Homemade Green Falafel Balls + Israeli and Cabbage Salad

There is a small hole-in-the-wall falafel place near the old city of Jerusalem that makes the best falafel I've ever had in my life. The brick shack is so small, the bench by the window where you order seats three, four if you scoot close enough. Shlomo Falafel, or maybe it's Shmuel (I should know this) is run by a man who lives his faith. He makes one bowl of his mix every day and closes up shop as soon as the last crumbs are served. That happens around noon. I'm not sure if it's the taste that makes his perfectly spiced and herbed falafel exceptional or maybe the dedication and love I imagine he mixes in as well. My father-in-law, a native Jerusalemite, took us there when we were visiting four years ago and I've been dreaming of going back. And I will be, so soon. 

I'm an idealist at heart and though life's realities can sometimes dim that part of me, I try to keep focus on my core values. Sometimes that takes effort and sacrifice and uncomfortable risks. But isn't that true growth? It's stretching yourself a little higher, and out of reach. It's saying yes impulsively even though no is a much safer option. It's when only "carpe diem" and "if not now, when?" are the only answer to life decisions that make sense and make you realize you're at a crossroad and wow, life isn't as simple as a pinterest quote. Well, that's what happened one night 7 weeks ago when my husband asked (or maybe he said): "let's move to Israel?" It wasn't in the plans but it came to be. We got a little nudge from the One who runs it all and so many things came into place, a yes was the only option. That "yes" has been challenged and stretched and doubted. Somehow we pulled through and we are leaving L.A. to call Jerusalem home. I've been obsessing over this for the past few weeks, I would think it real but it all still feels like an absurd dream. On playback I've envisioned strolls at Machne Yehuda, this coffee, and date night at Mamilla mixed in with the stress of daily life and setting up a home in a land where everything is different. So you might catch me at times starry eyed and many times a little anxious. But then I think of Shlomo's falafel and I'm mesmerized by the people of Jerusalem, the strength of their character and how they live their ideals in a humble and unassuming way. 

I'm excited to see what cooking will be like, even though my style is inherently Israeli. The flavors and colors and taste will be new yet familiar. Eating seasonally isn't an option but a way of course. There will be new people and friends, most likely we'll meet around the table because when else do we have time to gather if not over a meal? I've been wanting to chronicle our family meals for a while, and maybe that will be a new focus. After reducing my entire life to 18 luggages (for 6 people!) many of my props I've left behind. In case you're wondering, moving is the perfect time to Konmari your home. And it's the best feeling.

This is a falafel recipe I use myself, and love, even though it doesn't match Shlomo's. I make it with all the accroutements and it makes a light, filling dinner. I believe falafel should be packed with cilantro and doused in tahina. It's the only way.

When you come visit, you know where we're meeting for lunch.

Homemade Green Falafel Balls


1 kg dried chickpeas

1/2 bunch cilantro

1/2 bunch parsley

6 cloves of garlic

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

2 full teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Soak the chickpeas in a large bowl overnight. Leave on the counter, covered, with enough water to cover the beans.
  2. The next day, drain and rinse the chickpeas under cold water.
  3. In a large food processor fitted with the S blade, process the garlic, parsley and cilantro until mostly chopped.
  4. Add the chickpeas and process until a crumbly mixture forms
  5. Add the eggs, baking powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and process until a smooth paste forms.
  6. Heat a large skillet with an inch of oil (use whichever oil you like for frying) over medium high. If you have a thermometer, get the oil to about 350F. If not, test the oil with one ball of falafel. Drop it into the oil and fry until golden brown, checking the inside afterward to make sure it's fully cooked. 
  7. Roll the chickpea mixture into 1 inch balls and drop into the oil, flipping after 2-3 minutes to cook on the other side. Serve warm in a pita with all of these salads and a generous scoop of Green Tahini

Purple Cabbage Salad

1 small purple cabbage, chopped into fine slivers

1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

mix and toss well.

Israeli Salad

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered or 2 large roma tomatoes, diced

2-3 persian/israeli/lebanese cucumbers

1/4 red onion, finely diced

1/4 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

mix and toss well.

note: I often add tri colored bell peppers and green onions to my Israeli salad. Sometimes chopped endives, too. The simplest and tastiest salad there is.