices.
- Pulse until you have a chunky but sticky paste that just holds together when you press it into a ball.
- Spoon the mixture into a large bowl and add the chickpea flour and 2 tbsp of the chickpea water (aka aquafaba). Stir so that it is well combined.
- The mix should now be the perfect consistency to shape into balls. If it is too wet, add more chickpea flour. If it is too dry add more chickpea water (aka aquafaba).
- Take a heaped tablespoon of the mix and shape into a round patty. Place on a baking tray until you are ready to fry. Repeat with the rest of the falafel mix.
- Once you have used up all of the mix, add enough oil to your frying pan so that the oil is roughly 2 inches deep.
- Heat until it reaches roughly 190C / 375F.
- Take the first falafel and roll it in sesame seeds before placing carefully into the oil. Repeat this with a few more of the patties being careful not to overcrowd them in the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes before flipping over.
- Place these on to another baking tray and place in your oven on a low heat while you fry the rest of the falafel.
- Once all the falafel has been cooked serve in a wrap or as part of a mezze platter.
Freezing broad bean falafel
Depending on the size of your falafel, you should get roughly 18 from this recipe. If you don’t want to eat 18 falafel in one go then the mix freezes well. Roll them into balls / patties and place on a baking sheet. Cover with cling film and place in the freeze. Once they have frozen you can put them into a freezer bag and you won’t need to worry about them sticking together. You can fry them from frozen they will just take longer to cook.
You’ll see in these photos I’ve served my falafel on a simple flatbread with a herby mayonnaise, baby spinach, cucumber, salad tomatoes and quick pickled onions. Check out my vegan mayonnaise recipe.
These falafel are also perfect served as part of a mezze platter.
More mezze dishes
Find more recipes from around the world in my global recipe archive.