Vegan Baked Falafel
Who says you need to deep fry falafel to have the perfect crispy bites? This recipe for Crispy Baked Falafel is simple to make at home right in your oven. Plus they’re easier to make and with less mess (and clean-up) than traditional fried falafel!
Easy Oven Baked Falafel Recipe
If you’ve never tried Falafel before, it’s a traditional Middle-Eastern street food that is generally served with pita and hummus. Falafel is generally made with chickpeas, herbs and spices that get fried up into crispy balls. But for this recipe, we’re gonna skip out on the deep frying and bake this homemade falafel right in the oven!
I spent some time in Israel where I had the chance to eat a lot (and I mean A LOT) of falafel. So I wanted to make this recipe taste authentic to the falafel I had while I was there.
This recipe for Crispy Baked Falafel is made with chickpeas, herbs and spices to keep it more traditional. (Though if you want to expand your falafel-horizons, you can try out fun variations like Sweet Potato Falafel!)
Why you’ll love this recipe
- It’s is made directly in a food processor, making it super easy to throw together with minimal dishes and clean up
- The falafel balls are baked, not fried, making them a healthier and easier option for making falafel at home. (Who wants to deal with deep frying in their kitchen and oil splattering everywhere? Not me!)
- This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free (just make sure to use gluten-free flour)
What exactly is a falafel?
Falafels are deep-fried or baked balls or patties made from ground chickpeas, tahini herbs and spices. Falafel is a traditional Middle-Eastern dish that is often served with salad, pita and hummus.
What do falafels taste like?
Falafel has a bold, herby and savoury flavour with a slightly grainy texture (in a good way.) Since chickpeas themselves have a very mild taste, falafel will easily take on the flavour of whatever herbs and spices you add to it.
Vegan Falafel Ingredients
- Chickpeas: this recipe uses dried chickpeas, not canned chickpeas. Dried chickpeas will give the falafel a better and crisper texture because they’ll less wet than canned chickpeas.
- Herbs: parsley and cilantro are the herbs typically used to make falafel. Make sure to use fresh herbs here, not dried herbs. These herbs play a key role in flavouring the falafel balls
- Onion: for flavour. a regular white or yellow onion work here
- Garlic: is it really falafel if there’s no garlic? (no, no it is not.) Again make sure you are using FRESH garlic here! No substituting for dried garlic or pre-chopped garlic.
- Spices: a combination of salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. You’ll see some variations in spices depending on the recipe you look at, but cumin is very standard to have in any falafel recipe.
- Flour: to help bind everything together. You can use any type of flour you want here. Regular flour, almond flour, gluten-free flour or even chickpea flour.
- Olive oil: I find this helps to add some moisture to the falafel and helps prevent them from drying out.
How do I prepare chickpeas for falafel?
If you are using dried chickpeas, you’ll need to soak them in a large bowl of water overnight. After doing this, the chickpeas will triple in size and become softer and plumper. From here you can use them directly in the recipe without boiling them.
How to Make Baked Falafel
Start by soaking the dried chickpeas overnight. They should almost triple in size after being soaked.
Once the chickpeas are soaked, drain them and add them to a food processor with the rest of the falafel ingredients. Pulse everything together until it forms a dough.
Roll the Falafel dough into even balls using your hands then spread them evenly onto a baking sheet. Before baking the falafel, you’ll want to spray them with some cooking spray. (I use an olive oil cooking spray.) This will help the falafel become crispy in the oven.
Storing Falafel Balls
Fridge: Store any leftover falafel in the fridge for up to 5 days in a sealed container. Keep in mind the falafel won’t stay as crispy once chilled in the fridge. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-6 minutes.
Freezer: want to meal prep this recipe? Make the falafel balls but don’t bake them, freeze them in a sealed container for up to 2 months. Let defrost on the countertop then bake.
Tips for Making Falafel Perfectly
- Don’t substitute canned chickpeas for dried chickpeas in this recipe. They’ll have too much moisture in them and the falafel balls won’t come together properly.
- If your falafel feels too wet, you can add an extra 1-2 tablespoons of flour to the mixture to help it bind together.
- Shape the falafel into balls or patties if you prefer. (Patties are great if you’re putting the falafel in a pita!)
Baked Falafel FAQ
Using dried chickpeas that are soaked rather than canned chickpeas is the best way to prevent falafel from falling apart. You also want to make sure to pureé the falafel enough and to add enough flour to the falafel dough to help it bind together.
You can technically use canned chickpeas for falafel, however, it won’t turn out as well as using dried chickpeas. Since canned chickpeas are much softer, they won’t stick together as well as soaked dried chickpeas and won’t create falafel that is as crispy.
Falafel Recipe Baked Serving Suggestions
There are so many different ways you can serve up your falafel! You can make pita or sandwiches for lunch, bowls for dinner, or just have them as bite-sized appetizers. Here are some suggestions of things to serve with your falafel:
- Pita (use thick pita for a more traditional falafel pita sandwich!)
- Picked onions, radishes or beets
- French fries (in Israel, many of the street vendors stuff some french fries in the falafel pitas!)
- Lettuce, arugula or microgreens
Other recipes you may like
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This recipe for Crispy Baked Falafel is whipped up in a food processor for a healthy vegetarian meal you’ll love!
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 small onion (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp flour of choice (I use gluten-free flour)
- Soak the chickpeas in a bowl of water overnight, then drain. Add the chickpeas to a food processor with the rest of the ingredients.
- Puree the mixture until everything is well combined.
- Use a cookie scoop or spoon to scoop the falafel mixture and roll into even balls with your hands. Place on a baking sheet.
- Spray the falafel with an olive oil cooking spray and bake at 400 degrees for 22-25 minutes until golden brown on the outside.
- Serve right away while they’re still crispy!
Don’t substitute canned chickpeas for dried chickpeas in this recipe. They’ll have too much moisture in them and the falafel balls won’t come together properly.
If your falafel feels too wet, you can add an extra 1-2 tablespoons of flour to the mixture to help it bind together.
Shape the falafel into balls or patties if you prefer. (Patties are great if you’re putting the falafel in a pita!)
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 350
- Fat: 18g
- Carbohydrates: 34g
- Fiber: 7g
- Protein: 10g
Keywords: how to make falafel, homemade falafel, oven baked falafel, vegan falafel