Fast Falafel

Spice up your picnic this weekend with these easy-to-make falafels that add a nutritional punch.


There’s something irresistible about the crunchy exterior and yielding centre of a good falafel – but the shop-bought versions often aren’t that inspiring. There’s no faff to making falafel at home: our version is quick and easy, using ingredients that can be grabbed in a rush from the kitchen cupboard. We’ve coated them in a few of our favourite things – dukkah, sesame seeds, LSA – for that all-important Midlife lift.

Makes 8 small or 6 large falafel


For the falafel

  • 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp Midlife Spice Mix, see below, or 1 tsp ground coriander and 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 egg
  • a large handful of flat leaf parsley
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

For the coating

  • 1 tbsp Midlife Sesame Seasoning (see below) or sesame seeds or 1 tbsp Midlife Dukkah (see below) or 1 tbsp Midlife LSA (see below), or ground almonds

To serve

  • 2 wholemeal pitta breads
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 tbsp hummus
  • 2 tbsp Zehug, see below (optional)


  1. Place all the falafel ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor and blitz to a coarse paste. Shape the mixture into 8 small or 6 large patties. Coat each in your chosen coating, patting so it sticks well. They can be chilled at this point, and cooked later.
  2. When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the falafels and fry for 5 7 minutes on each side until golden brown on the outside and cooked through. Serve in warm pittas, with the grated carrots, Zehug and hummus.

Midlife spice Mixes

Spice Mix

Makes approximately 5 tbsp

  • tbsp ground fennel seeds
  • tbsp ground coriander seeds
  • tbsp ground cumin
  • tbsp ground turmeric
  • tsp ground cardamom

Combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.


Makes approximately 12 tbsp

  • tbsp flaxseeds (another name for linseeds)
  • tbsp sunflower seeds
  • tbsp whole almonds (skin on)

Simply use a 3-2-1 ratio of L-S-A. Using a coffee grinder or spice mill, pulse the seeds and almonds in batches until finely ground.

Transfer the mix to an airtight jar and store in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Sesame Seasoning

  • 10 tsp black (or white) sesame seeds
  • tsp sea salt flakes

Using a pestle and mortar, pound the sesame seeds until lightly crushed (alternatively, whizz in a blender), then combine with the salt.

Transfer the mixture to a jar and use as an alternative to salt.


Makes approximately 10 tbsp

  • tbsp whole almonds, blanched or with skins on
  • tbsp pistachio nuts
  • tbsp sesame seeds
  • tsp cumin seeds
  • tsp coriander seeds
  • tsp fennel seeds
  • 10 black peppercorn
  • 10 pink peppercorns
  • tsp sea salt flakes

Place all the ingredients in a large, shallow frying pan and dry-fry over a medium heat for a few minutes until the nuts and seeds start to colour and pop, taking care not to burn them. Leave to cool.

Tip the mixture into a coffee grinder or spice mill and pulse until it resembles the coarse texture of a ‘dry rub’ seasoning. Alternatively, pound the mixture using a pestle and mortar.

Transfer the dukkah to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

The Midlife Kitchen: Health-Boosting Recipes for Midlife and Beyond by Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice is published by Mitchell Beazley, £25. Photographs by Issy Crocker.

Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 8:59 am Recipes