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Middle Eastern - Falafels

20 mins
Serves 4-6
Savoury pancakes

Vegetarianism is growing rapidly in New Zealand, but other parts of the world have had meat-free cuisines for centuries. For a rich and varied plant-based diet, talk to Chinese, Indians, Mexicans… Our wonderful volunteers have shared authentic recipes from around the world. Most of these recipes were traditionally vegan, but some were meat-based recipes that have been ‘veganised’. We have collected 31 recipes from 31 different countries to share with you – one for each day of October, World Vegetarian Day.

Falafel is a deep-fried ball, or a round, flat patty, made from ground chickpeas or other beans. Herbs, spices, and onion relatives are commonly added to the mixture. It is a very famous Middle Eastern dish. The country of origin is debated. Falafel is the ultimate Israeli street food, which is most often served stuffed into pita bread.

Thanks to Margaret Johns for this recipe. This recipe came from a recipe book, 500 Greatest-Ever Vegetarian Recipes, edited by Valerie Ferguson.


  • 1 ½ 450g can chickpeas
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 4 Tbs roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp ground-dried cumin
  • 1 tsp ground-dried coriander
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste


  1. Put drained chick peas, onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander and baking power in food processor, add salt and black pepper to taste then process until mixture forms a fine paste. Make sure mixture is firm
  2. If mixture is too soft to form balls, add a few dry breadcrumbs
  3. Shape into walnut-size balls, flatten slightly then fry both sides in oil until golden. Drain on paper towel but keep warm until serving.
  4. Serve warm in pita bread or buns, with salad and yoghurt (try our vegan certified Doctor's Choice yoghurts!)