Homemade Falafel with British Grown Fava Beans
Healthy and delicious homemade falafel with a crisp outside and a succulent herby inside. They’re made with British grown fava beans from Hodmedod’s and cooked in an air-fryer, though you could bake them instead. Served with a zingy flavoursome chopped salad. Read on for the recipes and to find out why Hodmedod’s is such an exciting company.
September is my second favourite month of the year. I love the cooler nights but there’s still a fair amount of heat left in the sun to enjoy. Bright flowers are still abundant and the autumn leaves are only just beginning to turn. And there’s masses of late summer / early autumn produce to be had. We’re overflowing with tomatoes at the moment, but we also have lots of peppers and we’ve harvested the first winter squash. It’s also Sourdough September and Organic September and I like to celebrate both of these.
I’ve sort of got over my rye sourdough disaster, though I’m still a bit upset at the loss of my starter. But thanks to Monica, from Smarter Fitter, I have a new one. Bang on time to create at least one sourdough loaf for #SourdoughSeptember. As for #OrganicSeptember, I like to mention it in at least one September post. This one seems like a good fit as the split fava beans I’ve used in my homemade falafel recipe are not only organic, but certified by the Soil Association. The Soil Association are one of my hero organisations.
As part of the #OrganicSeptember celebrations, I’m giving my UK readers the chance to win a feasty bundle of mostly organic products from Hodmedod’s. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for your chance to enter.
Hodmedod’s sell British grown pulses and grains and they’re a rising star. If you haven’t heard of them yet, do check them out. Three intrepid bean pioneers from Suffolk launched the business in 2012 with the express intention of promoting and selling British fava beans. They now sell all sorts of exciting products, including lentils, puffed quinoa and tinned haricot beans – all grown in Britain. And their range is expanding fast. One of the things I really like is that the packs tell you where the products are grown, some even name the farmer that produced them. It’s always good to know where your food comes from. Most, but not all, of their products are organic.
The name Hodmedod is an interesting one. It’s an East Anglian word for anything round or curled up, but do head to their website for a more thorough explanation.
Ferments, Smoked Quinoa & Roasties
I’ve been a fan of Hodmedod’s for a while, but I got super excited a few weeks ago when I saw they’d created their own umami ferments. I couldn’t wait to try them. I’ve been using the fermented barley ferment in all sorts of things recently. It’s full of savoury flavour but also surprisingly sweet. My favourite way to use it is in the Middle Eastern chopped salad recipe that I serve with the homemade falafel. You’ll find the recipe further down this post.
Along with both the barley and the umami ferments, I was the happy recipient of a Hodmedod’s feast bundle of their products to try. I was so intrigued by the smoked quinoa, that I cooked some of it up the very day I received it. Wow, it packs a punch and is the perfect accompaniment to Mexican style dishes.
We can’t stop snacking on these salt & pepper roasted peas & beans. They are crunchy, delicious and way too moreish. Someone take them away from me please. Roasted fava beans are a common snack in Spain, and it now looks like they might be here too. Both the bean mix and the roasted yellow peas are limited editions, so you’d better get your order in quick. The peas are flavoured with salt & vinegar.
I’ve also made up a fantastic batch of muesli with Hodmedod’s four grain muesli base. The varied flakes and especially the malted wheat flakes gave it more substance and a lot more flavour than when I make it with only oats. Here’s my recipe for homemade muesli with more photos if you’re interested. And latterly I made a gorgeous red pepper & pea stew with the carlin peas.
Hodmedod’s have some lovely recipes on their website, including one for Egyptian falafel. Their’s is a bit different from mine and the ta’meya are deep-fried. The recipes are also available in the form of physical recipe cards. I’m intrigued by the gluten-free recipe for frangipane plum tart. The pastry is made with yellow pea flour and it looks beautiful indeed. I’ve heard it on good authority that the carlin pea brownies are particularly good too. They’re on my list to try.
Hodmedod’s Feasty Bundle
These are the products I received from Hodmedod’s. Ideal for autumnal comfort eating. This very same bundle is also being offered as a spectacular prize for one lucky Tin and Thyme reader. Scroll to the end of the post to find out how to enter.
- Fava bean umami paste – 190g jar
- Fermented naked barley – 190g jar
- Split fava beans (organic) – 500g
- Carlin beans (organic) – 500g
- Smoked quinoa – 300g
- Quinoa flour (organic) – 500g
- Four grain muesli base (organic) – 500g
- Malted wheat flakes (organic) – 500g
- Roasted bean & pea mix – 300g
- Roasted yellow peas – 300g
- Set of 12 Hodmedod’s recipe cards
Where to Buy?
You can find Hodmedod’s products in independent whole food shops across the UK. There’s a postcode finder on the website. But if you’re unable to source them locally, you can purchase via the Hodmedod’s website.
Falafel are a much loved food across the Middle East. They’re mostly eaten for breakfast in some sort of flatbread with salad and tahini sauce. When I lived in Alexandria, they were sold on pretty much every street corner from early morning to midday.
If you think falafel have to be made from chickpeas, think again. Egyptian falafel, otherwise knowns as Ta’meya, are made only from fava beans. In fact they have the reputation for being the best falafel in the world. I’ve eaten a fair few in my time and I can attest that they’re jolly good.
The fava beans aren’t cooked first, but they are soaked. This bit is essential. My homemade falafel recipe uses mostly traditional ingredients, but has a healthier take. They’re air-fried rather than deep-fried. They can also be baked.
I’ve got two falafel recipes on Tin and Thyme already, but they’re both very different. My air-fryer carrot falafel are made with cooked chickpeas, but contain some hodmedod’s fava bean flour. As for my chocolate falafel, the clue’s in the name. These also contain cooked chickpeas but they’re made in quite a different way and contain egg. This fava bean falafel recipe is vegan.
Did you know that Egyptian fava beans are pretty much the same thing as British broad beans? So not only do they grow really well here in the UK, but they’ve been grown here for millennia. They are actually known more commonly here as field beans, Vicia faba and are grown for drying rather than eating fresh. Hodmedods have been on a quest to bring the humble fava bean back to favour. They’re doing a good job.
Fava beans are incredibly nutritious. They’re a good source of lean protein and contain fibre, folate, vitamin K, vitamin B6, zinc, copper, iron, magnesium and more. Bees love them too. CT used to make the most fantastic tempeh from fava beans, but he’s sadly not made any for years. I’m hoping he’ll get back into it again now we have a bit more space.
Homemade Falafel – The Egyptian Way
Falafel are a lot easier to make than you might think. The key is in the preparation. You need to soak the beans for several hours as they’re not cooked prior to “frying”. You also need to give them a bit of time to drain, so the falafel mixture isn’t too wet.
I dry fry the cumin seeds for extra flavour. Plus the wonderful aroma scents the whole house. You don’t have to do this bit though if you don’t want to. As for the rest, your food processor does all the work.
Traditional recipes don’t include any fat as the falafel are deep fried. But I find I can’t get the mixture to stick together without it, so I add just one tablespoon of olive oil. This seems to do the trick.
You’ll need to form the mixture into balls with your hands. Once this is done, flatten them slightly. Egyptian ta’meya aren’t generally round. The mixture is quite fragile, so go carefully. Once the falafel are cooked, however, they hold together well.
Falafel cook really well in an air fryer. My Optimum Healthy Fry* is just brilliant for this and lots of other things too. It gives them a really crispy edge, yet the insides, whilst cooked, remain soft and succulent. You can, however, bake them in an oven or even deep-fry.
Once cooked, your homemade falafel is ready to be eaten. Serve them with a zingy chopped salad, yoghurt tahini sauce and pitta breads.
Can you Freeze Homemade Falafel?
The answer is yes you can. Don’t worry if you’ve made too many homemade falafel, because they freeze very well. This recipe makes 22 after all. Allow them to cool, then place in a freezer bag or tub. Pop them into your freezer and they will keep for three months. When you’re ready to eat them, allow to defrost. You can have them cold, but they’re much nicer if you heat them for a few minutes in an air-fryer or oven.
Yoghurt Tahini Sauce
You just can’t have falafel without tahini sauce. It’s just not right. For my ta’meya, I decided I’d make a yoghurt tahini sauce for a change. It’s also incredibly easy and you can make it whilst the falafel are cooking. If you’re wanting a vegan meal, just make sure you use a plant-based yoghurt instead of a dairy one. Alternatively you could try my tahini sauce with clementines, smoked paprika and pizazz or even the tahini sauce I used for my carrot falafel.
Middle Eastern Chopped Salad
Much like falafel, chopped salads are ubiquitous all across the Middle East. The salad ingredients are all chopped up into small pieces so that the flavours mingle. They usually contain plenty of herbs too. The dressing is usually very simple, just lemon juice and olive oil. I’ve used lime instead of lemon to make it extra zingy. The salad really sings and complements the falafel beautifully. Lately, I’ve been adding Hodmedod’s fermented barley to make one of the best dressings ever.
The main thing to remember with this salad, is not to add the tomatoes until you’re close to serving. Otherwise, they release their juice and you end up with a pool of liquid with some vegetables floating around in it.
We like to eat our homemade falafel stuffed into pitta breads. First warm the bread up in a toaster or under the grill, then split it open at the top so it forms a pocket. Spoon some of the chopped salad into the bottom. Then, depending on the size of your pittas, push in two or three hot falafel. Add a little more salad if you have room. Finally drizzle in some of the yoghurt tahini sauce.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try making these spelt cocoa pitta breads. I reckon they would work a treat.
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make these homemade fava bean falafel, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
If you like this meal idea, then why not have a look at some of the other recipes in my Flavours of the Middle East series.
Homemade Falafel. PIN IT.
Homemade Fava Bean Falafel – The Recipe
Fava Bean Falafel (Ta'meya)
- air fryer
- 250 g dried split fava beans
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cloves garlic - peeled and chopped
- 1 onion - peeled and chopped
- 30 g fresh coriander leaves - roughly chopped
- 30 g fresh parsley - roughly chopped
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- good grinding of black pepper
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Yoghurt Tahini Sauce
- 2 tbsp tahini
- ½ lime - juiced
- 1 clove garlic - finely chopped
- 175 ml plain yoghurt (use plant based yoghurt if vegan)
- 2 tbsp fresh mint - finely chopped
- 2 spring onions - thinly sliced
- ½ lime - juiced
- ¼ cucumber
- 2 red bell peppers
- 200 g flavoursome tomatoes
- 20 g fresh coriander leaves
- 20 g fresh parsley leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp fermented barley (can substitute tamari or ¼ tsp miso paste)
- Soak the fava beans in cold water overnight or for at least 8 hours. Drain, rinse well and leave to drain in a sieve or colander for half an hour or so.
- Dry fry the cumin seeds in a hot pan for 30 seconds or until they're golden and fragrant. Leave to cool a little.
- Place all of the ingredients, except for the olive oil into a food processor and blitz until everything is finely ground. You may need to scrape the sides down once or twice. Add the olive oil and pulse for a couple of seconds.
- Take large teaspoonfuls of the mixture and roll between your hands into ping pong ball size rounds. Place on a large plate or tray and flatten slightly. The mixture is quite fragile, so go gently.
- Heat your air-fryer and set it to 180℃. My Optimum Healthy Fry is just brilliant for this and lots of other things too. Alternatively pre-heat your oven to 190℃ (375℉, Gas 5).
- Place as many falafel as will fit on the bottom of the air-fryer basket. I got twelve in mine. "Fry" for 17 minutes. Alternativley, place on a lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the yoghurt sauce and chopped salad. Don't forget to warm your pitta breads up too.
Yoghurt Tahini Sauce
- Mix the lime juice and tahini together in a bowl. Stir in the garlic, followed by the yoghurt, followed by the mint.
- Thin with a little water if too thick.
- Start by squeezing the lime juice into a bowl. Add the spring onions and leave them to cure a little whilst you get on with preparing the cucumber.
- Half the cucumber. Scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon, then dice into 1 cm (ish) pieces. Add to the onions.
- Split the red peppers in half. Take out the seeds and top, then dice into 1 cm (ish) pieces. Add to the bowl.
- Chop the tomatoes into 1 cm (ish) pieces. Add to the bowl.
- Finely chop the herbs and add to the bowl.
- Stir in the olive oil and fermented barley.
I’m sharing my homemade falafel with Easy Peasy Foodie for #CookBlogShare.
Hodmedod’s is offering one Tin and Thyme reader a bundle of their products worth around £30. To be in with a chance of winning, please fill in the Gleam widget below. You will need to leave a comment on this post, answering the question, which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Gleam will pick a winner at random from the entries received. If you are commenting anonymously, please give me some way of identifying you as I will be verifying the validity of entries. Any automated entries will be disqualified.
This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address. Winners will need to respond within 5 days of being contacted. Failure to do this may result in another winner being picked. Leaving your details gives permission for them to be passed on to Hodmedod’s should you be a winner in this giveaway.
Prizes are offered and provided by Hodmedod’s and Tin and Thyme accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of said third party. Tin and Thyme reserves the right to cancel or amend the giveaway and these terms and conditions without notice.
Closing date is Thursday 24 October 2019
Do take a look at the Tin and Thyme giveaways page to see if there’s anything else you’d like to enter.
Thanks to Hodmedod’s for the products which they sent for review purposes. They did not expect me to write a positive review and all opinions are, as always, my own. This post contains affiliate links to Froothie Optimum products*. Links are marked with an *. If you buy through a link it won’t cost you any more, but I’ll get a small commission. Thanks for your support of the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blithe and blogging.