Baked Falafel

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Herb-packed and chickpea-filled Baked Falafel overflows with nutritious ingredients, tons of flavor, and baked in an irresistible herbed olive oil blend.

We love falafel! Eat them plain, serve them in a falafel bowl, in a pita sandwich, or on top of a salad; the possibilities are endless!

 

Overhead image of Falafel in a bowl with pita bread, tzatziki sauce, olives, onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

What is Falafel? 

Traditionally, falafel is a fried patty made from blended chickpeas, herbs, and seasonings. You can eat them plain or served in myriad ways (more on this below). Tradition says these delicious patties originated in Egypt as a meat replacement during long seasons of fasting or lent. Today, they’re popular in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. And, over the years, falafel has become one of the most popular foods worldwide.

These delicious vegetarian patties are one of my favorite menu items to order and I love making (and meal prepping) them.

Process shots of the chickpeas being prepped and soaking overnight before being used.

Baked (not fried) Falafel

High in nutrients, a great source of protein and fiber, naturally vegetarian, and loads of health benefits–what’s not to love? However, falafel are typically fried in oil, which detracts from the healthy benefits. Don’t get me wrong, I love fried food as much as the next person, but with something so naturally nutritious, I wanted to keep it that way as much as possible.
 
So, I set out to create a slightly healthier baked version of falafel that tastes just as good as the fried versions. The secret to achieving this? Baking the falafel in a mixture of olive oil, the liquid surrounding pepperoncini (the real MVP in this recipe), and a few dried herbs. Truly, I like these even better than the fried counterpart!
 
Process shot-- image of the falafel being made by adding all the ingredients into a food processor.

What’s in falafel?

  • Dried chickpeas: For best flavor and results, we use dried chickpeas (AKA garbanzo beans) that have been soaked overnight until tender. Not only are dried chickpeas much more economical, they’re also important to get the right consistency and taste.
    • Tip: Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to the soaking water to help soften the chickpeas.
    • If the chickpeas aren’t softened enough, the falafel will end up with tough pieces of chickpea, creating an overall unpleasant texture.
  • Herbs: I like a blend of flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, and green onions — 1 cup of each. Mix and match herbs to personal preference; you can also add in dill.
  • Garlic: We like lots of garlic, so feel free to reduce (or even increase) the amount in this recipe.
  • Seasonings: Again, adjust the seasonings to personal preference. I like cumin, coriander, paprika, salt, and pepper best. If you’d like a little bit of heat, add in some cayenne pepper (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon).
  • Baking powder: It seems like a strange ingredient, but this baking agent gives falafel a more fluffy and airy texture.
  • Flour, oil, and vegetable broth: These all contribute to consistency and flavor, but feel free to swap out the vegetable broth for chicken broth (no longer a vegetarian meal) or even water. Whole wheat flour or chickpea flour can be used in place of the white all-purpose flour.

QUICK TIP

Canned chickpeas won’t work in this recipe! They’re too wet and won’t form into workable patties.

Image of all the ingredients in the food processor, blended up and ready to be baked.

Baking the falafel

This is the part of the recipe I get the most excited about! I’ve always felt that baked falafel was missing something, so when I read in a restaurant menu that they fried their falafels in pepperoncini liquid and dried herbs, I knew I had to try it.

So instead of frying the falafel in the liquid, I tried baking them in it, and it made a huge difference! Not only does it infuse the falafel with an incredible slightly tangy flavor, it also contributes to browning, giving them a great golden brown and crispy “crust” similar to what you’d get from frying.

Here’s what we bake the falafel in:

  • Olive oil
  • The liquid surrounding jarred Pepperoncinis
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried oregano
  • Pepper

Process shots-- images of the herbed oil you dip the falafel in before baking; falafel mixture packed into a measuring cup for consistent sizing; falafel being placed on a tray and baked.

How to serve Baked Falafel

There are countless delicious ways to serve Baked Falafel.  Some of our favorite ways to serve them:

  • In a bowl: Start with a base of cooked couscous, rice, veggies, or a salad. Then, add the falafel and bowl toppings like chopped cherry tomatoes, chopped Persian cucumbers, halved Kalamata olives, thinly sliced red onions, feta cheese, and toasted pita bread. Add sauces such as hummus, tzatziki, baba ganoush, or tahini. This is our favorite way to serve falafel!
  • In a wrap: Fill a large pita or tortilla with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, veggies, feta cheese, and a sauce (I’d suggest hummus and/or tzatziki.
  • In a salad: We love this Greek salad with Baked Falafel added in.
  • As an appetizer: Serve Baked Falafel with a bunch of different sauces for dipping! Use sauces such as hummus, tzatziki, baba ganoush, or tahini sauce.

QUICK TIP

Are you familiar with the sauces we mention? Tzatziki is made with yogurt, cucumber and lemon;  tahini is like peanut butter, only made with toasted sesame seeds instead of peanuts; and baba ganoush is made with eggplant, tahini and sesame seeds.

Up-close image of Baked Falafel in a bowl, ready to be eaten.

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Baked Falafel

0 from 0 votes
Herb-packed and chickpea-filled Baked Falafel is loaded with nutritious ingredients, tons of flavor, and baked in an irresistible herbed olive oil blend.
Print Recipe

Baked Falafel

0 from 0 votes
Herb-packed and chickpea-filled Baked Falafel is loaded with nutritious ingredients, tons of flavor, and baked in an irresistible herbed olive oil blend.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Salad, Vegetarian
Cuisine Healthy, Mediterranean, Moroccan, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword falafel
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 20 -22 falafels
Calories 43kcal
Cost $4.12

Ingredients

Falafels

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (8 oz; 234g) dried chickpeas (don't use canned chickpeas)
  • 1 cup (28g) coarsely chopped Italian flat-leaf Parsley
  • 1 cup (26g) coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup (91g) thinly sliced green onions (only the white and light green parts)
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (we like 6 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: sweet paprika, freshly cracked pepper, ground coriander seed, baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon white all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth (or water)

On the tray

  • 1/4 cup (55g) liquid surrounding pepperoncinis
  • 1/4 cup (47g0 olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • See Note 1 for serving suggestions

Instructions

  • SOAK CHICKPEAS OVERNIGHT: Place chickpeas in a large bowl (they will expand a lot) and add lots of cold water. Leave out to soak overnight (8-12 hours) or until tender. They can soak for longer (2 days)--just keep them covered in the fridge for longer periods of time.
  • FALAFEL: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Drain chickpeas well and add to a large food processor. Add in the loosely packed and coarsely chopped parsley, cilantro, and thinly sliced green onions. Add in the chopped garlic cloves, cumin, paprika, pepper, coriander, baking powder, salt, flour, olive oil, and broth (or water). Pulse/blend for 3-5 minutes on high speed, scraping down the sides as needed. Blend until the chickpeas are broken down and herbs are well incorporated (see picture in post).
  • PREP THE TRAY: Set out a large sheet pan. In a small bowl stir together the 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup pepperoncini liquid, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper. Whisk and then pour on the sheet pan. Tip the tray until the mixture coats the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  • FORM PATTIES: Using a 1/8th measuring cup (2 tablespoons), scoop the dough and shape into discs about 1/2-inch thick and 2 inches wide. If the mixture is too hard to work with, refrigerate it for 20-30 minutes. Place the patties on the oiled tray. You should get about 20-22 falafel patties.
  • BAKE: Bake for 25-30 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the pan and turn all the patties to the other side (using a metal spatula). Patties should be golden brown on both sides.
  • SERVE: Serve fresh out of the oven with sauce of choice. Make falafel wraps or bowls. (See Note 1)
  • STORAGE: Baked Falafel stores well in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for 3 months.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: There are lots of ways to enjoy Baked Falafel! Our favorite is in a falafel bowl with red pepper hummus and tzatziki sauce (my favorite tzatziki sauce is in this Greek chicken recipe and pictured in these pictures).
  • In a falafel bowl: Start with a base of cooked couscous, rice, veggies, or a salad. Add the Baked Falafel patties and any other toppings such as chopped cherry tomatoes, chopped Persian cucumbers, halved Kalamata olives, thinly sliced red onions, feta cheese, and toasted pita bread. Add sauces such as hummus, tzatziki, baba ganoush, or tahini sauce.
  • In a wrap: Fill a large pita or tortilla with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, veggies, feta cheese, and a sauce (I suggest hummus and/or tzatiziki).
  • In a salad: We love this Greek salad with a few falafel patties added in.
  • As an appetizer: Serve falafel with a variety of different sauces to dip in! Use sauces such as hummus, tzatziki, baba ganoush, or tahini sauce

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 22falafels | Calories: 43kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.5g | Protein: 0.8g | Fat: 3.5g | Sodium: 46.3mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 0.2g

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