Picnics can range from elaborate affairs complete with candelabras, portable tables and place settings — or they can be as simple as gathering on a blanket with tasty sandwiches and other finger foods. The point is that picnics are one of summer’s joys. This recipe for falafel from Jennifer Segal at Once Upon a Chef is one of several picnic possibilities to consider for your next outdoor food fest.


Servings: 20 t0 24 falafel patties

Serve the traditional way stuffed into a pita or as part of a platter with other items like hummus and baba ganoush. Don’t forget the tahini or yogurt sauce!


  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, rinsed and picked over 
  • 8 scallions, light and dark green parts, from 1 bunch, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Soak the chickpeas: Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water by about 4 inches. Soak for 24 hours, adding more water if necessary to keep the chickpeas covered, as they will double in size. (Alternatively, if you’re short on time, you can use the quick-soak method: place the beans in a pot and cover with water by about three inches; bring to a rolling boil and boil for five minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat and let stand for one hour.)
  2. Drain the chickpeas and place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add all of the other ingredients except for the oil and process until the chickpeas are finely minced, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, 1 to 2 minutes. The mixture shouldn’t be completely uniform — you want a slightly nubby texture — but you’ll need to process it enough so that it is moistened and binds together.
  3. Form heaping tablespoonfuls of the mixture into patties about ½ inch thick and 1½ inches wide. 
  4. Heat ¼-inch of oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add half of the falafel to the pan (the falafel should sizzle immediately when you drop it in the oil; if it doesn’t, wait another minute or two for the oil to heat up.). When the first side is golden, flip and cook a few minutes more until golden all over. The total cook time should be 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the falafel to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Cook the second batch, then serve warm or room temperature with tahini sauce or yogurt sauce.

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