Grilled Chipotle Falafel

Grilled Chipotle Falafel

I actually won a giveaway! Among the bonanza of all kinds of Mediterranean dips and chips that recently arrived on my doorstep (thanks to the Foodie BlogRoll and Cedars Mediterranean Foods) were two big tubs of tzatziki – you know, the Greek cucumber-yogurt dip. I wasn’t quite sure how I would use up these delicious, but perishable, gifts until I came across Sandy’s enticing recipe for Baked Falafel on Eat Real. Three thoughts came to mind: 1) what a perfect complement for tzatziki,  2) I’ll bet I could grill that and 3) I’ll bake my own pita breads too!

Homemade Pita Breads

On that last point, I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that I’m participating in the Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB) challenge this year. The goal is to bake all of our own baked goods (or at least as many as possible) from scratch in 2009. Of course, I still find myself buying bread every so often, but I’ve definitely been baking at home more than ever. The aromas in this kitchen have been just heavenly!

My pita breads (pictured above) took so little time to make. With a batch of ABin5 Italian semolina dough ready in the fridge, all I had to do was heat the oven, shape the dough and bake for 7 minutes. Watching them rise was like observing time-elapsed photography – they puffed up quite a bit! They came out so soft and spongy inside, a night-and-day difference from the store-bought kind I’m used to.

Making my own falafel was also an easy and satisfying experience. Frying gives traditionally prepared falafel a wonderful crunchy exterior; fortunately, so does grilling. The patties were dense enough to hold their shape on the grill but they still had a nice light texture (no hockey pucks here!). I added chipotles for some smoky heat – they’re not traditional, but I just love the flavor. Plus, the cool, creamy tzatziki takes the edge off the spiciness. These falafel were super-easy to make, quick enough for a weeknight dinner and quite delicious.

Grilled Chipotle Falafel



Grilled Chipotle Falafel
Adapted from the Baked Falafel recipe on Eat Real

Serves 4


2 cloves garlic, quartered
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or mint
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup plain coarse bread crumbs
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
Olive oil for brushing

For serving:
4 pita breads
Tomato, thinly sliced
Red onions, thinly sliced
Tzatziki (you can buy this already prepared or make your own)


Place garlic, cilantro, parsley or mint, chickpeas, and bread crumbs in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to chop and blend ingredients.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon lemon juice over chickpea mixture and pulse a few more times. Sprinkle baking powder, cumin, salt, chipotles, and black pepper over mixture and pulse until the chickpea mixture reaches a workable paste-like consistency. Add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice if it seems very dry.

Preheat the panini grill to medium-high heat (375 degrees).*

Using a large tablespoon, scoop balls of dough into your palms and form them into patties. Set aside on work surface while you form the remaining mixture.

Brush olive oil onto the bottom grate of the panini grill. Place falafel patties onto the grill and brush more olive oil directly onto the patties. Close the lid so that the upper grate is touching the patties without compressing them. Grill for 7-9 minutes until the patties are crispy on the outside and grill marks appear.

Serve in pita bread with tomatoes, red onions, parsley and tzatziki.

* No panini grill? I recommend following Sandy’s original Baked Falafel recipe.




KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. Sandie wrote:

    What a great prize to win! (It’s making me hungry for a gyro just thinking about it!)

    This recipe sounds delicious too—I’ve never made anything quite like this…so I’m bookmarking it to try soon!

    Posted 3.9.09 Reply
  2. Falafels are one of my favourites by far. I’m sure
    we could put this through the panini press.

    Posted 3.9.09 Reply
  3. Sandy S wrote:

    I want this for lunch today! Kathy, you did such an amazing job with both the falafal and the pitas ~ they look better-than-restaurant-quality delicious! 🙂 Thanks so much for reading (and giving a shout-out to) both of my blogs.

    Posted 3.9.09 Reply
  4. I love falafel! When I lived in Chicago, there was a restaurant down the street that served the best I have ever had. Gosh, I miss that place.

    Posted 3.9.09 Reply
  5. Jordan wrote:

    I love falafel! Some of the best falafel I’ve had came from San Diego. 😉

    Posted 3.9.09 Reply
  6. marguerite wrote:

    I have always wanted to try falafel and chipotle is one of my FAVORITE flavors!!

    Posted 3.9.09 Reply
  7. Your pita looks incredible. I’ve been trying to make more of my bread too and it is actually pretty fun!

    Posted 3.9.09 Reply
  8. lo! wrote:

    LOVE falafel — and this recipe looks seriously good.

    As a chile-head, I’m really liking the addition of chipotle. Gotta try this!

    Posted 3.9.09 Reply
  9. Maria wrote:

    That is the perfect meal! The pita looks awesome…and so does the falafel. Great job here!

    Posted 3.9.09 Reply
  10. We’re in BYOB too, but we haven’t tackled anything like pitas! It has to be more than worth it. So delicious.

    Posted 3.9.09 Reply
  11. I’ve made my own pita only once. It was time-consuming, and messy. But boy, were they awesome! Warm, puffy, right out of the oven, they were just the best pita ever. Definitely worth taking the time to do at least once.

    Posted 3.9.09 Reply
  12. Kristen wrote:

    Your pita bread looks absolutely perfect!
    What a delicious recipe, and congrats on snagging up a great prize!

    Posted 3.9.09 Reply
  13. RecipeGirl wrote:

    I saw that recipe too & bookmarked it for later! Great minds think alike 🙂

    Your pitas turned out so darn cute. I totally want to make them now.

    Posted 3.10.09 Reply
  14. grace wrote:

    of all the giveaways to win, you got a doozy! this is like my dream prize, and i really like how you used it. chickpeas in any form combined with a pita is delightful in my book!

    Posted 3.10.09 Reply
  15. Pam wrote:

    Another tasty sandwich and a great photo too.

    Posted 3.10.09 Reply
  16. maris wrote:

    Every time I read your blog you get more and more creative! I don’t have a panini press but I’ve been wanting to try Sandy’s recipe for awhile.

    Posted 3.10.09 Reply
  17. kellypea wrote:

    I remember you mentioning this on Twitter and oh my goodness it turned out perfectly! Your pita are gorgeous. Love the sound of all the flavors in this mixing up and being delicious on my plate.

    Posted 3.12.09 Reply
  18. RobinSue wrote:

    I have been really getting into chickpeas of late and this dish looks great. I love falafel but never make them myself. But now I can. Thanks Kathy!

    Posted 3.13.09 Reply
  19. lo wrote:

    OK, Kathy – I’m back again because I have to tell you that this falafel is still calling my name. Every time I see the title of this post on my Google Reader I find myself drooling. Just thought you should know.

    Posted 3.14.09 Reply
  20. Kevin wrote:

    Those falafels look good!

    Posted 3.16.09 Reply
  21. Just saw this on FoodieView, and it looks fantastic!

    Posted 3.27.09 Reply