Packed with herbs & spices, this crispy baked falafel recipe is loaded with delicious flavor. They are moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, and are quick & easy to make. Made with 10 whole food ingredients and served with a creamy tahini dressing, these falafels are the perfect, satisfying plant-based meal.
I had never tried falafel before going vegan and once I did, I fell in love. I've had more falafel than I'd like to admit but I will say, this recipe is my favorite! This Mediterranean-inspired recipe follows the classic ingredients like chickpeas, herbs, and spices, but is different in that it is baked instead of deep-fried.
This falafel recipe is naturally healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and can be made oil-free. I love serving these falafels with pita bread, hummus, quinoa tabbouleh, in buddha bowls, and more. The options are truly endless!
- Dried Chickpeas: using dried chickpeas is key. Canned chickpeas will not work with this recipe and will make the falafels mushy rather than nice and crispy. We won't be cooking the chickpeas, just soaking them overnight!
- Onion: for flavor! A white or yellow onion will work perfectly. A shallot would work well too but it would have a bit of a stronger flavor.
- Garlic: do I even have to say it? A MUST. Make sure you're using fresh garlic cloves here, not garlic powder.
- Lemon Juice: this isn't traditional but it adds a little moisture and flavor.
- Spices: a combination of cumin, coriander, salt, and paprika for added flavor.
- Herbs: we'll be using parsley and cilantro. These two herbs play a key role in the flavoring of falafel. Be sure to use fresh herbs, not dried.
- Baking Powder & Gluten-free Flour: just a little bit to make the falafel nice and puffy and to help bind the ingredients.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: a little is added into the mixture for richness and moisture. In addition, I drizzle it over the falafels before baking so they become nice and crisp in the oven!
- Start by soaking the dried chickpeas in a large bowl of 3-4 cups of water overnight or for at least 10-12 hours. The chickpeas should triple in size.
- Once the chickpeas have been soaked, drain and pat dry. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the onions into chunks and peel your garlic, then all ingredients to a food processor.
- Pulse everything together until a dough is formed and the ingredients are well-combined. It should not be the consistency of a puree, you should definitely still have texture and small chunks of ingredients.
- Using your hands, scoop out 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time and gently roll into a ball, or shape into a patty until all of the mixture has been used. Place the falafels on the prepared baking sheet.
- Drizzle the falafels with generously with olive oil and bake for 22-25 minutes, flipping half way through, until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven. Serve immediately as an appetizer with a tahini or tzatziki sauce and hummus, on pita bread with veggies, or in a buddha bowl!
I love this recipe as is, but there are definitely a few ways you can make this!
Instead of baking them, you can air fry the falafel. Air fry the falafel at 350 degrees F for 15-17 minutes, flipping half way through. You could also deep fry them in a 2-3 cups of vegetable that has reached a temperature of 350-375 degrees F for 4-5 minutes.
Make this recipe oil-free by using a bit of water in the mixture instead of oil and by not drizzling them with anything at all before baking.
Use fava beans instead of chickpeas. The instructions and ingredients will remain the same.
- Do not use canned chickpeas. I know it's annoying to have to soak the dried chickpeas the night before but canned will make the falafel mixture too wet and you'll get mushy falafels.
- If the dough is too dry, add a bit of water, lemon juice, or oil. Alternatively, if it's too wet, add a 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour or gluten-free flour at a time until the desired consistency is reached. The dough should be moldable, not too crumbly or wet.
- Don't roll or pack the falafels too tightly otherwise they'll be very dense.
- If you choose to fry your falafels, chill the mixture for a half hour before rolling it. This will help it hold together when dropped into the oil.
Canned chickpeas are cooked and will create a mixture that is too wet. This will result in mushy falafels.
Definitely! Just preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees F and cook for 15-17 minutes, or until golden, flipping the falafel half way through.
You can store your falafels in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5-7 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Your mixture could have been too wet! If your falafel mixture isn't easily moldable, you may need to add a tablespoon of flour. If it's too dry, add a tablespoon of water.
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Crispy Baked Falafel
Packed with herbs & spices, this crispy baked falafel recipe is loaded with delicious flavor. They are moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, and are quick & easy to make.
- 1 cup (172 g) dried chickpeas soaked
- ½ (60 g) large yellow onion chopped
- 3 (7 g) garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tablespoon (12 g) lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons (15 g) gluten-free flour
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves and stems chopped
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling before baking
- ⅓ cup (70 g) tahini
- 2 tablespoons (24 g) lemon juice
- 1 clove (3 g) garlic minced
- salt & pepper to taste
- water as needed to thin
- Start by soaking the dried chickpeas in a large bowl of 3-4 cups water overnight or for at least 10-12 hours. The chickpeas should double to triple in size.1 cup dried chickpeas
- Once the chickpeas have been soaked, drain and pat dry. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse everything together until a dough is formed and the ingredients are well-combined.1 cup dried chickpeas, ½ large yellow onion, 3 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour, 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems, 1 cup fresh parsley leaves and stems
- Using your hands or a cookie scoop, scoop out 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time and gently roll into a ball, or shape into a patty until all of the mixture has been used. Place the falafels on the prepared baking sheet.
- Drizzle the falafels with generously with olive oil and bake for 22-25 minutes, flipping half way through, until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven.1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- While the falafels are baking, whisk together tahini sauce until smooth. Set aside.⅓ cup tahini, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 clove garlic, salt & pepper, water
- Serve immediately as an appetizer with the tahini sauce and hummus, on pita bread with veggies, or in a buddha bowl!