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You know what I love about falafel? Almost anywhere you go, they're almost guaranteed to be vegan and gluten-free. Yes, they may be fried and a little unhealthy, but darn it, I've got something delicious I can eat!
And you know what else? They're ridiculously easy to make at home, and you can bake them in the oven. Oven-baked falafel are a healthier version of the deep-fried ones, and just as delicious. You can feel good about feeding these to your family.
Falafel are deliciously spiced balls of ground-up chickpeas that are formed into patties and deep fried or baked. Falafel are made with dried chickpeas that are soaked overnight. I tend to like the texture of oven-baked falafel with dried chickpeas, but then you have to think ahead and actually remember to soak them. Falafel made with canned chickpeas are still the bomb if you forget to soak. No harm done. You can even experiment a bit and try using other beans, such as lentils in these lentil falafel with beets.
Cumin, cinnamon, garlic, parsley, and cilantro are the spices and herbs traditionally used to flavor falafel. Feel free to experiment if there are others that speak to you. Cooking is all about experimentation, so get creative and flavor away!
What should I eat falafel with?
Falafel is often eaten with a creamy cucumber and garlic sauce called tzatziki. Eat your falafel alone, wrapped in a pita, plopped on top of rice or placed on a salad. Most importantly, in all of these instances, they should be smothered in a whole bunch of tzatziki sauce, because that stuff is good. The Spruce Eats has a great vegan tzatziki sauce that goes great with falafel. If you're avoiding dairy, stay away from tzatziki at restaurants because it is traditionally made with yogurt.
Also, falafel and hummus go great together. No matter what you smother your oven-baked falafel with, you're going to love it! ENJOY!
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Oven Baked Falafel
- 2 cups dried chickpeas picked over and rinsed OR 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 large shallot (about ¼ cup) minced
- 1 cup parsley mostly leaves, some stems ok
- 1 cup cilantro mostly leaves, some stems ok
- 4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Salad greens, pitas, rice or tzatziki, for serving
- If using dried chickpeas, cover the chickpeas with 2 inches of water and soak for 8-24 hours. Drain and rinse.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor add the chickpeas, shallots, parsley, cilantro, garlic, cumin, cinnamon and salt. Process the mixture until smooth, scraping down the bowl if needed. If the mixture seems dry and has a hard time coming together, add water 1 tablespoon at a time, up to ¼ cup.
- Roll the chickpea mixture into 2 tablespoon sized balls and flatten into patties about 1 inch thick. Place on the prepared baking sheet. You will have about 24 falafel. If the mixture is sticking to your hands, wet your hands lightly and this will prevent sticking.
- Use a pastry brush and generously brush both sides of the falafel with the olive oil. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until golden brown on both sides.
- Serve on a bed of rice, on top of a salad or wrapped in a pita. ENJOY!!
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