Falafel with minted tahini yoghurt

When it comes to chickpeas there seem to be two distinct camps – people either love ’em or hate ’em! Personally, I could eat chickpeas every day, but I know plenty of people who would not touch them… even with a very long, long barge pole.

It was a proud moment when my almost two year old daughter joined “Team Chickpea”. We were enjoying a braai with some friends when she decided to help herself to some falafel from a platter on the table. The first few bites were tentative, but before we knew it the whole thing had disappeared and she was going back for seconds! 

It was that little incident that inspired me to make home made falafel. I must be very honest and say that I am not entirely sure what constitutes a truly authentic falafel recipe. especially in terms of the herbs and spices used, or whether this comes close. I simply added what I thought would taste good! 

I am a sucker for yoghurt based dressings and created a tahini yoghurt dressing with fresh mint and lime juice to go with the dish. I also tried my hand at some home made tahini paste which is essentially made of sesame seeds and olive oil. If you don’t feel like making it from scratch then I am sure a store-bought version would be fine. Just remember to taste the yoghurt dressing and adjust the amount you add if necessary.

Just a note here – I have attempted this recipe with tinned chickpeas and the results were, in a word, diabolical. The chickpeas turned into hummus and I ended up with mushy falafel that disintegrated when I tried to fry it. Huge falafel fail! Please don’t be put off by the fact that you need to soak the chickpeas in this recipe. It is not exactly a lot of work, but will require just a little bit of forward planning.

And there you have it… a tasty snack or meal option for the New Year. Go Team Chickpea!!  



  • Servings: Makes about 20
  • Print

For the falafel:

  • 250g dried chickpeas
  • cold water for soaking
  • 1 shallot
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • sunflower oil for frying

For the yoghurt:

  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup plain or Greek yoghurt
  • 4 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • salt and pepper

1.) Place the dried chickpeas in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water. Leave to stand for 24 hours, topping up the water if necessary.

2.) Drain the chickpeas and place them in a food processor. Chop until they have a course, crumb-like texture. Tip into a clean bowl and set aside.

3.) Place the shallot, parsley, garlic, a good pinch of salt and pepper, cumin, coriander, nutmeg and lime juice in the food processor. Pulse until you have a fine mixture. Add the flour and mix until well combined.

4.) Add the chickpeas back into the food processor. Pulse everything together to get a slightly finer texture and to get rid of any large chickpea chunks, but take care not to over process the mixture.

5.) Shape the mixture into balls. Pop them onto a tray and then into the fridge for an hour, or until firm.

6.) Meanwhile, prepare the tahini: toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over a low heat, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes or until they are golden in colour. Transfer to a food processor and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Blitz to combine the seeds and oil into a paste. Add extra olive oil if the paste is too thick. Set the tahini aside in the fridge.

7.) Make the yoghurt dressing by combining the yoghurt, 2 tablespoons of tahini, mint and lime juice in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside in the fridge.

8.) Heat 1-2cm of sunflower oil in a frying pan. Fry the falafel in batches, turning them until they are golden on all sides. Drain the falafel on kitchen towel and serve immediately with minted tahini yoghurt.  



4 thoughts on “Falafel with minted tahini yoghurt

  1. Oh, this looks lovely – and a bonus tahini recipe, thank you very much! I go through jars and jars of tahini, have never tried to make my own. Thanks again!


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