Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern dish made from mashed chickpeas seasoned with spices such as cumin and coriander. Below is a spin on the classically fried dish that excludes the oil making it a much healthier alternative. My favorite way to enjoy falafel is in a pita layered with veggies and some vegan taziki sauce.
If you enjoy using a fair amount of spice in your recipes, this one is for you!
Easy Vegan Baked Falafel (Oil-Free)
- 30 oz chickpeas 2 (15oz) cans, low-sodium drained & rinsed
- 1 cup onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic extra large (with skins on)
- 2.25 teaspoons cumin ground
- 2 teaspoons coriander ground
- 3 tablespoons tahini smooth runny
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup red potato cooked, mashed and tightly packed
- ¾ cup parsley packed flat leaf
- 3 tablespoons water use a bit more if needed
Carefully read the instructions as to prepare these falafel correctly.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. You will first drain and rinse your chickpeas. Spread them out evenly on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Roast for 25 minutes. This helps them to give more texture to the falafel instead of just turning into mush like hummus when blended.
- In the last ten minutes of roasting the chickpeas, add the chopped onion and garlic cloves (with cloves still in their skins!) to another sheet pan lined with parchment paper and cook them for the remaining 10 minutes. Place the pan on the bottom rack. At this time, you cook your potato. I just cooked a small potato in the microwave (with skin on) and then remove the skin and mash it. Measure a tightly packed 1/2 cup. You can bake the potato if you want, but do not steam or boil as that will make them too moist.
- Remove both pans from the oven. Add the chickpeas to a food processor. Process just until there are no more visible whole chickpeas, but do not overprocess it too finely. It should look ground up but kind of chunky with no remaining beans whole
- Now, remove the garlic cloves from their skins and tear the garlic up a bit and drop the pieces scattered around the bowl, so they blend up evenly. Add the onion as well. Do not blend up yet. Add the cumin, coriander, tahini, salt, mashed potato, parsley, water and cayenne (if using). Sprinkle the spices around the bowl so they blend evenly.
- Process until everything comes together and the mixture starts to form large sticky chunks. This may take 10-15 seconds. As soon as it does, stop processing. It should hold together easily when pressed and not be dry/crumbly, but pureed, but still see little chopped bits of onion in it. It should easily form into balls, if not, process just slightly longer until it’s sticky and holds together.
- Preheat the oven again to 375 degrees and line another pan with parchment paper.
- Press, form and shape the mixture into tight balls with your hands. They should be about golf ball size and you should get 10-12. Place them all onto the pan and press them down to about 1/2 inch thick. The edges may slightly crack a bit when pressing them down, just piece back the edges with your fingers.
- If you like a really crispy exterior, you can always spray them with a little nonstick spray before baking if you prefer. I did not, but it is up to you. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip them over and cook another 10 minutes. If they are not flipping over easily, cook another couple of minutes until they flip easily. This will make sure they hold their shape. They should have nice golden brown tops. If you want these extra crispy, bake them longer, but just keep in mind they may become more dry.