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Crispy Falafel Close-Up

Crispy Baked Falafel (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

The Pesky Vegan
This crispy baked falafel is golden on the outside, deliciously tender on the inside, and packed full of chickpeas and fragrant fresh herbs.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
+ Chickpea Soak Time 12 hrs
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Gluten-free, Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern, Vegan
Servings 6
Calories 283 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus extra for baking)
  • 300 g dried chickpeas (not tinned), picked over and soaked in water overnight (approx. 1½ cups dried chickpeas)
  • 30 g fresh coriander, coarsely chopped with any large stems removed
  • 30 g fresh parsley, coarsely chopped with any large stems removed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspooons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  • After soaking the dried chickpeas in the fridge overnight, drain these and rinse with fresh water. They will have doubled in size.
  • In a food processor, blend the onion, garlic, and olive oil. If necessary, stop to scrape down the sides during blending.
  • Once the onion and garlic have been blitzed, add the fresh herbs to the food processor along with the ground cumin, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, salt, and pepper. Blend well, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary.
  • Next, add the drained chickpeas in 2-3 batches. Blend the first couple of batches until the mix is fine and crumbly, stopping to scrape down the sides as required. Add the remaining chickpeas to the food processor and blend, leaving some of these in slightly larger chunks. This gives the baked falafel a nice mix of textures.
  • Once blended, the mixture should be crumbly but still slightly wet. If it looks too dry, you can add a little extra olive oil to help bind it together. That being said, the mixture really does come together in the oven when it bakes.
  • Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over a rimmed baking sheet or oven dish and heat in the oven for a minute or two, until it has evenly coated the pan. Shape the falafel mix into small balls or patties and place on the oiled baking sheet. Top tip: use two spoons to 'quenelle' the mixture, passing it repeatedly between the spoons until you have a multi-sided shape (see image in post above). This may take some practice, and a few of the attempts might fall apart, but it's easy once you get the hang of it. (This mix made around 25-30 falafel balls for me. You may need to use two baking sheets or cook the falafel in two batches).
  • Bake for 20 minutes, before removing the pan from the oven and gently turning the falafel over using a spatula. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until crispy and golden brown on the outside.
  • Serve on top of a salad bowl with tahini dressing, or use in wraps or pitta breads along with homemade hummus, salad, pico de gallo, and freshly chopped coriander and parsley.

Notes

Use dried chickpeas: You need to use dried chickpeas for this recipe. Tinned/pre-cooked chickpeas are great for so many other things, but they simply do not work in the same way when it comes to falafel. 
Soak: Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with a few inches of water. Leave in the fridge overnight (anywhere from 8-24 hours), then drain and rinse with fresh water. They will have doubled in size.  
Finger on the pulse: Learn more about How to Cook Dried Chickpeas, or check out this Beginner’s Guide to Pulses. 
Make falafel burgers: If you're not into the whole 'quenelling' thing, you can use this same recipe to make falafel burgers. Simply shape the chickpea mixture into larger patties when placing on the baking sheet.
Fresh herbs: If you don't have both fresh parsley and fresh coriander, simply use double the amount of whichever one you do have. 
Firmer mix: If you have time, you can refrigerate the falafel mix for 30 minutes or so after it's been blended. This will help to firm it up slightly, but it's not essential. 
Don’t over-cook:  If the falafel looks like it's burning or sticking to the baking sheet, turn down the heat slightly and add a little more oil to the pan. 
Serving suggestions: Enjoy this crispy baked falafel in a warm wrap or pitta, or crumbled on top of a salad bowl. Suggestions for sides include roasted cauliflower, Cajun-spiced baked potato wedges, or courgette and carrot salad with peanut dressing.
Storing cooked falafel: Store the baked falafel balls in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to six months. 
Storing falafel mix: If you’ve made the mix ahead of time, you can store this in the fridge for up to three days before cooking. If you want to freeze the mix, I'd recommend shaping into balls/patties before doing so. It's best to first freeze these in place on a baking sheet for an hour, before transferring to a sealed container or resealable bag. Freeze for up to six months.
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* The nutrition info below is for 1 serving of 4-5 falafel balls, based on a total of 6 servings (of around 30 falafel balls).
 

Nutrition

Calories: 283kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 10gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 149mgPotassium: 538mgFiber: 10gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 801IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 80mgIron: 4mg
Nutrition Facts
Crispy Baked Falafel (Vegan + Gluten-Free)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 283 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 149mg6%
Potassium 538mg15%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 10g42%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 801IU16%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 80mg8%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword chickpea recipes, crispy falafel, healthy falafel
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