Paying homage to an age-old delicacy that has transcended into a popular street food, this falafel salad is not only vegan but also absolutely delicious and perfect for all occasions!
- Why You’ll Love Vegan Hummus and Falafel Salad
- What is Falafel?
- Where is Falafel Originally From?
- How to Eat Falafel?
- Recipe Overview
- Variations and Substitutions
- How to Make This Salad Perfectly (Expert Tips)
- How to Serve Vegan Hummus and Falafel Salad
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love Vegan Hummus and Falafel Salad
As far as vegan chickpea recipes go, falafel is perhaps the most popular way to eat chickpeas.
If you have never made falafels before, don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off. They are all simply added together in a food processor and blitzed until well combined.
These falafels also make for a healthy vegan game day snack or any rugby and Australian rules football parties!
All you’re merely doing is shaping the chickpeas into torpedo shapes and piping hummus on the top. At the same time, you’re not compromising on taste or presentation.
What is Falafel?
Simply put, falafels are deep fried balls of ground chickpeas.
The chickpeas, and sometimes fava beans, are mixed in with a ton of aromatic herbs and spices, rolled into a ball and dropped into hot sizzling oil. This creates a crunchy outer layer while staying fluffy on the inside.
Where is Falafel Originally From?
This is one of those age-old rivalries where different countries vie for the accolade of being the first to create the falafel.
It has been said that falafels originated from Egypt. It dates all the way back to the Christian Copts of Egyptian, where meat was forbidden to be eaten during certain holidays.
As a result of that, they wanted to come up with a suitable alternative, and hence they created these balls of goodness but from fava beans.
Jewish pioneers then took this idea back to Israel, and they made their own version by using chickpeas instead. This is why you may have heard them being referred to as Israeli falafels and is a quintessential street food staple in Tel Aviv.
How to Eat Falafel?
The most common way to eat falafel is in a pita, which is why it’s such a popular street food as it’s something you can grab and run.
The pita or flatbread is used either as a pocket, a wrap, or a sandwich to which the falafels are added with some greens such as a salad, pickled vegetables and topped with hummus, tahini or even a hot sauce.
Falafel wraps are not only popular in the Middle East but also make a massive appearance in Western countries. Falafel wraps are extremely popular as this vegan chickpea recipe ticks many dietary lifestyle choices.
Falafels are also served on their own as part of a meze, a quick snack and even as part of iftar during Ramadan, which is the meal that breaks the daily fast after sunset.
If you’re looking for a different way to enjoy falafels, this falafel salad recipe might just be for you!
Flavour/Texture: The vegan falafels are the overarching flavour bombs in this falafel salad. The rich flavours of chickpeas mixed through with aromatic spices are crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
The tangy, savoury and garlicky flavours of the hummus provide the much needed creaminess. Doused with silky olive oil, the combination of hummus and falafel is a match made in heaven.
The salad ingredients are raw, healthy and crunchy, providing the crunch and green flavours to balance out the whole falafel salad. No dressing required. Just some lemon juice, salt and pepper will suffice.
Ease: If you have never made falafels before, it can be a little bit tricky, especially if you’d like to make them into torpedo shapes for game day snacks as we have. However, if you follow the recipe and give it a few goes, you’ll find that it’s super fun!
Time: Don’t let the time put you off. 12 hours is just soaking time which you just do before you head off to bed the day before. The rest is just normal cooking and prep time.
These are the ingredients you need for Vegan Hummus and Falafel Salad
Dried chickpeas: Yes, dried, not canned. This legume is highly versatile and quite a filling ingredient. Perfect for salads such as our Chickpea Salad with Feta, Chickpea Avocado Salad or even our Swiss Brown Mushroom Salad with Chickpeas.
Herbs: Fresh parsley and coriander (cilantro) are required to make these falafels, and to give it some fresh aromatic additions.
Spices: You’ll need cumin powder, cardamom powder, coriander powder and cayenne pepper. These spices are reminiscent of quintessential Middle Eastern flavours.
Vegetables: For the salad component, you’ll need mini cucumbers, green tomatoes, red radish and some mixed salad leaves of your choosing.
Hummus: Hummus and falafel almost always go together.. Get really good quality hummus and preferably just the plain unflavoured hummus. We’re looking for that silky smooth consistency.
Variations and Substitutions
Vegetables: You can use any raw vegetables you like to make this salad. Bell peppers, mushrooms, endive, cabbage, celery, sugar snap peas, and broccoli, just to name a few.
Spiciness: You can replace cayenne pepper with hot paprika or chilli powder. You can increase or decrease the heat level depending on your liking. Or you can even omit it altogether.
No green tomatoes: You can, of course, substitute green tomatoes with any tomatoes you like. They can be the big beefsteak tomatoes or small cherry tomatoes.
Tahini dressing: Falafel and tahini dressing is also a common combination. As we’re serving it up with hummus, we opted not to use this dressing.
If you would like to add a tahini dressing, you certainly can! You can try some of our recipes: Tahini Maple Syrup Dressing, Beetroot Tahini for a touch of pink or for added umami, try our Tahini Miso Dressing.
Step by step instructions for how to make Falafel Salad
How to Make Vegan Falafels
Falafels may seem like a daunting thing to make, especially when you look at the ingredients. Or you have tried falafels that are so dry and hard that you could throw them against the wall, and it would bounce back!
There are a few things you need to adhere to. If you follow it properly, you will get delicious falafels that stay together when frying, are crunchy on the outside and not dry at all.
The first rule you have to follow is to make falafels with uncooked chickpeas.
Sorry but as much as I would also love to, you can’t use canned cooked chickpeas to make this falafel salad recipe. They are too wet and will fall apart. You need to buy dried chickpeas and soak them overnight or at least for 12 hours.
Place loads of water to cover the chickpeas as they expand.
Please note that you are going to grind the chickpeas uncooked, so we won’t be cooking them at all until we deep fry them. So, no boiling after soaking.
After soaking, drain and place in a food processor.
Roughly chop the parsley, coriander and onion and add with the chickpeas.
Then add garlic cloves, water, flour, cumin powder, salt, cardamom powder, coriander powder, baking powder, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
Blitz until all is well combined.
The second trick to ensuring your falafels are not dry and is fluffy is baking powder. I have tried making falafels without them, and although they don’t come out super dry, the baking powder indeed makes a massive difference.
Using your hands, make about 10-12 torpedo-shaped falafels plus 1 extra-large one.
The last trick is then to place these falafels in the fridge for 30 minutes so that they will hold their shape when frying.
In a saucepan or deep fry pan, add 2 cups of vegetable oil on medium to high heat.
Add the falafels in and fry until golden brown. Watch them carefully as it doesn’t take very long.
Remove and let rest on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
How To Make The Salad
Cut the cucumbers to about 1 cm thickness.
Slice the shallots and red radishes thinly.
Slice the green tomatoes.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the mixed leaves, cucumber, shallot, red radish and green tomatoes. Add ½ tsp of olive oil, the juice of ½ lemon and some pepper to taste.
Toss until well combined.
How To Pipe Falafel Footballs
Put 1-2 tbsp of hummus into a zip lock bag or piping bag with a tip that has a very small opening. If using a zip lock bag, cut a very small hole at one of the bottom corners.
Select 3-4 of your best-looking falafel plus the extra-large falafel. Pipe the hummus gently with one long vertical line down the length of the hummus and 3 short lines horizontally to resemble the lace of the football.
Don’t overthink it. It’s just a bit of fun and no doubt your family and friends will love it! Get the kids involved. If you want to turn all of the falafels into footballs, go for it! Watch who wins the fight for the large one!
How to Assemble the Salad
Using a big platter, place the mixed salad and spread out evenly.
On one side of the salad, place all the remaining hummus in a heap. Using the back of a spoon, press down in the centre of the hummus and make circular motions to create a well.
Add 2 tsp of olive oil to the centre of the hummus well.
Pick 3-4 falafels, break in half and place around the salad.
Place the rest of the falafel around the rest of the platter.
Season with pepper to taste.
How to Make This Salad Perfectly (Expert Tips)
Use dry chickpeas: The secret to the best homemade vegan falafels is to use dry chickpeas. You can’t use canned chickpeas because it no longer contains the starch as it has been sitting in liquid the whole time.
The starchy components allow the chickpea to stick together and ensure the falafel doesn’t fall apart when you cook them.
Baking powder: the next best secret to making the best vegan falafels is to add a little baking powder to the mixture. This is what makes the falafels nice and fluffy.
Time: There are 2 times you must adhere to. Firstly, the 12-hour soaking time for the chickpeas is essential. It won’t be malleable enough if they are not soft enough to make the falafels. Just do it before you go to bed!
Secondly, there is a 30-minute fridge time when the falafels are made. This allows it to set properly and ensures it doesn’t fall apart when you put the falafels in hot oil. Spend those 30 minutes preparing the rest of the salad.
How to Serve Vegan Hummus and Falafel Salad
Looking for more fun game day snacks? Try these awesome game day recipes to serve with our Vegan Hummus and Falafel Salad:
For a vegan game day feast, these loaded sweet potato nachos would work perfectly with our hummus and falafel salad. For the traditionalists, I guess a good game day isn’t the same without some buffalo wings!
Every fun game day needs some dessert too. Try this game day chocolate chip cheesecake ball perfectly shaped in a football! The kids will love it!
Frequently Asked Questions
No, traditional falafel is made with chickpeas, broad beans or sometimes both. They are usually vegan; however, some meat renditions have been adapted over time to include beef or lamb.
Yes, you can freeze falafels. It is better, however, to freeze uncooked falafels, which would last for about 6 months. Cooked falafels may not be reconstituted well enough past the 3-month mark.
The falafels, although can be eaten cold, are best enjoyed warm. You can make the falafels and mix all the salad ingredients in a separate bowl ahead of time. Assemble when ready to eat.
As far as game day recipes go, we think this falafel salad recipe is pretty cool! Falafels are a great snack alternative, so if you want, you can just make the falafels and pipe it for everyone to grab and run!
Football or not, this is a great falafel hummus salad to have. You can have it as a meal on its own, as a mid-week alternative and most definitely when you’re entertaining. Either way, enjoy!
More Vegan Salad Recipes
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Vegan Hummus and Falafel Salad
- 150 g chickpeas, dried, uncooked
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped (coriander)
- ½ cup brown onion, chopped
- 2 garlic clove
- 5 tsp water
- 4 tsp flour
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, soak chickpeas overnight or at least for 12 hours. Cover the chickpeas generously as the chickpeas will expand.
- When ready, drain the chickpeas and place in a food processor.
- Roughly chop the parsley, coriander and onion and add with the chickpeas.
- Then add garlic cloves, water, flour, cumin powder, salt, cardamom powder, coriander powder, baking powder, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
- Blitz until pureed
- Using your hands, make about 10-12 torpedo-shaped falafels plus 1 extra large one. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes so that it will hold its shape when frying.
- In a saucepan or deep fry pan, add 2 cups of vegetable oil on medium to high heat.
- Add the falafels in and fry until golden brown. Watch them carefully as it doesn’t take very long.
- Remove and let rest on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- Cut the cucumbers to about 1 cm thickness.
- Slice the shallots and red radishes thinly.
- Slice the green tomatoes.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the mixed leaves, cucumber, shallot, red radish and green tomatoes. Add ½ tsp of olive oil, the juice of ½ lemon and some pepper to taste.
- Toss until well combined.
Piping Falafel: Footballs
- Put 1-2 tbsp of hummus into a zip lock bag or piping bag with a tip that has a very small opening. If using a zip lock bag, cut a very small hole at one of the bottom corners.Select 3-4 of your best-looking falafel plus the extra-large falafel. Pipe the hummus gently with one long vertical line down the length of the hummus and 3 short lines horizontally to resemble the lace of the football.
- Select 3-4 of your best-looking falafel plus the extra-large falafel. Pipe the hummus gently with one long vertical line down the length of the hummus and 3 short lines horizontally to resemble the lace of the football.
- Using a big platter, place the mixed salad and spread out evenly.
- On one side of the salad, place all the remaining hummus in a heap. Using the back of a spoon, press down in the centre of the hummus and make circular motions to create a well.
- Add 2 tsp of olive oil to the centre of the hummus well.
- Pick 3-4 falafels, break in half and place around the salad.
- Place the rest of the falafel around the rest of the platter.
- Season with pepper to taste.
- This is a fun and sophisticated way to present a football-themed salad. This can, of course, be made at any time, so the torpedo shapes are not necessary. Just make them into regular balls if you wish.
- You cannot use canned chickpeas for making falafel as it is cooked chickpeas. It is too wet, and the falafels will not hold together nicely.
- You can replace the cayenne pepper with hot paprika or chilli powder. You can also omit if you don’t like it with a bit of spice.
- The baking powder is essential for making it nice and fluffy.
- You can use any tomatoes for this salad.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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