Falafel: Fa-la-la-la-la-fel

Falafel is a very light word. Other than the vowels, all it really has are the letters f and l: two airy, flying, and almost musical letters that make up the lovely and much-adored fa and la of the solfège. You could almost sing fa-la-la-la-la-fel this Christmas instead of the usual fa-la-la-la-la…, or have a falafel patty instead of a burger this weekend, and be totally fine.

I’ve been trying to cut back on meat recently. I know I could never be vegetarian for fear that I would lose the animal instinct in me. I have so much respect for vegetarians.

They strike me as saintly creatures, with the will of hermits and inoffensiveness of angels. I love meat and feel no guilt at all chewing and swallowing innocent animals so I don’t risk becoming a vegetarian anytime soon. But reducing my consumption of flesh is something I can easily do, especially if using protein-rich alternatives like peas or beans.

Eating meatless shouldn’t mean giving up flavor or settling for a less-than-satisfying meal. In fact, falafels are so tasty, I wouldn’t be surprised if they became a favorite of yours that makes you drool more than the juiciest of burgers.

Chickpeas are quite substantial, and when mixed with cilantro, garlic, onion, and spices become one of the most appetite-teasing, taste bud-pleasing foods.

I googled fa-la-la-la-la-fel after writing this post to see if anyone out there had thought about playing with the word the way I did and found a funny song that I thought I’d show here. Enjoy!

Falafel with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Makes about 8 falafels


For the falafels:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 30 sprigs fresh cilantro (or about 2 handfuls)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch (or all-purpose flour)
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil, for frying

For the cucumber yogurt sauce:

  • ½ cup peeled and chopped cucumbers
  • 5 ounces plain yogurt
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Step 1: Place the chickpeas, cilantro, onion, and garlic in a food processor and process until reduced to a paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in the sea salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and flour until well blended.

Step 2: Heat the oil until very hot. Place the cornmeal in a shallow dish. Shape the mixture into patties and dredge them into the cornmeal. Fry the patties until golden brown and crispy, 2 to 4 minutes per side.

Step 3: Process the cucumbers, yogurt, salt, and pepper in a food processor until puréed. If you prefer a more unctuous sauce, mix in a teaspoon of olive oil or mayonnaise.

Jennifer Dumas

My name is Jennifer! Welcome to Dinners and Dreams. My goal here is to encourage you to try out recipes you never thought you could make at home. Furthermore, I also review products that I have used in the past or currently using to make every day buying decisions easier and to ensure you get the best value for your money.

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