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Black Bean Falafel Recipe. Leftover Mexican Refried Beans Become Israeli Falafel!

Updated on December 16, 2008

If you're a falafel purist…stop reading now; this will only upset you.

Lets just say that although I am no expert on the food and cooking of the Middle East, I very much doubt the authenticity of this recipe. A recipe born for my love of deep-fried and crispy snacks and the frequency at which I stare at leftover homemade refried beans in my fridge!

But its really tasty, and it's one of those clear out the fridge kind of meals that lets you really enjoy leftovers in a completely new presentation. It's also dead easy – you barely need a recipe for this one.

An aside - Beans are good for you. They are an excellent source of fiber and minerals and all that good stuff and surely the good done by all that fiber counteracts any need for deep frying related guilt.

Black Bean Falafel Balls

This recipe and the instructions are only a guide. This will be very good using what you have on hand – whatever that may be!

  • 2 cups of refried black beans, as leftovers, they are already seasoned for eating (or pinto or other beans)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 plum tomatoes diced
  • About ¼ cup of cilantro, chopped roughly
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1-4 Thai bird chilis, or any other fresh hot chili you may have on hand. If you don't like spicy food, you may omit them – but adding a little fire does make these falafel balls more interesting.
  • Flour (just as much as is needed to make a stiff kind of dough – and a little for dusting.
  • Salt
  • Oil for frying (vegetable oil is fine)

Easy Steps

  1. Mix together the beans, the garlic, the onion, the cilantro and the chili pepper
  2. Start off by adding in ½ a cup of flour. Mix it together well and see if you can mold falafel size balls that although slightly soft, will still keep their shape. If the dough is too soft, add more flour little by little until you have a workable dough.
  3. If you added more than a ½ cup of flour, you should add about ½ tsp of salt. If you stuck with the ½ cup, a couple of pinches of salt should suffice. (your beans should already be salted here)
  4. Heat up a heavy frying pan over medium high heat. Add in about ¼ inch of oil for frying.
  5. When the oil is hot, shape the falafels into 1 inch circular balls by rolling the dough between your palms. Once shaped, dust the exterior with flour until completely covered, and then shake off any excess flour.
  6. Add the balls to the oil as you form them, and fry them, turning occasionally so that all sides are cooked, for about 3-4 minutes, or until the balls are very nice and crispy.
  7. Drain them on paper towels briefly.

Serve them with a good garlicky Tatziki yogurt sauce and chopped cucumber, or add them to a pita with lettuce onions, Tatziki and cucumber.

A great quick and easy snack - Fusion inspired Mexican beans travel Eastward to create Israeli style falafel!

Lots of fun and something EVERYONE will like.

Bon Appétit!

A video recipe on making regular falafel


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    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This is something that makes me think "why didn't I think of that" since I am so good with left overs; but I didn't and pleased to have you share this with us. Sounds great! ^+

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      This looks so good. Beats the endless bean burrito scenario I encounter frequently. I'll have to give this a go.

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 

      6 years ago from Mexico

      Great idea! Very creative, I would have never thought of making falafel with black beans even though they are closely related with chickpeas, as you said, one is associated with middle eastern cuisine and the other one with Mexican food. Excellent "meeting point".

    • John D Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      John D Lee 

      8 years ago

      So glad you liked this - the recipe is definitely open to interpretation!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Delicious! I made these tonight with leftover re-fried beans. Use whole-wheat flour (couldn't even tell one teensy bit), homemade tehina, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, shredded lettuce, all in a sort of whole-wheat pita soft taco things. Scrumptious, healthy, and cheap. What more could you want?


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