RECIPE: Pea and Za’Atar Falafel



“I always have a bag of peas in my freezer for quick pastas, sides and this recipe. Though green peas aren’t traditional, I love the colour and sweetness they bring to these hot, crispy falafel, which will disappear as soon as they hit the table. Serve these simply with flatbreads, tahini sauce and a chopped tomato salad or with herby grains and chopped cucumber.”

Recipe courtesy of The Levantine Vegetarian: Recipes from the Middle East by Salma Hage, £29.95 HB, Published by Phaidon


  • 200 g/7 oz (scant 1 cup) dried chickpeas, soaked with 1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    (baking soda) for 24 hours
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 100 g/31⁄2 oz (3⁄4 cup) frozen peas, defrosted
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Za’atar (page 254)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

To serve

  • Lebanese Flatbreads (page 198)
  • Arabic Garlic Sauce (page 258)
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Fermented Red Cabbage (page 63) or jarred pickled turnips (optional)


  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients, except for the vegetable oil, and pulse until well mixed. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.


  • Heat the oil in a saucepan to a depth of 4 cm/11⁄2 inches over medium heat. The oil is ready when a cube of bread dropped in sizzles on contact and turns golden in 30 seconds. (Alternatively, use a thermometer and heat to 160°C/325°F.) Shape the falafel mixture into balls, about 4 cm/11⁄2 inches in diameter, or press slightly into patties.

  • Working in batches, carefully lower them into the hot oil and fry for 2–3 minutes on each side, until golden and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the falafel to a paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Keep warm. Repeat with the remaining falafel.


  • Serve a few falafel with flatbreads, garlicky sauce, tomatoes, lettuce and pickled vegetables, if using.



Author: minervadigi