This classic falafel is naturally vegan, gluten free, and allergy free! Made with chickpeas and fresh herbs and spices this falafel is packed with flavor and protein. Simple to make and freezer friendly!
There are as many falafel recipes and variations as there are stars in the sky. Okay, maybe not that many, but it does feel like it from time to time! This recipe is one that I made after altering my previous favorite recipe to be free from allergies, vegan, and gluten free.
If you’ve never had a falafel before, they are a delicious mix of chickpeas and herbs that can be fried or baked and come from Middle Eastern cooking. They are great in wraps, on top of salads, or eaten dipped in yogurt sauce or hummus!
Free From: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, celery, corn, sesame, mustard, lupin, sulfites, and more
Only a few simple ingredients go into making these falafel, so try to make sure you have the freshest possible.
Chickpeas – You can use dry and soaked chickpeas or canned chickpeas in this recipe. I know, some people have strong opinions on this! But I’m a realist and I know I don’t always remember to soak my beans. If you use canned chickpeas, drain them, rinse them, and use a little extra flour to bring this together.
Onion – Red or sweet onions are delicious in this!
Garlic – Is there such a thing as too much garlic? Not in my kitchen. The recipe calls for 4 cloves, but to be real, I normally add like 6 or 7.
Parsley – This is what makes the falafel green! Parsley brings such freshness to this dish, you HAVE to use fresh only. Sorry, dried won’t cut it. If you like the taste of cilantro, try mixing half cilantro in here as well.
Lemon Juice – Helps to brighten this dish up!
Cumin, Cardamom, Salt, Pepper – These spices are often used in Middle Eastern cooking and the cumin in particular is what gives the falafel their distinct flavor.
Gluten Free Flour – Use your favorite blend to help bind them together.
Baking Powder – A secret ingredient to help them rise.
Oil for Frying – No matter if you are frying in a pan or baking in the oven, you want to make sure that you have a neutral flavored oil to help them cook.
Mix up your greens! Try a combo of parsley and cilantro, spinach, arugula, or even kale!
Swap out the flours! In place of a gluten free flour blend, try using chickpea flour or oat flour.
How to Make Falafel
- Prep your ingredients. Drain and rinse your chickpeas. Pat them dry and set aside. Wash your parsley (and/or other greens you are using). Grab your food processor.
- Add all ingredients to the food processor. Pulse the food together a few times (I typically do 10 pusles). The final mixture should be tacky not sticky and hold a shape.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This lets the flavors combine together.
- Shape your falafel! Using your hands, make tiny balls or patties. Make them consistent in size. If you want, you can also shape into burger sized patties and make a falafel burger!
How to Cook – 3 Different Ways!
How to Deep Fry – The traditional method of making falafel. Heat your oil to about 350F. Drop them into the oil and let cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown on the outside. Remove from the oil and let drain onto a plate with a paper towel.
How to Pan Fry– My favorite method of making! Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a flat bottom pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Gently place them into the pan and let cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until a golden brown color is achieved. Remove from the pan and let drain onto a plate lined with a paper towel.
How to Bake – Preheat your oven to 425F. Brush a baking sheet with oil and place them onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping the falafel halfway through baking. You can bake these on parchment paper and avoid using any oil at all. Just note that they will be less crispy and not achieve the same golden brown color if baked on parchment paper with no oil.
Falafel are best served right away while they are still warm and crispy. Serve them on top of a salad, in a wrap, with dipping sauce, or eaten plain!
To store falafel, pop them in an airtight container and keep them fresh in the fridge for 3 days. You can freeze falafel after cooking and they have cooled to room temperature. Pop them into a freezer bag or container and they will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. To warm them after being frozen, place them in the microwave and cook for 30-60 seconds, depending on your microwave and how large you made your falafel.
Want more easy recipes? Check out these for inspiration!
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 cups fresh greens (parsley, cilantro, arugula, spinach, kale, etc.)
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp cardamon
- ½ cup gluten free flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Add all ingredients to a food processor. Lightly pulse ingredients together until a tacky dough is formed. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once. Transfer to a bowl, cover and let chill for 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and shape into tablespoon sized falafel balls. Roll them between your hands and gently press for small patties. Set aside.
- If deep frying falafel: Heat your oil to about 350F. Drop your falafel into the oil and let cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown on the outside. Remove from the oil and let drain onto a plate with a paper towel.
- If pan frying falafel: Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a flat bottom pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Gently place the falafel into the pan and let cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until a golden brown color is achieved. Remove from the pan and let drain onto a plate lined with a paper towel.
- If baking falafel: Preheat your oven to 425F. Brush a baking sheet with oil and place the falafel onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping the falafel halfway through baking. You can bake these on parchment paper and avoid using any oil at all. Just note that they will be less crispy and not achieve the same golden brown color if baked on parchment paper with no oil.
- Serve right away while warm and crispy or store in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.