Historically, using what’s in the cupboards isn’t a strong point of mine, but today we’re doing just that. Tinned chickpeas CAN be turned into falafel and they 100% SHOULD be. We’re serving our falafel with cauliflower hummus today, a delightful combination.

At the time of writing London is in lockdown and Covid-19 is sweeping the globe claiming many lives. The current situation is absolutely heartbreaking and every life lost is tragic.

In these times with social distancing looking like a permanent fixture, or “new normal”, it’s increasingly important not to venture outside unless it’s absolutely essential. Supply chains seem to be back to normal following a few weeks of absolute carnage in the supermarkets.

Using what we have to hand, and those “store cupboard essentials” is the new normal for me. Over the years I’ve read many a blog post telling me that I can’t use canned chickpeas for falafel. I’m telling you that you can.

Close up of easy falafel on top of cauliflower hummus, garnished with parsley and salt.
Falafel with Cauliflower Hummus

The problem with tinned chickpeas is that they’re really wet. They’ve been in that tin sitting in water what do you expect?

Making the falafel mix.

First, drain the chickpeas and rinse them thoroughly. Pat them dry using kitchen paper before transferring to a blender. Next, add 30 grams of chickpea flour followed by all the flavour:

  • 15g each of parsley and coriander
  • one roughly chopped red onion
  • one and a half teaspoons of cumin
  • half a teaspoon each of coriander and chilli flakes
  • four crushed garlic cloves
  • two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • finally, a large pinch of salt and pepper

Blitz this up until it’s a crumbly dough-like texture. You will likely need to scrap down the side of the food processor a couple of times. Don’t over do the blitzing – it’s important not to end up with a puree.

Finally, for now, set the mix aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before shaping the falafel.

Shaping and cooking the falafel

Once you’ve chilled the mix you can get on with shaping the falafel. I use my hands to do this, though you may prefer to use a cooking scoop. I don’t mind the irregularity in shape. However, you might. This mix will yield approximately 12 ping-pong ball-sized falafel.

First, pre-heat oil to 180 degrees. This can be either in a deep fat fryer or in a pan on the stove-top. Needless to say, if you’re using a pan of oil on the stovetop, please be careful. Next, carefully lower the falafels into the oil. They will take around 6 minutes to cook. I would advise doing this in batches so not to overcrowd the fryer.

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Easy Cauliflower Hummus

Cauliflower Hummus (or any hummus really) couldn’t be easier. The first time I ever made Cauliflower Hummus was inspired by my buddy, mentor and all-round top chef Kim Duke (check out her Instagram – she makes the tastiest snacks). We were working together on my former pop-up project and we served it with a flatbread of some description if my memory serves me correctly. It was divine. I digress.

For cauliflower hummus just toss the florets in oil, salt, pepper and turmeric and roast for 25 minutes. The turmeric gives the hummus that vibrancy! I’m very here for it.

Once the cauliflower is cooked and tender (and cooled slightly) blitz her up in a food processor with:

  • the juice of half a lemon
  • two crushed garlic cloves
  • five tablespoons of tahini
  • four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • half a tablespoon of maple syrup
  • and a large pinch of salt and pepper

That’s it. Cauliflower hummus complete. The hummus will be slightly thicker than the OG chickpea hummus, but it will be just as tasty.

Pile the falafels on top of the cauliflower hummus, pile them high

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Close up of easy falafel on top of cauliflower hummus, garnished with parsley and salt.

Falafel with Cauliflower hummus

  • Author: JPLongland
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 12 falafels 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


With everything closed, I’m severely missing my twice-weekly falafel wrap from a little street food market right around the corner. So we’re recreating that little guy.



Cauliflower Hummus

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp turmeric
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 5 tbsp tahini
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tbsp maple syrup
  • salt + pepper


  • 400 g tinned chickpea (1 tin)
  • 15 g fresh parsley
  • 15 g fresh coriander
  • 1 red onion
  • 30 g chickpea flour
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • oil for frying



  1. Pre-heat oven to 220 Celcius.
  2. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, toss in oil, turmeric and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for  25 minutes until tender.
  3. Drain and rinse chickpeas and add to a food processor. Roughly chop the red onion, garlic cloves, parsley and coriander, add to the food processor with chickpeas and add remaining falafel ingredients.
  4. Blitz the falafel mix to a crumbly dough-like consistency. You may need to scrape down the sides a couple of times. Tip mix into a mixing bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
  5. Remove cauliflower from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Add to a food processor along with lemon juice, tahini, crushed garlic cloves, olive oil and maple syrup – and blitz to your desired consistency—season to taste. Refrigerate until falafel is ready to serve.
  6. Heat oil to 180 degrees, in either a fryer or heavy-based pan.
  7. Begin making falafel balls, take a small handful of the falafel mix and roll into a ball using your hands. You should get make approximately 12 ping-pong ball-sized falafel.
  8. Fry in two batches, for  6 minutes each batch.
  9. Remove from fryer, toss in salt and place on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
  10. Serve immediately on top of cauliflower hummus.

  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Do you love cauliflower as much as me? Check these out.

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