Lentil Falafel

lentil falafel tastefood

~Lentil Falafel with Spicy Yogurt Tahini Sauce and Mint~

These patties are a cross between falafel and keftas. They are a terrific vegetarian meal or appetizer. We dipped them in a spicy yogurt sauce, but you can also stuff them in pita pockets with a spoonful of sauce and a handful of fresh mint or cilantro.

Lentil Falafel
Makes approximately 16 patties

1 1/2 cups cooked lentils
1/2 cup medium-grind bulgur
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Vegetable oil for pan-frying

1 cup Greek whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoons harissa paste
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place the lentils and bulgur in a medium bowl. Ad the olive oil and lemon juice and stir to combine. Cover and let stand at room temperature until liquid is absorbed and bulgur is tender, about 15 minutes.

Transfer to a food processor and add the remaining falafel ingredients. Pulse to form a chunky paste.

With wet hands lightly form the lentils in 1 1/2-inch patties about 1/2-inch thick. The mixture will be sticky and you will need to rinse your hands between batches.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties in batches without overcrowding. Cook until golden brown and heated through, turning once with a spatula. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with remaining patties.

Whisk the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Serve falafel with sauce on the side for dipping. Or stuff 1 to 2 patties in mini-pita pockets, then add a spoonful of sauce and fresh mint leaves.

Tip: For completely different rendition, don’t process in the food processor. Simply dump the mixture in a skillet with a little olive oil and saute over medium-high heat until hot and slightly crispy. Serve as an alternative to rice or pilaf.

11 thoughts on “Lentil Falafel

  1. I enjoyed the best fresh pita bread at lunch yesterday and had thoughts of stuffing them with falafels and feta. Your inspired recipe is just what I need to motivate me to make my own pita!

  2. Oh yummee: I often make falafel and have many different recipes for kefta! Perfect food for my tastes. Can’t see the differences from my usual ones on first read [shows I have made neither for a couple of weeks 🙂 !], but the recipe has been noted down and will be compared tonight! Thanks!!!!

  3. I haven’t made falafel in forever and have been craving them lately. Think I might take your spin on them for a drive soon!

  4. Now this sounds fantastic, Lynda! I was just pondering dinner and I thank you for your help in menu planning. 🙂

  5. I made these this evening for my family, with a slight alteration because we couldn’t find bulgur at our local grocer. I started with dry lentils and farro (about 1/3 cup each) which I cooked in water until tender. I then followed the instructions for the falafel cakes as directed (I did use parsley rather than cilantro). My batter didn’t hold together — I’m sure because the farro wasn’t a suitable sub for the bulgur, so next time I will probably add a couple tbsp of flour to help.

    Despite the fact that I had more of a falafel scramble, the taste was amazing. We absolutely loved it, and I’m sure I’ll be making this one again soon. Next time I think I will reserve some lentils whole to stir into the batter, or maybe try the “salad” as you described it above.

    I made this ahead of time and served it as a side dish at room temp with chicken kabobs, homemade pita, and the yogurt dressing noted above. Killer dinner!

    Thank you for the great recipes and inspiration!

  6. I love falafel! I’m glad I found this, and how great to make it with lentils, which I always have in my pantry!!! I have been on a Mediterranean kick myself 🙂 Your recipes look so great!

  7. I made this for the second time last night. As noted above, I used farro (which is a whole wheat) rather than bulgur (which is a coarsely ground wheat) and I stirred in two heaping tablespoons of flour to my batter after processing. Worked like a charm, and as noted above, we absolutely love the flavors! Thank you again for the great recipe!

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