This vegan baked falafel recipe is easy to make and creates flavorful, soft and wholesome patties. Serve with creamy tahini sauce and ultra-fresh tabbouleh salad for the ultimate meal.
This is my take on an easy baked falafel recipe using canned chickpeas. Traditional falafel is made with dry chickpeas and is fried; so while not traditional, this recipe is delicious and more nutritionally balanced.
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Is Falafel Vegan?
Falafel is made from ground chickpeas along with spices, fresh herbs and other flavoring ingredients. Traditional falafel recipes are almost always vegan as they do not contain dairy, egg or other animal products.
When buying falafel from a restaurant, it’s always helpful to ask whether their recipe is vegan. If it’s important to you, ask what else they cook in the same oil/ fryer to avoid cross-contamination.
Vegan Falafel Ingredients
There are many ways to make falafel that are more traditional, but this way works for me. The ingredients below have some flexibility and you can customize the herbs and spices to meet your tastes.
- Chickpeas: The base of falafel is commonly chickpeas, although other types of beans are sometimes used. Traditionally, falafel is made from dry chickpeas, but I use canned (or pre-cooked) chickpeas in this recipe. This creates a soft falafel patty that can be crumbly sometimes - but not dry.
- Parsley: For lots of fresh flavor, you’ll need a good amount of parsley. Mixing in other herbs like cilantro can offer additional flavor and variety. You can also add fresh dill mixed with parsley and/or cilantro.
- Onion and garlic: These tasty aromatic ingredients add plenty of flavor to the falafel.
- Ground flaxseed: Since this recipe uses canned chickpeas, some ground flaxseed helps hold the falafel together. You could use ground chia seeds instead of flaxseed.
- Olive oil: Olive oil adds richness and moisture to this recipe and ensures the falafel don’t dry out in your oven.
- Almond flour: Some almond flour helps bulk up the falafel dough, adding a slightly nutty flavor. You could also use chickpea flour, but the almond flour adds a nice flavor.
- Lemon zest and juice: For lots of refreshing flavor and some acidity, fresh lemon zest and juice are the perfect addition to falafel.
- Baking powder: A touch of baking powder keeps the falafel patties light and soft. This is optional to use.
- Coriander and cumin: Ground coriander and cumin seeds are a fantastic pairing of spices that add depth of flavor to falafel. I would say these are the quintessential falafel spices to get the best flavor.
- Salt and pepper: Enhance the other flavors by adding salt and black pepper to taste.
If you want a fun variation of falafel, check out my recipe for edamame falafel that features cilantro and lime instead of parsley and lemon! It’s a delicious alternative for a super green falafel.
How to Make Baked Falafel
Step 1: Prepare Ingredients
Even though the ingredients all go into a food processor, I like to pre-chop some onion, garlic and parsley.
This extra step helps make sure these falafel ingredients are finely chopped and blended throughout. Since you don’t want to over-blend the falafel mixture, it’s very helpful to start by mincing the garlic and chopping the onion and parsley. This way you don’t risk over-blending while waiting for these ingredients to chop down.
The other prep you’ll need is to drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, then zest and juice a lemon.
Step 2: Make Falafel
When you’ve finished preparing the ingredients, add all of them to your food processor.
Pulse a few times to chop the chickpeas and blend everything together. Scrape down the edges of your food processor a couple times as you go.
Stop blending when the chickpeas look minced, maybe with a few large pieces throughout.
Remove the blade from your food processor and stir the falafel mixture together. The bottom portion of mixture in the food processor is almost always more blended than the top, so mix everything evenly.
Prepare a baking tray by lining it with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper (for easy cleanup).
Then, shape your falafel dough into 8 large patties. You can make smaller patties to serve in a pita bread wrap (but adjust the cook time - see note below).
To shape the falafel, use a ¼ cup measuring cup to scoop the mixture, then shake it out onto your hand. Place the falafel onto your baking tray and press down into a circular patty that’s about ¾ inch (2 centimeters) thick.
Repeat until all the falafel batter is formed into patties.
Step 3: Bake Falafel
Before baking, brush olive oil onto both sides of the falafel patties. I use a silicone pastry brush to spread a small amount of olive oil evenly over the surface of the falafel. Carefully flip them over to coat the other side.
Bake in an oven preheated to 350 °F for 25-30 minutes, until the falafel is lightly browned on both sides. The falafel doesn’t brown very much so don’t wait for a golden color.
Once cooked, remove from your oven and let sit on the baking tray for 5-10 minutes before handling. Falafel is very soft, especially when hot.
If you plan to store some falafel for later, transfer the falafel to a wire cooling rack and cool to room temperature.
How to Create a Balanced Vegan Meal
This falafel recipe has plant-based protein and healthy carbohydrates from the chickpeas. Chickpeas also contain lots of fiber and other vitamins and minerals.
The olive oil in this recipe offers some healthy fats, making the recipe more satiating, satisfying and delicious.
Pairing it with a side of tabbouleh salad can help boost the vegetable content of your meal. You could also serve with chopped veggies in a pita bread wrap (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, onion, etc.).
This is a lighter recipe which is why it pairs so perfectly with a creamy tahini sauce. Tahini adds extra healthy fats, fiber, protein and nutrition to the meal and makes for a richer, yet still refreshing lunch or dinner!
How to Store Leftovers
Cool any leftover falafel to room temperature before transferring into an airtight container. The falafel should last if refrigerated for up to 5 days.
To reheat the falafel, use a microwave, oven or air fryer. For the oven or air fryer, place falafel onto a baking tray and heat at 350 °F until warmed through.
I haven’t tried freezing this recipe but don’t recommend it. Chickpeas typically become watery after freezing/ thawing which could lead to watery falafel patties.
Vegan Baked Falafel
- Silicone baking mat (or parchment paper)
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- 2 cups chickpeas (19 oz/ 540 mL can drained and rinsed, 375 g)
- ¾ cup parsley (25 g)
- ⅓ cup onion (55 g)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (15 g)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (30 mL)
- 2 tablespoons almond flour (15 g)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (15 mL, about ½ large lemon)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (about ½ large lemon)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil, to brush on top)
Step 1: Prepare Ingredients
- Chop the onion and mince some garlic. It’s best to pre-chop these ingredients (even with a food processor) so they evenly mix into the falafel.⅓ cup onion, 3 cloves garlic
- Wash your parsley. I like to remove large stems from the parsley.¾ cup parsley
- Zest then juice a lemon; you’ll need about ½ a large lemon.1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Step 2: Make Falafel
- Add all the ingredients to food processor. Pulse the mixture until it’s combined but still has some small pieces throughout; don’t over-blend into a smooth paste.2 cups chickpeas, ¾ cup parsley, ⅓ cup onion, 3 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed, 2 tablespoons almond flour, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, ½ teaspoon baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Scrape the edges of the food processor a few times as you go.
- Remove the food processor blade and stir to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
- Line your baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper for easy clean up.
- Form 8 patties that use about ¼ cup of mixture each; I use measuring cup to easily shape each patty.*
- Gently flatten the patties onto your baking tray.
Step 3: Bake Falafel
- Before baking, brush extra olive oil (or vegetable oil) onto both sides of the falafel. You’ll need about 2 tablespoons of oil.2 tablespoons olive oil
- Place the falafel into an oven that is preheated to 350 °F. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the falafel is lightly browned on both sides.
- Depending on your oven, you may need to flip the falafel halfway through baking; do this carefully as the falafel will be very soft.
- When the falafel is cooked, remove from your oven and cool for 5-10 minutes before handling. They are quite soft and firm up once cooled (but remain delicate).
- If you don’t plan to eat the falafel right away, transfer to a wire cooling rack so the bottoms of the falafel don’t become soggy.
- Serve with other tasty foods, including creamy tahini sauce and fresh tabbouleh salad.1 batch tahini sauce, 1 batch tabbouleh salad
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a long-time vegan with a Masters of Science in Food and Nutrition.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes.