This fava bean falafel recipe is completely different to one made from a packet – with superior texture, flavour – and much cheaper. It’s also great to make a recipe with pulses where they take just a few minutes to cook – rather than the usual hours of simmering. After soaking first, of course… If you make too much falafel mixture, pop it in a box in the fridge to cook and fry another day – they are best served fresh from the fryer.

Using dried peeled fava beans means the recipe is extremely quick to make. The beans will need soaking for a few hours (overnight if you have time), but then there is no peeling or pre-cooking. Everything is just thrown in a blender, formed into shapes, and fried. The falafel hold together better if they’ve had a little chance to rest before shaping, and frying. Whilst you’re waiting, prepare a little hummus, tabbouleh (a few tablespoons of cooked bulgur wheat, a huge bunch of chopped parsley, a little diced tomato, and dressed with lemon juice and olive oil), or just some chopped tomatoes. Of course they should really be served with fresh-from-the-oven pita bread, but fresh sourdough bread is just fine.

There are two colours of falafel in the picture. Our favourite green fava bean falafel recipe is shown below. For a more ‘normal’ cream-coloured falafel – leave out the fresh herbs out when the mixture is blended. Just stir in 1 tbsp chopped parsley and 1tbsp chopped coriander instead, after blending. For more variation, play around with the spices: adding 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, or 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.


Fava Bean Falafel Recipe
225g dried peeled fava beans, soaked for 5 hours or more
2 small onions, peeled (around 150g)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1tsp baking powder
30g fresh coriander
30g fresh parsley
Oil for frying

1. Whizz the soaked and drained fava beans in a blender until fine. Add all the other ingredient and process until well incorporated. Set the mixture aside to rest for 20 minutes.
2. Heat 1 or 2 inches of oil in a sauce pan. When you drop in the falafels, the oil level will also rise.
3. Whilst the oil is heating, shape the falafel into small balls using your hands or a pair of spoons, and lay them out on a chopping board.
4. When the oil is hot – at least 175°C, carefully lower the falafel one by one into the oil. You will need to fry the falafel in batches. As the oil cools every time a falafel is added, you won’t be able to keep a consistent temperature – do not worry about it!
5. Turn the falafel so they brown evenly on all sides. When they start to look very brown, take one out and cut it in half – it should look mostly dry throughout, without a wet circle in the centre. If they have browned too quickly, before drying out then lower the heat a little. Depending on size, each batch should take around 4-6 minutes.
6. Lift out and place on kitchen roll whilst you cook the rest.