This baked gluten free 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, vegan, and the perfect recipe for meal prep.
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.
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.
Traditionally, 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.
CHICKPEAS. Instead of caned chickpeas, we’ll be using dried chickpeas which we’ll soak overnight to soften them. You won’t need to cook them, which will ensure the center of the falafel is soft, but not mushy.
ONION. Onion and garlic will add a lot of flavor. I like using white or yellow onion, but you can also use red if that’s all you have.
CHICKPEA FLOUR. Chickpea flour will help bind all of the ingredients together, and absorb some of the excess moisture. You can sub for oat flour if you prefer.
TAHINI. A bit of tahini and olive oil will add some healthy fats to this gluten free falafel so they have a nice moist texture.
SPICES. Spices like paprika and cumin add lots of flavor to the recipe. You can also add some cayenne pepper for a bit of spice!
HERBS. Fresh cilantro and parsley add so much flavor to this recipe and give it a nice green color.
How to make gluten free falafel
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 over process, 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.
Use a spoon or use your hands (I like using the smallest of these cookie scoops) to roll into 1-2 inch balls. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. 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!
How to store
Once prepared, these will store in the fridge for 5-7 days. Let them cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.
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.
Should I serve it 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 300 for about 5 minutes, just until the center is warm.
Is falafel fried?
Most falafels are deep fried in oil, which tastes delicious, but is not super healthy. These gluten free 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.
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.
Air fryer instructions
You can also cook this in your air fryer! You’ll want to follow all of the same instructions as normal, but preheat your air fryer to 400, then air fry for about 15-18 minutes or until crispy.
Make sure to do small batches so there’s only one even layer in the air fryer so they can cook properly.
Try these chickpea recipes next!
Vegan Gluten Free Falafel
by: claire cary
- 8 ounces dry chickpeas soaked (see notes)
- ½ large or 1 small yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- ⅓ bunch cilantro
- ⅓ bunch parsley
- 2-3 tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ – ⅓ cup chickpea flour see notes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Optional: 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Cover your chickpeas and soak 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!