New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

CrockPot Falafel Recipe

Day 142.

Last weekend I went through the pantry and put like items together. Since I had helpers, it took a really long time, and it sort of looks the same way it did when I started, but I now have a pretty good idea of our inventory.

We have a surplus of garbanzo beans.

So I made falafels.

In the crockpot.

I've never made falafels before, but figured if it didn't work out, at least I'd have a nice story to tell.

But it worked! I am ecstatic to have a new meal to put in our repertoire--a light and healthy dinner to have on a warm evening.

The Ingredients.
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1/2 onion, finely chopped (I used a yellow onion, red is okay too, if you like that flavor)
1 tablespoon dried parsley (dry is better than fresh because it's too wet)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
 juice from 1 lemon (that's a lemon. a weird looking lemon, but a lemon nonetheless)
1/2 to 3/4 cup bread crumbs (I have gluten free crumbs made from a loaf of brown rice bread that I keep in the freezer)
2 tablespoons olive oil (for the bottom of your crock)

The Directions.

Take a deep breath. It looks like there are a lot of ingredients, but this comes together awfully quick. I seriously only spent 25 minutes from start to finish. The hardest part was getting all the spice bottles arranged for the photo.

Drain garbanzo beans. Dump them into a mixing bowl and smash them with a fork. Set aside.

Get out your blender or food processor (I used our vitamix. I love that thing!). Blend together all of the spices, the onion, the garlic, the egg, and the lemon juice.

Pour on top of your smashed garbanzo beans. Use your fork to mix together, and add the breadcrumbs slowly until the mixture is wet and sticky but can be formed into balls nicely. I needed 3/4 of a cup of breadcrumbs.

Pour 2 T of olive oil into the bottom of your crockpot stoneware insert.

Form squished golf-ball sized patties of falafel. Dip each side into the olive oil and then nestle into your crockpot. It's okay if they overlap or are on top of each other.

Cook on high for 2-5 hours. Ours cooked on high for 3.5 hours--you will know that the falafels are done when they turn brownish-golden. You can flip them halfway through the cooking time if you feel like it, but they will brown on top even without flipping. (I know. I don't get it either.)

Serve with yogurt sauce or mayonnaise. I made a quick yogurt sauce with Greek yogurt, celery seed, dill, salt and pepper and lemon juice.

The Verdict.

These were awesome! I never would have imagined that a delicate falafel would turn out so nicely in a slow cooker. I am thrilled that this worked and even more thrilled that my kids didn't run screaming from the kitchen when I showed them what we were having for dinner. They had plain pasta, but were polite with their "no thank yous."

Adam and I ate ours on corn tortillas with lettuce, tomato, and the yougurt sauce. This is enough food for a family of four. We were stuffed. Falafels are filling.

When I make these again, I'm going to add a bit more salt and at least double the cayenne pepper.

and you can make gyro, too! :-)

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Louise said...

Should the cover be on the crockpot for these? It seems like they wouldn't brown and would get soggy with the cover on. Let me know I am really interested in trying these


Kimmer said...

I am assuming that you dip in the oil, then turn so that the other side also gets oil, right? These look very interesting, thanks!

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Louise--I left the cover all the way on. I was concerned, too, about the soggy-factor, but they did cook well for me. If you find that they are not cooking the way that you like and that there is a lot of condensation on your lid, you can prop it open with a chopstick or wooden spoon.

I didn't have to do that, but I also don't live in a very humid part of the country.


Crockpot Lady said...

kimmer, we cross-posted. yup, you assumed correctly!

Mandi said...

I've never had falafel before, but these look good. What size crockpot did you use?

stephanie said...

These look so good! I have some garbanzo beans needing a good use so I will be trying this recipe. (And btw, I am thoroughly enjoying your site - great job!)

Mom24 said...

My family, and the words "light and healthy", do not often mix. That needs to change however. I'm going to give these a try. They sound delicious to me. Thanks for going where I would never have dared to go!

Connie said...

I love falafel. I HATE to deep fry. Thanks for this recipe. I'm going to have to try it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie,
I am a new reader to your blog, and have a quick question: When you list your measurements here, does T=tablespoon, and t=teaspoon? My mom used to write her recipes like that, but I didnt want to assume that everyone else did! LOL
Love your site!


Anonymous said...

i don't think i've ever tasted falafel. this sounds good, and i have threeeee tins of garbanzos on the shelf. time to use 'em. thanx for your inspiration. i'm enjoying your crockpotting adventures.

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Marie,



Crockstar said...

I just watched a show on sandwiches across the US (PBS) and they showed a Falafel sandwich that is made in Boston. It looked sooooo good and I have been craving one ever since.

Thanks so much for the recipe and the directions. I can't wait to try this.


Jada said...

Been checking your blog occasionally for a while now, SOOO excited to do this one, we love Falafels!!! We don't like to fry much so this looks AWESOME, I never make them at home and now I will! This was the clincher recipe for me, I am now a faithful follower of the crockpot lady and will spread the good word! Thanks!

Canadian Saver said...

It looks really good!

Gill - That British Woman said...

I have to say that sounds yummy. I hope you don't mind, but I also put a link to your blog on my blog :)

Anonymous said...

You are a crock pot goddess! Woo! I love these and can't wait to try them in the crock. It is so weird that they brown on both sides...

Our family had the Balsamic Chicken and Spring Veggies this week and everyone loved it, even picky-girl! You are my hero!


Veggie said...

Fun blog! I really love my crockpot too.

I never would have thought that falafels would work in a crockpot, I'll have to try this one.

Tuan's Princess said...

Oh you must add more parsley and keep it fresh! Also - grate about half a cucumber into your yogurt sauce. Heaven! Isn't the world a better place with falafel in it? :o)

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Ok, I know I'm not supposed to be blogging right now, but couldn't help it. I use the very same recipe for falafels and LOVE it. The one thing I do that makes them even yummier is to use half parsley and half cilantro. I'm so excited to make these in my crockpot (maybe I can actually make a "fried" meal without getting burned. =)

Niki said...

i am totally making those next week!


simplythis said...

YUM!! Thanks for this recipe. I've just found your blog and can tell I'll be trying many things. I've just tried the falafel and it is the best ever. Not dried out like my oven baked falafel were and they didn't fall apart and make an oily mess like my stove top fried falafel. This is my new favorite thing.

Maria said...

do you think i could make the falafel in advance, freeze/refridgerate it, then bake it to be fresh? i wanted to serve it on my bday and am assuming i'll need a lot of these little bad boys...

Crockpot Lady said...

Maria, I wish I knew a better answer other than to give it a try. I truly don't know at all----this was the very first time I have ever made a falafel.

I'm sorry. Happy Birthday!!!!!

floridagirlinsydney said...

I found your blog through Yanks Down Under-- it's great, since moving to Australia I haven't had a crockpot-- but I'm gonna run out and get one this week!
I have been making that Sean's falafel recipe from allrecipes for years-- it's the best--I don't use cumin, just flat leaf parsley-- but I cannot believe you can cook them in a slow cooker!! I am going to have to try this asap!

Niki said...

these rocked! thanx!

Nemmie said...

Made 'em, they were awesome. Posted on my blog. Thanks bunches!

Nicole (SAHM Ramblings) said...

First time visitor - by way of Cast Sugar...

I've never had a really good falafel - they have always been very dry. But since I love garbanzo beans, maybe I'll give your recipe a shot.

Aside from that, I'm excited about adding you to my Google Reader and checking out what other fun crock pot recipes you have! I use a slow cooker instead of a crock pot but seems most recipes are interchangeable!

Brenna Kate said...

I couldn't get mine to make balls, so I made a huge patty. It worked!

Rachael said...

This sounds SO good; I love that it's in the crock pot!

I wonder if it could be altered to exclude the egg somehow. My family and I are Orthodox Christians and I'd love to try this for fasting days.

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Rachael, the egg kind of acts like a glue to hold the mixture together. I would guess that adding a bit of oil, would work. If you were feeling adventurous, you could try using a bit of gelatin as a binder, also. But I'd probably try it with some added olive oil first.


Rachael said...

Thanks, I will have to experiment with that!

Maria said...

The recipe sounds really yummy, but I have two questions I hope you can help me with.

I live in Denmark, we don't have chick-peas in a can here, but only dried chick-peas. Do you know how I might get from dried chick-peas to chick-peas suitable for this? I know I need to soak them for 24 hours and then rinse them, but would I also need to cook them for a bit first?

The second question has to do with the crock-pot. Mine only has one setting - low. Would I be able to make the falafel anyway? I LOVE falafel, so I really hope so.

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Maria,
you can most certainly turn dry chick peas into cooked, delicious ones! Wash them well, and put them in the crock with a bunch of water. Cook on low until they reach desired tenderness. You may need to add more water, if they plump a lot and the water level looks low. You can add salt while they soften and cook, or add more later in recipes.

As for the falafel, crockpots will eventually hit a "high" temperature on a "low" setting--it just takes longer. I'd give it a try, and not peek too often, to keep the heat in. If you have a day that you can play around with the crock, and aren't in a rush, I do believe you falafels will cook just fine.

thank you for writing in!

Maria said...

Thanks! I'll give it a try.

Thought you might be interested in knowing your blog is syndicated on LiveJournal. I'm one of at least three people who've gotten quite addicted to it :)

Familia said...

i made this on the weekend and everybody loved them! great idea! they want a repeat soon!

Tara said...

I made these today for dinner. I didn't have enough time to cook them in the crock, so I did it with some oil on the stove top. What a pain. I'll use the crock if I make them again. I have a question, though. They seemed sorta strange. They were pretty much like salmon cakes without the salmon. Is that what they're supposed to be like or did I mess them up somehow?

Bethany said...

I have been reading your blog for a while because I too love my crockpot and because well, your quite funny. Anyway, I FINALLY tried something. I couldn't believe you could make falafel in the CP. I had tried to make homemade falafel and well is was awful falafel (: This, on the other hand was GREAT. I can't wait to make it again.

Anonymous said...

Hi I had a quick question for you. In my family I have a 16 year old son, a 12 year old daughter, and my husband. I was just wondering what size crock pot you use in your reciepes. (We have a 3 1/2 quart one, but yours seems alot bigger) Thanks!

SewMuchAdo said...

I am so excited to make these! I love garbanzo beans, and somehow I always have a surplus too.

p.s. did I just see you on Rachael Ray the other day?

Astrid said...

Cooking these tomorrow - I premade them tonight so I can just toss them in in the morning. Can they go all day on low, or is the high necessary to get the browning?

Thanks, I cannot wait to try them!

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Astrid! eek, I don't know! I only made them that once, and it was two months ago...
I'm scared to tell you one way or another, because I truly don't know. I'm so sorry.
(hangs head in shame...)


Astrid said...

I've got it in the crockpot on low as we speak, all day... so here's for hoping!

(I'm also making homemade pitas - dough in my bread machine to be ready when I get home) and tzatziki sauce (Which I have spelled horribly). The cucumber is shredded and draining in the fridge. :D

I love you blog and can't wait to try more recipes. Would that I had time to have a blog about my food. I do a tv review blog and that's a big amount of time. ;)

I'll let you know how the falafel turns out. I also made the patties last night and put them in the fridge in saran until this morning.

Astrid said...

Cooking on low all day was fine! Not sure if it would have been crispier on the outside if it had been high for half the day, but they were yummy and everyone loved them. thanks for the recipe! Looking forward to trying more.

Meg said...

Not that I don't believe you, but I am skeptical. I am going to have to try this. I fry my falafel and it's a major pain in the patootey.

Cathy said...

Crock Pot Women Of the Year!! Yippy I love getting a new recipe every day, it also has inspired me to cook more.. hehe..

My question is this, what is the soneware insert you talk about in this recipe?


Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Cathy, it's the part of the crockpot that you put the food in. It's made of thick stoneware, and if your crock is newer than the ones that came out in the 70s, the stoneware comes out for ease in cleaning.


finethanx said...

Steph, thanks so much for posting your adventures this year. I found your site via a link for the eggplant 'parmesan' with feta and quickly got hooked! This recipe for falafel, though, is by far the most unique use of a crockpot I think. I made a double batch of them (& more like squashed ping pong ball size) as an appetizer when family we had never met (can we say "stress!") came to visit last week. They were such a hit, there were only a couple left over for a falafel pita sandwich the next day--yum! I'm taking another batch to a new-year's eve party tonight. Oh, When I took them out of the crock last time, some of them seemed firm, but not really 'crunchy' like falafels that are fried, so I arranged them on the grate in the toaster oven & toasted for a minute or so before putting them on a serving platter. YUM!

janel said...

That is amazing that you made falafels in the crockpot. I just got back from my first trip to Israel and have been craving them since. I will definitely be trying these out. Thanks!

CherieinIdaho said...

Made these tonight and they ROCKED. Way better than deep fried and really easy! Thanks!

Beth said...

These are pretty much amazing. Loves it!

mikononyte said...

Oh Thank You Thank You thank YOU!

I have to drive into town to maybe find a boxed mix for this and I love it. I keep Garbanzos in the cupboard all the time. Like you, it never occured to me.

Laura said...

About your browning on both sides question--

I just happened to be looking at the directions for my Rival crockpot recently, and it says that there is no direct heating on the bottom, that it is on the sides. It says to fill up the crockpot at least half full or else the cooking time will be longer. I'm sure flipping the falafels makes a little bit of difference since there is still indirect heat on the bottom, but then there is indirect heating through the air too.

tnspr569 said...

Just made these - yum!! Try serving in whole wheat pitas, with hummus, tahini (the ready to eat kind, not the thick paste in a jar), small sour pickle bits, and Israeli salad (diced kirby cucumbers, tomatoes, maybe onions, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and maybe zaatar to taste). Amazing!

People couldn't believe that I made them in the crockpot!

lilybeee said...

I loooove this! I'm a huge falafel fan, but like many others hate the frying involved.

For me, falafel sauce just isn't right unless it has tahini in it. The toasted kind, not the raw kind. It's been a long time since I made it, but I'm pretty sure yogurt, tahini, a bit of honey and a bit of garlic, salt to taste.

I'm so glad you are continuing to cook and post, since I found you near the end of your year.

Ashley said...

I made these last night, they were SO good! The best falafel I've ever had! I didn't use a crock pot, I just fried them in olive oil on the stove for a few minutes each side. I also only had Italian seasoned bread crumbs, so I didn't put in any spices, and it worked out great! Thanks for an awesome recipe!

Megan said...

I made these the other night and they turned out really good. I let them cook a little long and they were pretty browned, but still tasty.

The homemade yogurt sauce is a must though. I used plain yogurt, (I let it strain a bit so it wouldn't be runny), shredded and finely diced cucumber (salted and let strain also to get water out), pepper, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. olive oil. Fantastic.

Jenna said...

I'm glad I found this recipe. I knew you had posted a falafel recipe, but when I did a search on the site for "falafel" it didn't come. I also checked under the label "beans" but it wasn't there either. Finally a google search found it. Yea! This is what I'm going to make for dinner tomorrow. I'm also going to make a batch of refried beans in the other crockpot so we'll have lots of vegetarian options for the next while.

Courtney said...

These were so great! My 2yr old loved them, as did my husband. I ended up putting the beans in the food processor to get a finer texture. Next time I'm going to make a double batch to freeze!

Kristi Arnold said...

Made this again today. So good as always. I was wondering whether I could do this potato croquettes recipe the same way. It seems like it could work.

Lori S. said...

There are absolutely delicious!

I didn't have any eggs in the house, so I tried just using moistened bread crumbs as the binder. That was a disaster and the patties had all melted into a big pile in the bottom of my crockpot. I turned it off, let them cool, shaped into patties (again!) and baked them in the oven. Turned out fine in the end, but I won't try without the egg again!

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie,

I realize you posted this recipe ages ago now, but I wanted to thank you for posting it anyway! I'm new to crock potting (and fairly new to cooking in general, as a recent college grad) and your website has been so helpful. I made these falafels tonight and they were SO good - just like everything I've made from your blog! I'm working full time and in graduate school full time, and thanks to your yummy recipes there is always something delicious for my boyfriend and I to come home to.

So thank you, I love your site!

The Cannary's said...

i seriously can't wait to try these!

Susan said...

I was dying to try these after totally living on fab falafels my entire trip to egypt (nothing else was edible). They were always super-crispy outside and soft and spiced inside. This recipe tasted good, although i added much more spice, lemon juice and fresh coriander than called for. Disappointingly, they weren't at all crispy, even though i had them on at least 5hrs on high! They did brown, but almost all fell apart removing them from the pot. We had them on pitas, served with salad, home made tzatziki, and tomatoes...i missed the pickled veg that you get with them in egypt. Will I make them again? Maybe...but will try frying/baking as opposed to the crockpot way...too bad!

JBicer said...

This was ok. I will attempt to make it again because I love falafel. I think I made the dough a bit to thick so it was hard to cook nicely and eventually dried out. But overall the flavor and the smell were spot on.

Debi said...

This sounds great! I love the slow cooker for ease. I think they would be great with some homemade flatbread as well. Thanks for sharing there. :)

AZ Harveys said...

This was the most amazing recipe I have tried in months! So easy, and the results were spectacular. Mine cooked for about 3 1/2 hours at high, were nicely browned and a little crispy, and so tasty! I used a little extra garlic, but otherwise stayed true to the recipe. I think next time I will use fresh parsley and even more garlic, but really, you don't need to alter the recipe in the least to get wonderful results. Thank you so much for this, it will become a staple in our house.

KidEats said...

I love Felafel and am going to make your recipe this week. I think I'll do what Caroline suggested and put the beans in the food processor first to make the texture smoother and more appealing to kids. Thanks for sharing!

Barbara Jones said...

I've never had felafel, but your recipe is interesting and the following comments made me want to try it - along with wanting to check out your site for more great recipes.
I love using the crockpot, but most recipes come out looking so similar with a lot of liquid, meat, and vegetables pretty much the same color. I am excited to try something different.
Thank you for sharing.

Stephanie said...

Eating falafel on anything but pita bread is just wrong!! Nonetheless, I look forward to trying your recipe. Way easier and healthier than frying them :)

SparkBunny said...

I usually make falafel in the oven, with way fewer ingredients than this, but i thought i'd give this a try. I was extremely disappointed. After 2 hours on high, i was getting so much condensation on the lid that i propped it open with a wooden spoon. 2 hours later, the ones near the outside were burned halfway through, and the ones in the middle were hardly browned at all. Terrible. Makes more sense to just cook them at 425 for 10 minutes than babysit the crockpot all afternoon. Certainly did not make my life easier.

MamaCheetah said...

I am so bummed. I was really super excited to make these falafels, and whipped up a double batch for us and a neighbor who just had surgery. Problem is, while I followed the reciped to the letter (aside from adding an extra clove of garlic) and cooked it on high for 5 hours, they were just mush. Perhaps it was b/c I tried to do a double batch?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

@MamaCheetah, I'm bummed too. I'm so sorry you had this experience. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but it sounds like they just never "baked" enough to form correctly. I don't know if it was because it was a double batch, or because too much moisture was trapped in the pot--I really can't say without seeing it firsthand, but I'm terribly sorry for the food waste, and for your friend's surgery. I hope she's healing nicely even though the falafel was a bust.


Colleen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MamaCheetah said...

Stephanie, I forgot to add that I did indeed rescue the falafel by digging it out of the crockpot, reshaping it and putting it in the oven for 10 mins. Made some cucumber yogurt sauce, sliced some cukes, tomatoes and lettuce, and served it to my grateful friend & her family with pita (they can eat gluten - lucky family) and dolmas. I think I may try one more time with a single batch. Thanks for your words - she's healing, and has a great attitude.

Pam said...

I just wanted to say that I made these and they were fantastic. It's been a while since I made them, and forgot all about reviewing them, but I'm making them again for a friend. Thank you so much for the recipe - YUM! I never would've thought it would work so well. :)

Jenny said...

I think the outcome of this recipe really depends on your crock. If your crock tends to cook unevenly, this recipe will not work for the whole batch, even though the ingredient mix is spot-on. I checked often and stopped when the most done ones were super crisp. Those were excellent, but over half was still gloppy and underdone. I'm going to use the same ingredient mix and try baking/broiling next time. Ingenious slow cooker idea -- I HATE frying falafel and I'm happy that the crock version worked for some!

Kerri said...

I vegan-ized these for dinner a few nights ago. They come together fine without the egg. Delicious!

In other news, my husband just came back from being in Israel for a week, and he actually didn't get to eat any falafel. So he requested that I make them tonight!

Ellen said...

These turned out great! I'm usually not a huge cook and manage to have things not quite turn out right, but they were good!

I added the extra cayenne pepper and it has a nice spice to it. Cooked it for my boyfriend and our friends-- they all loved it!

So thanks for the recipe. :)

Amy Simonson said...

I can't tell you how much I am enjoying your blog. You are truly my favorite. Every recipe I have tried of yours is so fun! The falafels are my absolute fave so far. Love your humor. Thanks for paving the way for so many creative dishes in the crockpot! You have gotten me out of more cooking ruts than I can count!

Jen said...

I love Falafel, hate frying them and love my slow cooker so I'm really happy to have found this recipe.

mrsmackerelsnapperop said...

We tried this, and it was delicious! Thanks for sharing! I raved (and served it with tzatziki cous cous) here:

food lover said...

I've made this at least a dozen times but there is one point that I would like to clear up.

If I want to use flour or oat brand or wheat germ instead of bread crumbs - what would be the correct amounts for each of the above.

Also, as I don't have a slow cooker and always bake them in a regular oven, can you tell me at how many degrees and how long would you suggest.

DevonMama3 said...

I've been playing with your falafel recipe (amazing!)and discovered that my 2-quart baby pot doesn't work for them. There must be a law of diminishing returns when it comes to how thickly these can be stacked in the pot--mine were much more successful in a larger pot where they only had to be overlapped a tiny bit instead of stacked. And you may have said this on prior occasions (I'm new here), but I see an enormous difference in the varying brands of crockpots. Some people criticize my brand of baby pot for overheating, and I agree that the high setting is pretty doggone hot for a slow cooker, though the low is fine. I'll try the falafel again in it on low and report back.

Thanks for all you do! You've changed my life!
Devon Mom

Pravina Parikh said...

Hello Stephanie,

I have been reading your vegetarian crockpot recipes for some time but never left a comment. When I saw falafel recipe using crockpot I had write something. ! Never thought of doing this. You gave me idea about many Indian recipes to make in crockpot that usually needs frying. Thank you for sharing. Please do visit my blog when you get chance. I share Indian recipes using crockpot on my blog.


Jessica Fletcher said...

I made this recipe a few days ago and it was really good! I followed the recipe with the exception of using Panko for the breading. My patties cooked a little uneven - some were a lot browner than others, but it didn't matter in the end as I wound up smashing them all later to make sandwiches. I served these wrapped in a flour tortilla with homemade tzatziki, tomato, and romaine lettuce. Delicious!

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