Smash Falafel Pita

5 from 9 votes

Smash Falafel Pita is a new way to enjoy falafel by smashing the batter on pita and frying it on a skillet - it's an easy quick trend to try!

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This smash falafel is seriously a smashing hit! It was an idea I saw on Instagram from a Lebanese food blogger and I just knew I had to try it. I love the crispy thin layer of falafel that’s spread all over the pita for a satisfying taste of falafel in every bite! And the best part is it’s actually faster than traditional falafel but with all the flavor!

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Recipe At a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Middle Eastern
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop
Dietary Info: Dairy Free, Vegan
Key Flavor: Herby with a hint of spice
Skill Level: Easy

  • Authentic: I grew up eating falafel, and my dad gave me the recipe, which has just the right amount of seasoning and texture if you ask me!
  • Easy-to-make: Aside from soaking the chickpeas the night before which does take some planning head, the rest of the recipe is just blending ingredients together and then smashing them on a pita.
  • Great for meal prep: The falafel batter I use here is the one I use for all my falafel recipes and it makes about 32 falafel balls and lasts in the fridge for 1 week. So you can freeze some of this, cook some smashed on pita or make the rest into patties to bake, fry or air fry later.
  • Filling & Satisfying: Chickpeas are one of my favorite sources of plant-based protein and since they are the bulk of this recipe, you’ll love how full and satiated you feel after on sandwich.

Ingredients to Make Smash Falafel Pita

Ingredients for recipe
  • Chickpeas: Dry chickpeas are the key to a good falafel mixture. Canned chickpeas tend to be too soft for the batter and will require adding flour to the mixture
  • Fresh herbs: You can do equal parts of parsley and cilantro or add more of one kind if you prefer. I prefer a little more parsley in my mix.
  • Onion: You only need one small onion in the recipe which contributes to the texture, moisture, and extra flavor to the patties. I wouldn’t substitute onion powder here.
  • Garlic: You can substitute garlic powder here if you’d like, but I recommend fresh.
  • Salt: Yes, that’s a whole tablespoon of salt! If you think it’s too much, just know that you’re also using a whole pound of chickpeas that are not cooked or seasoned with anything.
  • Seasonings: Cumin, coriander and black pepper.

How to Make Smash Falafel Pita

Step 1: Place the soaked drained chickpeas and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine, pebble-sized pieces.
Step 2: Add the parsley, cilantro, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, and black pepper.
Step 3: Blend until the mixture turns into a thick paste, scraping down the sides as needed. Remove the blade from the bowl and the batter is ready!
3 scoops of batter on a pita
Step 4: Scoop as much of the falafel batter as you’d like on a 2-ply Arabic pita bread.
Falafel mixture spread on a pita.
Step 5: Spread out the mixture evenly to the end of the pita bread.
Pita face down in a skillet.
Step 6: Cook it on a heated skillet with olive oil falafel face down.
After flipping to show crispy falafel.
Step 7: Flip the smash falafel pita to crisp the other side.
Toppings added.
Step 8: Load it up with toppings and tahini sauce

Tips for Making the Best Smashed Falafel

  1. Use fresh ingredients. With minimal ingredients in the recipe, don’t use dried herbs, onion powder, or garlic powder. The taste and texture will be so different if you do, and you’ll lose the authenticity of the recipe.
  2. Don’t use canned chickpeas. I mentioned this before but it’s worth mentioning again because canned chickpeas are so convenient for most recipes. Yet here, I just find that they add too much moisture to the batter so it becomes soggy and forces you to add flour to the mixture.
  3. Chop the onion roughly before adding to the food processor. This helps it blend more quickly so that you’re not over processing the falafel mixture. If you blend it for too long it can turn into a dense paste, but the right texture is more of an airy fluffy one.
  4. Don’t cook the other side if you want a wrap. You can keep the other side soft and easier to roll if you don’t cook it. Keep in mind though that since one side is crisp, it won’t roll perfectly like a traditional falafel wrap.

What to Serve With Smashed Falafel

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to add baking powder to the falafel batter?

You can skip the baking powder in this falafel recipe since the batter isn’t deep-fried. This variation doesn’t need the falafel to rise and become fluffy, and it crisps up perfectly when spread onto a pita and cooked smashed face down.

How do you store any unused falafel batter?

Just place it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. Or you can also place it in a freezer-safe bag flattened in the freezer for up to 3 months. Freezing it flattened just makes it thaw so much faster.

Why do I need to soak the chickpeas for so long before making falafel?

Soaking the chickpeas ensures they soften enough to be broken down into a smooth paste without cooking. Soaking for 12 to 24 hours helps them expand and soften, which is crucial since we use them raw. This process is key to achieving the right texture in your falafel.

I love making falafel and as a falafel “purist”, I’ve always said the best way to cook it is deep fried. But this smashed falafel trend changes everything for me and this new way of cooking falafel is definitely a close runner-up because of how easy and delicious it is. If you’ve never tried falafel before, this is such a great entryway to the recipe that is approachable, easy and delicious!

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Smash Falafel Pita

Smash Falafel Pita is a new way to enjoy falafel by smashing the batter on pita and frying it on a skillet – it's an easy quick trend to try!
5 from 9 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Sandwich
Calories 301
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Soaking Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 20 minutes
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Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound dry uncooked chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¾ cup parsley
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • olive oil for frying
  • tahini sauce for serving
  • Arabic style pita

Instructions

  • Cover the chickpeas with water in a medium bowl. Set aside at room temperature to soak for at least 12 or up to 24 hours. They will end up doubling in size.
  • Drain the chickpeas. Rinse and dry them as thoroughly as possible — I like to use a salad spinner for this.
  • Place the chickpeas and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to fine, pebble-sized pieces. Add the parsley, cilantro, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, and black pepper. Blend until the mixture turns into a thick paste, scraping down the sides as needed. Remove the blade from the bowl. Makes about 4 cups of batter.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-hight heat. Scoop about ¾ cup of the falafel onto the surface of Arabic-style pita bread and place on the skillet falafel side down. Cook the falafel for 5-7 minutes or until the falafel is browned and the bread is crispy on the sides. Flip on the other side if desired for more crispy texture, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Remove the falafel from the skillet, top with tahini and vegetables, fold and enjoy immediately.

Notes

The nutrition label is for 1 pita with ½ cup of falafel mixture. The recipe makes 12 falafel pitas.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup batter, Calories: 301kcal, Carbohydrates: 56g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 0.4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 894mg, Potassium: 454mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 392IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 103mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Course: Sandwich
5 from 9 votes

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Comments

  1. Josephine says:

    Authentically Lebanese falafel, fantastic recipe! The only thing I’d like to mention is that the food processor noted for this recipe is 14 cups, if you’re using one that’s 12 cups, you may need spilt the ingredients into two batches for everything to blend well together.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the falafel, Josephine! Great tip for what to do when using a smaller food processor, I appreciate you sharing with others!

  2. Colleen Clark says:

    Can you use canned chickpeas in this recipe? If so how many cans would you use?

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi Colleen! Dry chickpeas are necessary to make a good falafel mixture, canned ones are too soft for the batter and will require adding flour to adjust the texture. I recommend skipping the canned chickpeas and going for dry ones instead!

  3. Jan says:

    I finally made these, Yumna!! “So good” like you say!! I added sumac to the tahini sauce over my taco. Best thing in the world!! I could live off these! Thank you so much 🥰💕

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Yay!! I’m so happy you liked it, Jan! Love the idea of adding sumac to the tahini sauce, I will have to try that!

  4. Mariam Bou Dib says:

    I made the smashed falafel and it was delicious 😋 Thank you ❤️

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Yay, so happy you liked it!!

  5. Camille says:

    O M G!!!!!! This falafel is a game-changer! This is THE BEST falafel I have ever had! DO NOT change a thing about this recipe! It is absolutely outstanding! Soak your chickpeas for the entire 24 hours. While they are soaking, make your tahini sauce and whatever else you want to have with your falafel. I am trying to save some to put it in the freezer, but I don’t think it’s going to make it. I’ll just have to make another batch. The thing I love the most is that this is not fried. Just a bit of olive oil to coat your skillet is all that’s needed. Follow this and the tahini sauce to the letter and enjoy!!!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Yay! So happy you love it, Camille—thank you!!

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