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Got Beans? Make Some Crispy Falafel Right Now

Hold the chickpeas, these use fava beans instead.

Aubrie Pick

Some of you are probably sitting on a stockpile of beans right now. There’s a reason why people gravitate towards legumes during a crisis. Beans are shelf-stable, protein-packed morsels that can be transformed into a variety of dishes, hence the useful timeliness of a “bean bible.”

Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes ($27), by James Beard Award-winning food journalist Joe Yonan, is a collection of recipes for every bean you have in your pantry. Yonan drew on his extensive rolodex of food connections, working with food writers and chefs, to create innovative dishes centered around the humble, yet versatile, bean. For Cool Bean‘s falafel recipe, Yonan recalled his experience cooking with the chefs of Fava Pot, an Egyptian restaurant in Washington D.C. The falafel recipe, published below, swaps out chickpeas for fava beans, making this an Egyptian-style falafel. Tap into your bean reserves and fry up some crispy balls of flavor.

Buy the Book: $27

Super-Green Fava Bean Falafel


Makes 40 falafel

1 yellow onion, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 1/2 cups chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh chives
1/3 cup garlic cloves
1 pound dried split fava beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 tablespoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
Peanut, sunflower, or other neutral oil, for frying


1. Combine the onion, parsley, cilantro, chives, and garlic in a large bowl.

2. Combine about one-third of the onion-herb mixture and one-third of the fava beans in the bowl of a large food processor. Process for 10 seconds or so, until the fava beans are about the size of broken grains of rice; the mixture should be very moist and hold together when you squeeze a little into a ball. Stop and scrape down the food processor as needed while you process the mixture. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and repeat two more times with equal parts of the onion-herb mixture and the fava beans.

3. Add the salt, cumin, paprika, coriander, and red pepper flakes to the bowl and stir to combine.

4. Set a cooling rack over a large rimmed baking sheet.

5. Pour the oil into a large deep saucepan or Dutch oven to a depth of3 inches and set it over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough that a little pinch of the falafel mixture bubbles back up to the surface when you drop it in, reduce the heat to medium and start shaping and frying the falafel. Use your hands to make golf ball-size falafel that are oblong and slightly flattened. (If they are perfectly round, they may not cook through before they are crispy on the outside.)

6. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, carefully drop the falafel into the oil and fry, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon or skimmer to keep them moving, until they are dark brown all over, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer them to the cooling rack and continue with the remaining falafel. Serve hot.

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