Authentic Mediterranean Falafels

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When we’re in the mood for something a little different on the dinner table, I often reach for this falafel recipe. It’s a little out of the ordinary in our home and it’s also healthy and can be made completely vegan.

I like to bake this chickpea falafel in the oven for a healthy, crispy version. And I love that you can change things up with how you serve falafel, get creative with the spices and try different sides. Keep reading to find out how to make falafel, different ways to cook it, and how to store it.

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (or 1 cup dried chickpeas)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon (pinch) cayenne pepper
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

If You Can’t Find Dried Chickpeas

Most falafel recipes call for dried chickpeas, which you soak overnight and then use in the recipe. I went to four grocery stores to find dried chickpeas and came up empty-handed. This is where I can share a great tip with you: It is absolutely fine to use canned chickpeas!

Rather than 1 cup of dried chickpeas, use a 14-ounce can that has been drained, rinsed, and then patted dry. Your falafel mixture may be wetter using canned chickpeas, but that’s okay! Just add all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the consistency is like a dough.

Instructions 

Here are all the steps to making perfectly crispy chickpea falafel from scratch. 

Step 1 – Rinse and Dry the Canned Chickpeas

Drain and rinse the canned chickpeas in a mesh strainer. Place on a towel-lined baking sheet and pat completely dry.

If you’re using dried chickpeas, rinse the chickpeas and then add them, along with ½ teaspoon of baking soda, to a large bowl of water. The water should cover the chickpeas by about two inches. 

Soak for at least four hours, but overnight is best. Remove them and let them dry completely on a towel-lined baking sheet.

Step 2 – Make the Falafel Mix

Add the chickpeas to the food processor along with the onion, herbs, spices, garlic, and lemon juice. 

Pulse until everything starts to combine and then mix on high for 30-40 seconds. Scrape the sides and then turn the processor on again while drizzling in the tablespoon of olive oil slowly, making sure the mixture is not too wet. You may not use the entire tablespoon of oil. This is also where you’ll add the flour if needed.

Once everything is evenly combined, turn off the processor. It should take about a minute total.

While you’re preparing the falafel mix, it is a great time to preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). 

Step 3 – Shape the Falafel

Take about 2 tablespoons of the falafel mix and form it into a round patty using your hands. They should be about 2-inches wide and ½ inch thick.

Continue creating the falafel patties and place them on a non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with olive oil if desired.

Step 4 – Cook the Falafel

Place the baking sheet in the 375°F (190°C) oven and bake for 12 minutes. Flip the falafels and bake for another 12 to 15 minutes until each falafel is dark brown on each side. 

Cookware Used

Food Processor: This is the best way to make the falafel mixture. It blends everything smooth to create the perfect patties.

Baking Sheet: To bake falafel, use a large 11×17 baking sheet.

Dutch Oven or Saucepan: If you do decide to fry the falafel in oil, a high-walled dutch oven or saucepan will keep the oil contained for less mess. 

Alternative Ways to Cook Falafel

While I love to bake my falafel in the oven to cut down on the mess, there are other ways to prepare perfectly crispy falafel. 

Frying Falafel in Oil

This is another classic technique. Follow steps 1 to 3 above and then set the falafel aside. 

Rather than turning on the oven, you’ll get a large saucepan or dutch oven heating up on medium-high heat. 

Add at least 3 inches of oil to your pan and heat to about 350 degrees. If you drop in a piece of your falafel batter, it will sizzle immediately, but not burn. 

Add your falafel in batches to the hot oil, careful not to crowd the pan and lower the oil temperature. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on one side, just until golden. Flip and cook the other side for another 2 minutes. 

Falafel in the Air Fryer

To make this flavorful falafel in an air fryer, follow steps 1-3 above. 

Set your air fryer to 375 and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. You can also give your falafel patties a little spray of cooking oil as well. Cook for 10 minutes in the air fryer and then give them a flip. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until crispy. 

Make-Ahead Falafel and Freezing Directions

One of my favorite things about falafel is that you can easily make it ahead of time! Just follow steps 1 to 3 and form the falafel mixture into patties. Transfer the patties into an air-tight container or zip-top bag, keeping them in a flat layer, and store them in the fridge for 2-3 days.

You can also freeze the pre-made patties for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to make the falafel, thaw it in the fridge overnight and then follow the cooking instructions above in step 4. 

You can also cook falafel and then freeze it the same way. Reheat in the oven when you’re ready to munch!

Now, It’s Your Turn!

Whether you decide to bake or fry, this falafel will turn out perfectly every time, even with canned chickpeas! Serve them with your favorite sides and drizzle them with your favorite sauce. 

If using dried chickpeas, be sure to soak the chickpeas for at least four hours before making this recipe and refrigerate the mixture for at least 15 minutes before baking (or frying). The end result is a flavorful, perfectly spiced falafel patty that our whole family loves.

Print

Authentic Mediterranean Falafels

Falafels are one of the most popular dishes of the mediterranean cuisine. This lovely and healthy recipe is easy, quick snack or side dish to prepare.

 

  • Author: Beatriz Garcia
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 patties
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (or 1 cup dried chickpeas)

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ cup diced yellow onion

  • ½ cup fresh parsley

  • ½ cup fresh cilantro

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon coriander

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder

  • ⅛ teaspoon (pinch) cayenne pepper

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

Rinse and Dry the Canned Chickpeas

Drain and rinse the canned chickpeas in a mesh strainer. 

If you’re using dried chickpeas, rinse the chickpeas and then add them, along with ½ teaspoon of baking soda, to a large bowl of water. 

Soak for at least four hours. Remove and dry completely on a towel-lined baking sheet.

Make the Falafel Mix

Add the chickpeas to the food processor along with the onion, herbs, spices, garlic, and lemon juice. 

Pulse until everything starts to combine and then mix on high for 30-40 seconds. Scrape the sides and then turn the processor on again while drizzling in the tablespoon of olive oil slowly, making sure the mixture is not too wet. This is also where you’ll add the flour if needed.

Once everything is evenly combined, turn off the processor. It should take about a minute total.

While you’re preparing the falafel mix, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). 

Shape the Falafel

Take about 2 tablespoons of the falafel mix and form it into a round patty using your hands. 

Continue creating the falafel patties and place them on a non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheet. 

Cook the Falafel

Place the baking sheet in the 375°F (190°C) oven and bake for 12 minutes. Flip the falafels and bake for another 12 to 15 minutes until brown

Tried this Recipe?

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