What Happens If You Use Canned Chickpeas For Falafel?

Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern dish that’s enjoyed all over the world. Made from mashed chickpeas, onions, garlic, and spices, it’s a vegetarian-friendly dish that’s often served in pita pockets with hummus, salad, and other toppings. While many people use dried chickpeas to make falafel from scratch, others opt for using canned chickpeas for convenience.

However, the question remains: what happens if you use canned chickpeas for falafel? In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using canned chickpeas for falafel, and discuss whether or not the results are worth it. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, understanding the differences between canned and dried chickpeas can help you create the perfect falafel every time.

Key Takeaway
Using canned chickpeas for falafel can lead to a dense and mushy texture. This is because canned chickpeas contain excess water and have a softer texture than dried ones. The water content can make it difficult for the chickpeas to bind together and hold their shape during frying, resulting in a less crispy and less flavorful falafel. It is recommended to use dried chickpeas that have been soaked overnight and drained for the best results.

The Pros and Cons of Using Canned Chickpeas for Falafel

When it comes to making falafel, using canned chickpeas can be a time-saving option. Canned chickpeas are already cooked, which means you can skip the time-consuming step of boiling them. Moreover, chickpeas from a can are convenient to use as they come pre-soaked and ready for use.

However, using canned chickpeas for falafel could lead to some negative consequences. As they are pre-cooked, the texture of canned chickpeas is often much softer than fresh ones. This can make your falafel mixture too wet and difficult to form into balls. Additionally, the canned chickpeas may have a sweeter flavor than fresh ones, which can alter the taste of your falafel. Nevertheless, by adding extra flour and seasoning to the mixture, you can make the canned chickpeas work for the falafel recipe.

How to Modify Falafel Recipes for Canned Chickpeas

If you’re using canned chickpeas for falafel instead of soaked dry chickpeas, you’ll need to make some modifications to your recipe. First, drain and rinse the canned chickpeas well before using them. They are usually softer than the cooked dry chickpeas, so you’ll need to add a binding agent to hold the mixture together. This can be achieved by adding a tablespoon or two of flour or breadcrumbs to the falafel mixture.

Another modification you can make is reducing the amount of liquid ingredients like water or lemon juice. Canned chickpeas are already soaked in liquid, so using the same amount of liquid in your recipe will result in a runny and loose mixture. Finally, don’t forget to adjust the cooking time and temperature as canned chickpeas cook faster than dry ones. By making these modifications, you can still achieve a delicious and crispy falafel using canned chickpeas.

The Texture and Flavor Differences in Canned Chickpea Falafel vs. Fresh Chickpea Falafel

The texture and flavor of falafel made from canned chickpeas can differ significantly from those made with fresh chickpeas. Canned chickpeas have a softer texture than fresh ones, which makes them easier to mash and form into patties. However, their softer texture can also result in a mushy and less firm falafel compared to one made with fresh chickpeas.

Canned chickpeas also lack the depth of flavor that fresh chickpeas provide. Fresh chickpeas have a rich nutty flavor that enhances the taste of the falafel. In contrast, canned chickpeas have a bland and flat taste that requires additional seasoning to make the falafel flavorful. Overall, while canned chickpeas are convenient and easy to use, they do not offer the same texture and flavor as fresh chickpeas and may result in a less satisfying falafel.

The Experiment: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Canned vs. Fresh Chickpea Falafel

For this experiment, we will be comparing the texture, taste, and overall quality of falafel made with canned chickpeas versus falafel made with freshly cooked chickpeas. To begin, we will use the same recipe for both batches of falafel, which includes onions, garlic, herbs, and spices.

First, we will make the falafel using canned chickpeas. We will rinse and drain the chickpeas before processing them in a food processor with the other ingredients. Then, we will form the mixture into balls and fry them until golden brown. For the second batch, we will cook dried chickpeas and follow the same process as before. After cooking and frying, we will compare the two batches of falafel on various criteria to determine which produces the better results.

How to Store Canned Chickpea Falafel and Make it Last Longer

Storing canned chickpea falafel properly can help you make it last longer. After making the falafel, let them cool down to room temperature before storing them in an airtight container. Make sure to place a paper towel in the container as well to absorb any excess moisture. You can store the falafel in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If you want to freeze the falafel, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer until they are frozen solid. Then transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag. Frozen canned chickpea falafel can last for up to 2 months. To reheat them, bake them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes or until they are crispy and heated through. Properly storing and freezing canned chickpea falafel will help you enjoy them anytime you want without worrying about spoilage.

Tips and Tricks for Making Delicious Canned Chickpea Falafel

While using canned chickpeas for falafel may not result in the traditional flavor and texture, there are ways to make it just as delicious. Here are some tips and tricks to make canned chickpea falafel:

Firstly, make sure to drain and rinse the chickpeas well before using them. This will remove any excess liquid and starch that may affect the texture of the falafel. Secondly, add some flour or breadcrumbs to the mixture to help it bind better. This will ensure that the falafel doesn’t fall apart during frying. Lastly, add some flavor boosters such as garlic, cumin, coriander, and parsley to enhance the taste of the falafel.

By following these tips and tricks, you can create a delicious falafel using canned chickpeas that may not exactly replicate the traditional taste, but still provide a satisfying and flavorful experience. So, go ahead and experiment with different spices and herbs to make your own unique version of canned chickpea falafel!

The Environmental Impact of Using Canned Chickpeas for Falafel and How to Reduce Waste.

The use of canned chickpeas for falafel has not only nutritional and taste implications, but also environmental ones. The production of canned foods creates more waste, as the packaging and transportation process generates emissions and uses resources like water. Additionally, canned foods often contain preservatives, additives, and excess salt, which are not necessary when using fresh ingredients.

To reduce waste and the environmental impact of canned chickpeas, it is recommended to use dry chickpeas instead. While they may require more time in preparation, dry chickpeas are cheaper, have a longer shelf life, and can be stored in reusable containers. Additionally, buying in bulk reduces packaging materials and transportation emissions. Another way to reduce waste is to use any leftover chickpeas in other dishes or snack recipes. By reducing usage of canned chickpeas and making eco-friendly dietary choices, individuals can contribute to a more sustainable and healthy planet.


Using canned chickpeas for falafel is definitely not the best idea. Although it might be tempting to opt for the canned alternative for its convenience, the difference in texture and taste is significant. Homemade falafel made with fresh chickpeas makes a far superior dish in terms of taste, texture, and nutritional value. Additionally, canned chickpeas contain additives and preservatives that can be harmful to health in the long run.

Falafel made with fresh chickpeas can be crispy, fluffy, and full of flavor. It requires some effort and time, but the results are worth it. The recipe can be easily customized with spices and herbs of choice, depending on one’s preference. So, ditch the canned chickpeas and try making falafel with fresh chickpeas for a wholesome and delicious meal.

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