This falafel pita sandwich is a delicious and healthy vegetarian dish that's easy to make at home! I tuck crispy chickpea fritters into warm pita bread with fresh veggies and a creamy tahini yogurt sauce to make one tasty sandwich that's sure to please! Oven and air fryer instructions included.
Canned chickpeas are something I almost always have in my pantry. Chickpeas check all the boxes- they're packed with nutrients, plus they're delicious, versatile, and inexpensive. It's hard to beat that!
Chickpeas can be incorporated into Indian curries, baked into a crispy snack, added to salads, and even transformed into a vegan "egg" salad! Now I'm excited to share these falafel pita sandwiches with you.
A falafel pita sandwich is a healthy and nutritious meal that's high in protein, fiber, and vitamins. It's also vegetarian and vegan-friendly, making it a great option for those who follow a plant-based diet.
Crispy falafel made out of chickpeas are stuffed into warm, soft pita bread with crisp veggies and a creamy tahini yogurt sauce. The combination of flavors and textures in this falafel pita sandwich is sure to satisfy your taste buds and leave you feeling satisfied!
Why You'll Love This Dish
- Healthy- packed with nutrient dense ingredients
- Baked or air fried instead of deep-fried
- Vegetarian and vegan- an excellent plant-based dish
- Tasty- a delicious combination of flavors and textures
- Budget-friendly- made with inexpensive ingredients
- Kid-Friendly- an excellent snack for kids with plenty of filling protein and fiber
- Great for meal prep- perfect to pack for lunch or dinner throughout the week
What is falafel pita?
A falafel pita sandwich is a delicious and nutritious vegetarian dish made with falafel balls, which are crispy balls of chickpeas blended with herbs and spices. The falafel are stuffed inside warm pita bread along with fresh veggies, tahini sauce, and other condiments like hummus and hot sauce.
Falafel are most commonly made with chickpeas although they can also be made with fava beans or a mixture of the two. Traditionally, you make falafel by soaking dried chickpeas overnight and then grinding them up with fresh herbs and spices. Then they’re rolled into balls and deep-fried.
Falafel are a classic Middle Eastern food and are a staple in many countries including Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, and Syria. However, they are a popular street food all around the world. I definitely had my share of late-night runs to the falafel food trucks when I lived in New York City!
It's actually quite easy to make falafel at home. This falafel sandwich recipe is an excellent, nutritious and filling vegetarian/vegan meal option.
To make my falafel recipe a little healthier, I bake my falafel in the oven or cook them in the air fryer rather than deep-frying them in oil. You won’t miss the fried version!
I also take a short cut to make this recipe a lot easier and use canned chickpeas instead of dried chickpeas. It’s not traditional to use canned chickpeas but it’s a lot faster than soaking dried chickpeas overnight!
These vegetarian sandwiches are perfect when you want a healthy and filling lunch or dinner. It's one of my favorite vegan meals. Leftover falafel are also delicious the following day on top of a salad of crisp veggies.
- Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are an excellent plant-based source of protein.
- They’re packed with fiber, protein, and antioxidants as well as several essential vitamins and minerals including iron, folate and potassium.
- Chickpeas and other pulses (including dry peas, beans, and lentils) may help prevent the development of chronic diseases when eaten as part of a balanced plant-rich diet.
- Chickpeas are also versatile, affordable, sustainable, and delicious. Chickpeas and other pulses (like beans and legumes) are a staple of the Mediterranean diet.
Recipe Notes and substitutions (see recipe card below for complete ingredient list and measurements):
- Chickpeas- although dried chickpeas are traditional, I take a short cut and use canned chickpeas because it's faster and it's something I always have in my pantry; I like to use reduced sodium chickpeas to control the amount of sodium in my recipes.
- Flour- Because canned chickpeas have more moisture than dried chickpeas, you need to add a little flour to the mixture so that the falafel hold together as they cook.
- Tahini- a paste made from ground sesame seeds; I use it to make a tahini yogurt sauce to serve with the falafel pita sandwiches.
- Fresh parsley and cilantro- you want to use fresh herbs for maximum flavor, not dried.
How To Make Falafel Pita Sandwiches In the Oven Step-By-Step
It's easy to make homemade falafel in a few simple steps! See recipe card below for full recipe instructions.
- Step 1- Place the garlic, scallions, parsley and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor and purée until finely chopped. Add the chickpeas, cumin, coriander, baking powder, flour, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Pulse until the ingredients are incorporated in to a coarse mixture- not totally smooth. You want a little texture.
- Step 2- Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, scoop up small balls of the chickpea mixture, about 1 ½ tablespoons each (you should have about 18 balls).
- Step 3- Place them on a sheet pan greased with olive oil and roll them around to coat them with oil. Then, flatten each ball slightly to form thick falafel patties. Brush the tops with the remaining oil.
- Step 4- Bake on the upper rack in the oven for 15 minutes, then flip the falafel over and cook another 10-15 minutes until done. If desired, turn on the broiler at the end and broil falafel 1-2 minutes until tops are golden brown. See "Air Fryer Falafel" section below for air fryer instructions. Assemble the falafel pita sandwiches by stuffing each pita half with about 3 falafel balls. Then, add desired veggies and sauce.
Air Fryer Falafel
You can also make this falafel in the air fryer. The air fryer uses minimal oil and it gives the falafel a nice golden brown color and crispy texture on the outside with a soft and creamy center.
Plus, it's really fast. The falafel cook in the time it would take to heat up your oven!
Preheat your air fryer to 360°F. Lightly spray the air fryer basket with oil.
Place as many falafel as you can in the basket in a single layer without them touching. Spray them lightly with oil. Cook for 8 minutes, then flip and cook another 5-6 minutes on the second side until golden brown.
Assemble falafel pita pockets with desired vegetables and toppings.
Learn how to adapt any recipe to cook in your air fryer! Read my Easy Oven to Air Fryer Conversion Guide and get my helpful conversion chart!
- Although traditional falafel are shaped into balls, I like to form mine into patties. Patties are easier to cook and flip in the oven and air fryer.
- If your falafel mixture is too crumbly and isn't holding together, you can refrigerate it for 30 minutes to firm up. Another option is to add a couple of tablespoons of breadcrumbs.
- Store any leftover falafel in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days. You can also freeze them for longer storage.
- If you prefer, you can shallow fry the falafel in a frying pan on the stove. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook falafel patties for a few minutes on each side until crispy.
How To Serve This Dish
To assemble the falafel pita sandwiches, place a few falafel in warmed pita pockets. Then, stuff the pita halves with with fresh veggies like shredded lettuce, diced tomato, slices of red onion or cucumber.
Then, top it all off with a drizzle of tahini sauce and some hot sauce, if desired. You can also sprinkle on some crumbled feta cheese.
I like to make a delicious tahini yogurt sauce to serve with the falafel pita pocket sandwiches. I mix tahini, Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and salt together. Then I add just enough water to thin the sauce out to a pourable consistency. You can leave out the yogurt or use dairy-free yogurt if you're following a vegan diet.
I love this falafel pita recipe with the tahini yogurt sauce but if you prefer, you can serve it with Tzatziki sauce, hummus or any other desired sauce.
Instead of sandwiches, you can also serve the falafel on top of a fresh salad like a Greek salad. It's a nice way to add some filling plant-based protein.
You can also serve these falafel as part of a traditional mezze platter along with other dips and spreads like tzatziki sauce, hummus, and baba ganoush.
Yes, falafel pitas are healthy! They're made with nutrient-dense ingredients like chickpeas, which are an excellent plant-based source of protein.
They’re packed with fiber, protein, and antioxidants as well as several essential vitamins and minerals including iron, folate and potassium. In addition, my falafel pitas are healthier than traditional recipes because they're made with baked falafel instead of deep-fried falafel.
A falafel sandwich is made with falafel balls, which are crispy balls of chickpeas blended with herbs and spices. The falafel are stuffed inside warm pita bread along with fresh veggies, tahini sauce, and other condiments like hummus and hot sauce.
Yes, falafel pita sandwiches are vegetarian. They are also vegan if you omit the yogurt in the tahini yogurt sauce or use a dairy-free yogurt.
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Falafel Pita Sandwich
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 scallions
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 2 cans (15.5 oz each) low sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
Tahini Yogurt Sauce:
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt (can use dairy-free yogurt if vegan)
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ clove garlic, grated
- 2-3 tablespoons warm water
- Pinch kosher salt
- 3 pieces pita bread, cut in half
- shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced red onion, sliced cucumber
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Place the garlic, scallions, parsley and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor and puree until finely chopped. Add the chickpeas, cumin, coriander, baking powder, flour, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Pulse until the ingredients are incorporated and the chickpeas are ground but not totally smooth.
- Grease a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 ½ tablespoons oil. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, scoop up balls of the chickpea mixture, about 1 ½ tablespoons each (you should have about 18 balls). Place them on the baking sheet and roll them around to coat them with oil. Then, flatten each ball slightly to form thick patties. Brush the tops with the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons oil.
- Place baking sheet on the upper rack in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then flip the falafel over and cook another 10-15 minutes until done. If desired, turn on the broiler at the end and broil falafel 1-2 minutes until tops are golden brown.
- Meanwhile, make the tahini yogurt sauce by whisking the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt together in a bowl. Add 2-3 tablespoons of warm water until sauce is a pourable consistency.
- To assemble the pita sandwiches, place three falafel in each pita half and add desired vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. Drizzle tahini yogurt sauce on top. Serve extra sauce on the side.
I made this for my family but did not use pita bread, instead, used a cauliflower, sweet potato, kale mix to sit the falafel‘s on top. The whole family, even my picky daughter, loved it!
Dr. Sonali Ruder says
Thanks for leaving a review, Elizabeth! That sounds like a great idea! Delicious and nutritious. So happy to hear that your family enjoyed it, especially your daughter- kids are the toughest critics! 🙂
Thalia @ butter and brioche says
Next time I make falfafel, I definitely will be following your recipe. I love how delicious they still are - despite not being fried!
CookWith Manali says
these look so delicious! great that you baked them!
Sarah @ Savoring Spoon says
What a great idea using canned chickpeas instead of waiting to soak them overnight. Also I like that these are baked! yummy + healthy is the best!
Cindy Kerschner says
I never tried making falafel at home. Thanks for the recipe!
Katie (The Muffin Myth) says
I love falafel, but the deep frying intimidates me so I've never tried making them at home. This baked version looks perfect. Not only healthier, but no scary deep frying! I'll definitely be trying this out - thanks Sonali!
I love falafel but have never tried making it at home. Great idea baking it!
I love falafel!!! 🙂 And of course, I love the fact that you baked them 🙂 I think I know what I am having for dinner tonight!!
Katalina Kastravet says
I would love to inhale these crispy delicious goodness one by one!
Ben Maclain @havocinthekitchen says
I do love chickpeas, and often incorporate it in our meals. I haven't made falafel for a long time (indeed I've made it only once in my life), so thanks for remainding. I should put it on my waiting list:)
Arman Liew says
These look beyond amazing, Sonali. And you complained about your photography to me a while back... 😉
Seriously, these look restaurant quality!
Lisa Lin says
I just had falafel the other day, but I wish I had this baked version instead! Loving all the flavors you squeezed in here!