Learn how to make crispy baked Falafel with chickpeas, herbs and spices – This is an easy recipe that’s naturally vegan, healthy, gluten-free, and perfect for making wraps, lahmacun, sandwiches, salads or delicious meatless falafel pockets using pita bread!
Healthy and easy Falafel recipe
Falafel have definitely been one of my favorite vegan snacks and side dishes for years. I like to put them in a Buddha Bowl, make wraps, sandwiches and more with them or snack them just like that as a healthy plant-based protein source.
Over the time, I have tried different recipe versions, but this one is still my favorite. So now it was time to give my beloved chickpea balls a recipe update. While I made the previous falafel version from my cookbook with bread crumbs and all-purpose flour, this version is completely gluten-free. Plus, this falafel recipe is also much healthier than traditional ones because I baked them instead of deep-frying them.
If you are a newbie, the dish may appear intimidating, but believe me when I say that it is very simple. All you have to do now is mix everything together, roll it into balls and bake!
What is Falafel?
It’s a traditional Middle Eastern and Mediterranean delicacy usually sold on by streets vendors. It is made with ground chickpeas or fava beans, as well as a variety of herbs and spices. The mixture is formed into balls or patties and is usually deep-fried. It is commonly served as part of a mezze platter – a Mediterranean version of a grazing board.
Ingredients for the best Falafel
You might be surprised that a dish originating thousands of miles away uses basic and straightforward ingredients that are usually sitting in your pantry for quite some time, waiting to be used!
- Chickpeas: For this recipe I used dried chickpeas soaked overnight. Also, cooked or canned chickpeas will work, however, you will need to add more chickpea flour for that extra crunch.
- Chickpea flour: This is a good alternative for breadcrumbs and regular all-purpose flour that makes this recipe gluten-free.
- Garlic and Onion: Two basic ingredients that I always have on hand.
- Parsley: This adds that fresh, peppery and earthy flavor to the dish.
- Cumin: The bittersweet flavor it gives to food is just what we’re looking for.
- Dried Coriander: It has a rustic, tart, and sweet flavor, as well as a floral scent when toasted.
- Salt and black pepper: to taste
- Oil: such as olive, canola, sunflower or sesame oil.
- Sesame seeds: optional in this recipe, but adds a nutty taste and a bit of crunch.
How to make Crispy Baked Falafel
As always, I recommend checking out these step-by-step instructions first. Then you can find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Make the chickpea falafel mixture
If using dried chickpeas, soak them in water for at least 12 hours (no need to cook them) or use canned ones. Then drain, rinse and pat dry. Put the chickpeas, chickpea flour, garlic, onion, parsley, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse a few times into a coarse mixture.
Step 2: Form and bake falafel
Using wet hands, shape the dough into 25-30 balls. Brush the balls with a little olive oil first (the easiest way to do that, is to oil the palms of your hands, then roll the balls between your oiled palms as shown in the video, or use cooking spray). Then roll the balls in the sesame seeds as desired. Place the balls a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 392 °F (200 °C) for about 15 minutes. Then flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown and crispy.
Step 3: Prepare toppings and serve!
Meanwhile, prepare the hummus according to this recipe. If you like, you can also make tahini sauce or peanut sauce and homemade pita pockets using my naan bread recipe and roast some chickpeas as instructed here. Fill the pita bread with vegetables, hummus, falafel and roasted chickpeas. Drizzle it with some peanut or tahini sauce if you like and serve with fresh limes on the side. Enjoy!
Falafels are best served warm and crispy right after they’ve been cooked. You can present this to your family or friends in a variety of ways. A little creativity and imagination will work wonders. Here are some ideas:
- Dips: Falafel with Hummus is my absolute favorite combination! But I also like to serve them with Vegan Tzatziki, Creamy Guacamole, Cashew Dip, Tahini Sauce or my Best Peanut Sauce.
- Bowls and Salads: These crisp and flavorful chickpea balls make a great topping for salads and Buddha Bowls! Feel free to head over my Turkish Bulgar Salad, Mediterranean Chickpea Salad or Vegan Poke Bowl for some inspiration.
- Falafel Doner: To make homemade pita pockets you can use my Vegan Naan Bread Recipe. Fill them with fresh lettuce, veggies, falafel, hummus and roasted chickpeas. Then drizzle with some tahini or peanut sauce or Chipotle Dressing and serve with some lime wedges on the side. This vegan doner definitely tastes better than from the restaurant or snack bar!
Tips and Recipe Notes
- The recipe is very versatile. You can add some other spices like paprika powder, tomato paste, Ajvar or chili powder.
- Although I baked the falafels in this recipe, they may alternatively be deep-fried or air-fried. For deep frying, oil must be heated to 355 °F (180 °C). Then carefully add the falafel and fry for about 4-5 minutes until golden brown, turning in between. Then place them on paper towels to drain any excess oil. If you prepare the chickpea balls in the Airfryer, they will take about 15-20 minutes at 392 °F (200 °C).
- To make the vegan falafel the same size, you can use a cookie or ice-cream scoop to remove the individual portions. Make sure to brush a small amount of oil before scooping the mixture.
How to store and make ahead
You can store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week. When you’re ready to eat them, pop them in the oven at 350 °F or 180 °C for about 8-10 minutes, or until warm and crisp. But if you are very hungry you could also gently warm them in the microwave or eat them cold.
If you created a large batch of the mixture and want to save it for later, place it on a baking sheet or pan lined with parchment paper and freeze it for approximately an hour. Carefully remove the frozen falafel balls and place them in an airtight plastic bag. They should last for 3 months or even longer. Do not allow them to thaw. It’s best to bake them right after they’ve been taken out of the freezer. Just keep in mind that these are frozen and may take a little longer to cook.
Other Must-Try Falafel Recipes
- Sweet Potato Falafel – The star of this recipe is our favorite vegan food, sweet potatoes. It is rich in vitamins, nutrients and complex carbohydrates that will keep you full for the rest of the day.
- Tortilla Saltletts Falafel Wraps with Spicy Hummus – It is like a sandwich on the go but with a hearty filling. A balanced meal with protein and vegetables for lunch or dinner.
- Crispy Harissa Falafel – This recipe is for you if you want a little extra spice in your snack or dinner. The hot and garlicky Harissa paste is a North African spice that is traditionally added or served with this type of recipe.
These crispy baked Falafel are:
- Naturally vegan
- Baked not fried
- Easy to make
- Rich in fiber
- Deliciously flavored
- Perfect as a snack, appetizer or side dish!
More healthier vegan Fastfood Recipes to try
- BBQ Jackfruit Pulled Pork Burger
- Garlic Mushroom and Spinach Pizza
- Chinese Scallion Pancakes
- Sweet Potato Quesadillas
- Burrito Samosas
- Turkish Borek
- Turkish Pizza (Lahmacun)
- Vegan Empanadas
- Aloo Paratha
- Sweet Potato Falafel
- Vegan Fish Nuggets
- Pasta Chips
- Chili Cheese Fries
- Crunchwrap Supreme – Burrito Wraps XXL
If you try this easy vegan crispy baked falafel recipe, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you take a picture of your chickpea balls and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Enjoy! 🙂
Crispy Baked Falafel - The Best RecipeAuthor:
- 14 oz (400 g) dry chickpeas or sub canned ones
- 2 tbsp chickpea flour or more if using canned chickpeas, *see notes
- 3 large garlic cloves or 5 small ones
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 bunch parsley chopped
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp dried coriander
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 3-4 tbsp sesame seeds optional
*Note: Watch the recipe video and check out the step-by-step photos in the blog post above!
- If using dried chickpeas, soak them in water for at least 12 hours (no need to cook them) or use canned ones. Then drain, rinse and pat dry.
- Preheat the oven to 392 °F (200 °C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put the chickpeas, chickpea flour, garlic, onion, parsley, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse a few times into a coarse mixture.
- Using wet hands, shape the dough into 25-30 balls. Brush the balls with a little olive oil first (the easiest way to do that, is to oil the palms of your hands, then roll the balls between your oiled palms as shown in the video, or use cooking spray), and then roll the balls in the sesame seeds (optional).
- Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. Then flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown and crispy.
- Serve with fresh limes on the side and enjoy!
- Chickpeas: If using canned chickpeas you will need more chickpea flour, about ⅓ cup (40 g) and you may get less balls.
- Variation: Feel free to add more spices, such as paprika, tomato or chili powder. You can also add some ajvar or tomato or paprika paste.
- Air or deep fry: You can also cook the falafel in an air fryer at the same temperature for 15-20 minutes. Or deep fry them in a large pan or pot. To do this, heat enough oil to 355 ºF (180 ºC). Then carefully place the balls in the hot oil and deep fry for about 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally. Once crispy, place on paper towels to drain.
- Storing: Leftover falafel will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. Before serving, simply bake them briefly in the oven or gently warm them in the microwave, or eat them cold. Both the raw and baked falafel can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- For more helpful tips and information, be sure to read the blog post above!
- This recipe was first published on 21/09/2017.
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