This baked vegan falafel is quick, flavorful, and comes with a creamy dill dressing that you will want to drown all your meals in! These falafel are moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, gluten free, and the perfect recipe for meal prep.
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I have made more falafel recipes in the past couple of years than I care to count. I like to think of myself as a falafel expert at this point.
In the past, I almost always used canned chickpeas to make falafel, but found that no matter how much flour I used, how many skins I peeled off, or how long I baked them for, they were always mushy. Who wants mushy falafel?! Not I.
The ideal baked falafel is crispy on the outside, and should be soft in the middle while still retaining it’s texture. Perfect falafel is hard to come by, but this is it.
Falafel can actually be made of several things! Traditional, falafel is a deep fried ball made from ground chickpeas, or sometimes fava beans.
It’s usually flavored with onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, and other herbs and spices.
These vegan baked falafel have the flavor of traditional falafel, but with a few key tweaks to make them a bit healthier and super easy to make.
The key with this recipe is that we are using dry chickpeas, not canned! Instead of cooking them, we’ll just be soaking them.
In addition to chickpeas, this falafel recipe calls for yellow onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, spices like paprika and cumin, and some tahini and olive oil to give them a perfect texture.
The olive oil helps the outside get crispy and the inside stay soft, but if you follow an oil free diet, you can eliminate the oil with no problem.
How to make this recipe
This recipe calls for dry chickpeas, not chickpeas from a can. But, you don’t need to cook them, so this is not a time consuming recipe!
The chickpeas just need to be soaked overnight, so leave them in a big bowl covered with water before you go to bed and your good to go.
The chickpeas will at least double in size as they soak, so be sure to use a large bowl and completely submerge them in water.
Then, when you’re ready to make the falafel, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chop the onion into large chunks and add to a food processor with the garlic. You can leave the garlic whole, but make sure it is peeled.
Pulse a few times until they are broken up into small pieces, but not completely mushy. Add in the chickpeas and pulse a few times until broken up (see photo 2 above)
Add in all remaining ingredients except for the flour and process until everything is well mixed and the mixture turns green. You don’t want to overprocess, but you also don’t want large chunks of anything.
Once all of the herbs and chickpeas are well mixed in and no visible chunks remain, stop processing.
Pulse in the chickpea flour until well combined. Start with 1/4 cup and only add more if necessary.
How much you need will depend on exactly how long the chickpeas had to soak for. You don’t want the mixture to get too dry! It should be pretty moist, but easy enough to work with.
Bake for 20 minutes, flip, then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
To make the dressing, simply add all ingredients to a blender and process until completely smooth (about 30 seconds). Serve the falafel with hummus, pita, a salad, the dressing, etc!
Do they keep?
Once baked, this vegan falafel recipe will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days. They will start to dry out a bit as time goes on, which is why I love paring them with hemp and dill dressing to keep them nice and moist.
And yes, you CAN freeze falafel! This recipe makes 20-24 falafel so you can double the recipe, or freeze half the batch for later.
They will keep in the freezer for about 2 months. Just make sure they are in an air tight container and let them thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Do you eat them hot or cold?
These can be eaten warm or cold, but are more traditionally eaten warm. If heating them up, you can add them to the microwave, lightly fry them on the stove, or back in the oven at 200 for about 5 minutes, just until the center is warm.
Tips and tricks
- This vegan falafel recipe calls for chickpea flour, but I have tried it with brown rice flour, which also works well. I imagine you can also sub for whole wheat flour, or any other neutral tasting flour with no problem.
- If you have a convection oven, I suggest using the convection setting at 400 degrees. In this case, bake for 15 minutes, flip and then check again at 10 minutes. With convection, they cook more evenly and in total will probably need around 25-30 minutes of baking.
- Once prepared, these will store in the fridge for 5-7 days. Let them cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.
- Most falafels are deep fried in oil, which tastes delicious, but is not super healthy. These vegan baked falafel require no deep frying, though you can lightly pan fry them in a splash of oil to get the outside super crispy after they are baked.
Try these next!
Vegan Baked Falafel (Gluten Free)
- 8 ounces dry chickpeas (soaked (see notes) (note: it is 8 ounces by weight, not volume, which is 1/2 a traditional 16 ounce bag))
- 1/2 large or 1 small yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 bunch cilantro
- 1/3 bunch parsley
- 2-3 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup chickpea flour (see notes)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Optional: 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Soak your chickpeas overnight or for at least 8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Chop the onion into large chunks and add to a food processor with the garlic.
- Pulse a few times until they are broken up into small pieces, but not completely mushy.
- Add in the chickpeas and pulse a few times until broken up.
- Add in all remaining ingredients except for the flour and process until everything is well mixed and the mixture turns green.
- Pulse in the chickpea flour until well combined. Start with 1/4 cup and only add more if the mixture is too wet. You don’t want the mixture to get too dry! It should be pretty moist, but easy enough to work with.
- Bake for 20 minutes, flip, then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- To make the dressing, simply add all ingredients to a blender and process until completely smooth (about 30 seconds).
- Serve the falafel with hummus, pita, a salad, the dressing, etc!