Posted by: Avivah | January 13, 2011

Falafel with tahini sauce

We recently enjoyed falafel for dinner, served with tahini sauce, fresh salad, and plain yogurt. This was (like most of our meals :P) very frugal, and once the garbanzo beans are soaked and cooked, fairly quick to put together. I did an approximate price breakdown so you can see how affordable this is, as well as some of the strategies I use to keep food costs down.  These costs are for a meal for 9 people.


  • 1.5 lb dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans (soaked, sprouted, and cooked – you can leave out sprouting if you’re short on time)
  • 4 cloves of garlic or 1 – 2 t. garlic powder
  • 2 T. dried parsley or 1/4 c. fresh parsley
  • 2 t. sea salt (I used Real Salt)
  • 2 t. cumin
  • 3 t. baking powder
  • 3 T. warm water

Blend the chickpeas with water (I use some of the water they cooked in, keeping everything in the pot and blending with an immersion/stick blender).  Mix the spices and baking powder in a separate bowl so they blend evenly, then mix well into the chickpea mixture.  Form into flat patties so that you can cook it without deep frying it.  Fry in buttered pan on each side until browned, or spread into a well-greased pan and bake as patties or a loaf at 350 degrees until it looks done.

Cost: I bought the chickpeas on sale for .59 lb, figure another .20 for the spices.  Total cost of falafel loaf- 1.09.

Tahini Sauce:

  • 1 c. tahini (sesame butter)
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. cold water
  • 3 cloves garlic or 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. sea salt

Blend all of the above ingredients until smooth.  Serve as a sauce for the falafel loaf.  I bought the tahini on sale for 2.99 for 16 oz, and this was about half the container, so 1.50 for the tahini, about .50 for the lemon juice .  Total cost of tahini sauce: $2.

For the salad, I chopped up lots of pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, and homemade lacto- fermented pickles, and made a simple dressing of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  I used reduced produce for this (.29 lb for cukes and pickles, .49 lb for tomatoes), and I bought the olive oil on sale (naturally!), 3.99 for 1 quart/18 oz.  So a large amount of salad (guesstimating about 12 cups) including dressing was about $3.50.

I didn’t make the yogurt with raw milk, something I often like to do and which is very affordable.  I used store bought plain yogurt on sale for .99 a quart.

Total cost for an ample and filling falafel dinner for a family of 9 – $7.59.

(This post is part of Pennywise Platter Thursday.)



  1. Thank you! I had been wanting to make falafel lately because the ingredients are so cheap and nutritious but didn’t because of the deep frying. I’m definitely going to try baking them in the oven.

  2. Hi Aviva! I have enjoyed reading your blog for quite a while. I also enjoy falafel. I also sprout my garbanzos, but then mix up the falafel without cooking the beans. A lot of ethnic recipes do it that way. The falafal has a delicious crunchiness that I find absent in the cooked bean version, and since the beans are sprouted, I figure they are more digestable even though uncooked.
    Here is a recipe I made last week:

    Falafel (raw chickpeas & favas)

    (Servings: –)

    3 cups soaked chickpeas and peeled fava beans
    (I just used chickpeas this time)
    ½ cup chopped cilantro leaf and stem (or parsley)
    ½ cup chopped scallion, white and green
    6 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
    ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
    ======TARATOR (TAHINI SAUCE)======
    1 cup tahini (ground sesame paste)
    ½ cup water
    ¼ cup lemon juice, fresh if possible, or more to taste
    1 teaspoon chopped garlic, or more to taste
    1 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
    pinch cayenne (optional)
    1. FOR FALAFEL: Grind to a coarse paste. It should be moist enough to hold its shape after being pressed gently, but not so moist it seeps water. Form patties with neat edges about a half inch thick. Heat a half-inch of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, and when hot enough so that a crumb of mix bubbles briskly, drop patties in, in a single layer. Turn when they start to brown. Drain on paper towels. Best eaten while warm; they dry out quickly.
    2. FOR SAUCE: Place all ingredients except parsley in bowl of food processor or blender, and whip until smooth. Add more water if you like it drippy; add more lemon if you like it zippy. Alternatively, you can mash the garlic with salt in the bottom of a bowl, and whip the tahini with lemon juice and spices. The tahini will seize up and thicken at first, but will relax and dissolve as more liquid is added. Stir in parsley and cayenne, if using.


    • I hope it works well for you, Nathalie – be sure to grease the pan well!

      Melissa – I never thought of not cooking the garbanzos after sprouting – what an interesting idea! Thank you for sharing your recipe; it looks great!

  3. Aaaack! Did I overcook my beans? The patties *totally* fell apart in the pan 😦 PLan B…

    • I think it would help to add a couple of eggs when you bake it to make the consistency firmer; also it would keep it moist (falafel can be dry when it’s not fried). I’m very comfortable making up recipes and adapting existing recipes as I go along, so if the consistency of a recipe isn’t quite right, then I add something to make it firmer or looser. Will make note up above.

  4. The mix was quite firm. Maybe eggs would help. Thanks 🙂

  5. I think my family must eat too much. These are about the amounts I would make for my family and we have several fewer members. 😀 I would like to make this soon.

    • LOL, Binah! Because we had a huge salad, two cups of techina, and a quart of plain yogurt with it, we didn’t need as much of the falafel as we would have if it was just falafel.

      Falafel itself isn’t very filling, because there isn’t any fat in it (unless you heavily fry it). Salad with ample amounts of olive oil or techina with the falafel makes it much more filling. It’s fat that tells the brain that it’s full and to stop eating; carbohydrates don’t do that and beans are a carbohydrate.

  6. […] | Well Fed Homestead19. The Healing Fork – Huevos Rancheros20. Indonesian Ginger Chicken21. Avivah @ Oceans of Joy – frugal falafel dinner22. Spincah Pepper Mushroom Bake – Lazy Budget Chef23. Losing Creek Farm – Goat Ribs […]

  7. Melissa is right, do not cook the garbanzos! Also, you can fry them up in a little olive oil or even coconut oil (the coconut oil gives them a texture we don’t like, but YMMV). Also, I omit the baking powder/soda. It doesn’t add much to the recipe and I don’t like the flavor.

    Oh, this is Malkie, btw. Raising Wings is my new blog. 🙂

  8. Wow, even though I’m subscribed I somehow missed this recipe! My husband will be so excited you have no ides. 🙂
    Also, I keep finding myself thinking: “I can’t believe they’re moving to Israel!” haha!

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