Sprouted chickpea falafel: spring is in the air

Sprouted chickpea falafel

Have you ever tried sprouting beans? I hadn’t until about a month ago. I was intimidated, with all the times I had forgotten beans into their soaking water and they fermented, by the expensive and complicated looking sprouting kits at the organic store, and, last but not least, by the fact that some sprouts are poisonous. I have never understood how sprouting works, other than it is an incredibly complex process, involving structural changes in the biochemistry of a seed, which means that what you eat is going to be different. In most cases, better.

At any rate, so far I have sprouted mung beans and chickpeas.  At the beginning I tried sprouting for novelty, because beans taste different once sprouted, but I did not expect this trend to last.  I don’t even like eating sprouts  in general, apart from the occasional cress garnish here and there. Well, I sprouted them once, I sprouted them twice, and now somehow every week I find myself with a batch of something sprouting around. Is it spring approaching, despite of the cold? I found the whole process fits quite well into my food schedule. It is just a matter of fitting sprouting times into your schedule, and not vice versa, like Elizabeth David taught me to do with bread. Once sprouted – which takes two days – you  just stick your chickpeas into the fridge and use them when you need. They cook quickly – a mere ten minutes steaming – so it is very convenient to pick a handful, cook them and add them warm to  lunch salad or dinner soup. I like the way they taste, somehow sweeter than normal chickpeas, and crunchier, because they are cooked for a shorter time.

Or, for a very special Friday night dinner, save yourself half an hour, or a tiny bit more, and make falafel. I’m sure you already love falafel. Well, according to recent estimates, home-made falafel are  reported to be ten million times better than any store-bought ones. And, with this recipe at least, they are  less fussy than what I remembered. My house did not even smell of fried stuff! The last time I made falafel I must have been in high school. It was an experiment with my girlfriends: we started with canned chickpeas and ended up throwing away more than a batch,  totally melted in the frying oil. These little beauties are very easy to work with,  however they do absorb quite a lot of the frying oil, so no fooling here, this is not health food. But worth each and every of its calories.

I am sending this post to ‘My Legume Love Affair‘, hosted for March by Ammalu’s Kitchen:

and to the food palette series, brown:

How to sprout chickpeas:

You can sprout as many or as little as you like. I usually find that a good quantity is 200 gr for my weekly food needs. I’d like to point out that the variations in timing are there for your convenience – I have surely explored both ends of the interval, and even stretched them considerably, and never had a problem.

1) Wash and soak the chickpeas for 8-12 hours. Choose a relatively shallow and large bowl: the chickpeas like to sprout with a lot of air. Watch your room temperature: if it is very hot they may start fermenting and smell a bit, in which case you may want to change the water with fresh cold one. In my quite cold apartment I have soaked them for up to 24 hours with no harm.

2) Drain and rinse in a large colander. Put back on the same bowl you used for soaking. Repeat every 8-12 hours for a total of 3-4 times. In between keep the chickpeas in an aerated space – I found that a corner of my kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight, works well. I’ll let you know what happens in summer where there is much more light.

3) Give the chickpeas a final rinse, then let them dry well by leaving them half an hour on the colander, or using a kitchen towel. Put in a smaller container or even a food plastic bag and store in the fridge for up to five days.

4) Make falafel, or steam for ten minutes and then use in this or this recipe, or just in a salad or hummus or as you would with normally cooked chickpeas.

Falafel with tahini sauce

Sprouted falafel

Makes about 20


200 gr sprouted chickpeas

1 large onion

1 garlic clove

1/2 small bunch  parsley, chopped

2 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

a few tablespoons of sesame seeds, mixed with a bit of breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil for frying

Tahini sauce:

1 tablespoon tahini

2 tablespoon yogurt (leave out if you want a vegan meal, and add a bit more lemon juice)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 tablespoon water

pinch of salt


Whizz the sprouted chickpeas, raw, using a handheld blender or a food processor. Grind the spices together. Add chopped onion, garlic, spices, baking powder, lemon juice and chopped coriander or parsley. Taste seasoning, then whizz again until smooth. Chill for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the tahini sauce: whisk all the ingredients together, adding a bit more water or yoghurt depending on how creamy you like it. Take the chickpeas out of the fridge, and make little balls with about 1/2 tablespoon of the mixture each. Pat into flat disks, and roll them in sesame seeds and breadcrumbs. Put on a dish. When all the mixture is rolled, put on the fridge to chill well (this is important or they will break more easily when cooking). Let them rest at least half an hour, but overnight works too. When ready to eat, heat the oil in a shallow pan and fry them on medium heat, until they are golden, turning them once. Drain and absorb the excess fat using kitchen paper, and serve with the tahini sauce, some pitta bread and mixed raw vegetables.


15 Responses to “Sprouted chickpea falafel: spring is in the air”

  1. This looks delicious! I’ve tried sprouting chickpeas before but just used them in salads and wasn’t sure how else to use them, so I’ll definitely try this! Thanks for sharing

  2. thank you for linking this fabulous looking falafel
    delicious flavours and healthy

  3. They look delightful. I’m craving chickpeas just from seeing these.

    Have a fabulous weekend!


  4. Sprouting is another one of those things I’ve always “meant” to try, but haven’t yet gotten around to. I love falafel, though and totally wish I had a few of yours. Great job 😀

  5. yum! i’ve been on a falafel kick, lately. i’ve made sprouted chickpea hummus, but not falafel…i’ll have to try it now!

  6. I’m definitely going to give this a try. It really does look wonderful. I’m new to your blog and have spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I’m so glad I did. I really like the food and recipes you feature for your readers. I’ll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  7. Ohhhhh, what a great post. Your falafel looks wonderful. I also love mung beans and would love to sprout my own (have never sprouted beans before)! Will definitely have to give it a try. Ciao, N.

  8. Very nice idea with the sprouted chickpeas! I also like the sesame and breadcrumb coating. Yummy!

  9. This sounds wonderful! I have to put sprouting on my next to-learn list, which is getting bigger and bigger!

  10. I tried sprouting chickpeas once: it was very exciting. I then ruined the whole thing and I know it was my fault. I’ll try again and follow your advice about storing the sprouted legumes in the fridge. I’ll let you know how it goes. I like the light tahini sauce.

  11. I sprout! but mostly for breads … intriguing use them in a falafel def will try this soon!

  12. Thanks for commenting on my blog!I sprout! but mostly for breads … intriguing use them in a falafel def will try this soon! Thanks for posting Rosa!


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