This recipe for vegan falafel is delicious, full of flavor, and rich in protein. Enjoy this easy authentic falafel with pita, salads, sauces, or sandwiches for lunch or dinner! Meal prep made easy!
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You'll never go back to the boxed falafel mix or restaurant falafel again after you try this easy recipe. Deliciously tender on the inside with the perfectly crispy outside, thisgluten-free falafel recipe pairs with pita bread, hummus, and mixed greens. Or try it as an addition to my Mediterranean Lentils and Rice.
With this recipe, I show you two different ways to make falafel: baked or fried! Both options are truly easy and yield results that are ready in less than 30 minutes.
You're gonna love it!
Recommeded Ingerdients and Equipment
This recipe is great because it requires just a handful of simple kitche staple ingredients. With a trio of seasonings and fresh herbs, falafel can be made in no time!
Here is what you need.
- Chickpeas – The key to good falafel is to use dried chickpeas that are uncooked. However, make sure to soak your chickpeas in water for at least 12 hours beforehand to ensure they are soft enough to process along with the other ingredients.
- Herbs – Fresh herbs are best for this recipe because they deliver bright and pungent flavors to the vegan falafel. I do not recommend substituting with dry herbs.
- Chickpea Flour – A great gluten-free option, chickpea flour, also known as besan, is nutrient-rich, filled with protein, and contains a good amount of fiber. Learn how to make your own chickpea flour at home.
Step One – Process the Chickpeas
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place the chickpeas in a food processor with parsley and cilantro leaves, onion, and garlic and process until a granular texture is formed. It should stick between your fingers when pressed.
Pro Tip: To properly make falafel, use raw dried chickpeas that have been soaked overnight. To soak them, place them in a bowl and cover them in fresh water. Make sure that they are completely submerged in the water. Place a lid on the bowl and keep them at room temperature overnight or for at least 12 hours.
Step Two - Add Remaining Ingredients
Add the sesame seeds, chickpea flour, baking soda, and spices. Mix everything again. Gradually add water until you have a moist, paste-like texture that is easily moldable.
Pro Tip: You can taste and adjust seasonings at this point but it is important to note that raw chickpea flour has an unpleasant pungent taste. Once cooked, the taste is undetectable.
Step Three - Cook the Falafel
Using your hands or a small cookie scoop, scoop the falafel mixture into balls about two tablespoons in size.
Add 2 inches of oil to a small pot placed over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add three to four falafel balls and fry for about three minutes, until brown and crispy on all sides. Remove the vegan falafel to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all of the falafel is cooked.
Serving and Storing
Serving – Serve this falafel in a sandwich with tomatoes, cucumbers, and vegan tzatziki, or add it to a fresh Mediterranean Salad or over a bed of greens.
Storing – Store the leftover falafel in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Gently reheat in the microwave or the oven until they are warmed all the way through.
Tips and Tricks
- This recipe calls for raw dried chickpeas that have been soaked overnight. To soak them, place them in a bowl and cover them in fresh water. Make sure that they are completely submerged in the water. Place a lid on the bowl and keep them at room temperature overnight or for at least 12 hours.
- Raw chickpea flour has an unpleasant pungent taste which you will notice if tasting the raw dough for seasonings. Don't worry! Once cooked, the taste is undetectable.
- To bake this recipe, cook the falafel in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. You could also use an airfryer for a crispier and healthier option. Follow these instructions for air fryer falafel.
- Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop the falafel mix.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Falafel is almost always vegan which makes them a great meat-free, high-protein option for sandwiches, salads, and bowls.
Yes! Naturally gluten-free and filled with protein, falafels are great sources of nutrients, fibers, and plant protein.
While you can use cooked chickpea, it's not the traditional way that falafel is made. It may result in a slightly mushy texture. I recommend sticking to the raw chickpea method.
More Vegan Appetizers
- Spicy Cheddar Cheese
- Artichoke Dip
- Easy Zucchini Fritters
- Lettuce Wraps with Buffalo Chickpeas
- Cauliflower Wings
Make sure to check out all my vegan appetizers for more weeknight and weekend inspiration.
- 1 ½ cup dried chickpeas*, soaked in water for at least 12 hours
- 1 cup cilantro leaves, stems removed
- 1 cup parsley leaves, stems removed
- ¼ onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon chickpea flour
- 3-5 tablespoon water, as needed
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Oil for frying
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place them, along with the cilantro leaves, parsley leaves, onion, and garlic cloves in a food processor and process until a uniform granular texture is formed.
- Add the sesame seeds, chickpea flour, baking soda, and spices. Mix everything again and gradually add the water until you have a moist, paste-like texture. It will be very thick and moldable.
- Fill a small pot with 1-2" of frying oil and heat over medium heat.
- Using your hands, ice cream scoop, or falafel scoop form the falafel mixture into small balls about 2 tablespoons in size. When the oil is hot, add 3-4 balls to the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove them to a paper towel-lined bowl or plate. Repeat until all the falafel is cooked.
- Serve the falafel immediately with some tahini, salad, and/or pita bread.
- Bake: For a healthier option, bake the falafel instead! Bake them at 425 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Air Fry: You could also use an air fryer for a crispier option that is healthier than deep-frying. Follow these instructions for air fryer falafel.