While actual recipes have a lot of variation, there are several basic falafel ingredients. Falafel is a common Middle Eastern street food that is typically served in a pita or wrapped in a flatbread and topped with a tahini sauce or, generally in Western countries, hummus.
Chickpeas. In Israel and many other Middle Eastern countries, the primary falafel ingredients are chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. The chickpeas make falafel very high in protein and fiber.
- Fava beans. In Egypt, falafel is more commonly made using one of their staple foods, fava beans. Some countries use a combination of fava beans and chickpeas as the foundation of falafel. The beans are either soaked in baking soda and ground up or cooked and mashed before being used in falafel.
- Onion. Finely chopped onion is a common falafel ingredient. Falafel is also often topped with sliced or pickled raw onions and other vegetables.
- Garlic. Garlic is used in larger amounts in Egypt where the dish is generally made to be spicier. Most falafel contains some garlic for flavor.
- Coriander. The seeds from the cilantro plant are dried and ground to make coriander, a spice that is frequently used in Middle Eastern cooking.
- Cumin. Best known as a key flavor in hummus, cumin is another spice that is a common falafel ingredient.
- Parsley. Adding a fresh flavor to balance the other spices, fresh, finely-diced parsley is another falafel ingredient.
- Vegetable oil. The rest of the falafel ingredients are combined and shaped into balls or small patties. The falafel is then fried in hot vegetable oil before being served.