This Easy Vegan Baked Falafel is oil-free, healthy and incredibly delicious and full of flavor. No oil, not fried and baked for a delicious healthy dinner. Made with only 8 ingredients.
A couple of weeks back, my family and I took a little mini vacation to Austin. We had some out-of-this-world falafel pita sandwiches while there. The flavor was incredible, bold and spicy. The only issue was the ridiculous oil content. They were soooooo greasy, I mean greasy.
Let's talk vegan falafel. I did a bit of research on how traditional falafel is made and using canned chickpeas is a big fat no-no apparently, because it doesn't give the right texture and makes them too wet. Traditionally, you are to use dried beans and soak them overnight, not cook them. Well, of course, you all know me by now, I have to change up classic falafel a little bit and give it my own twist. I didn't have any dried chickpeas and didn't want to fool with soaking anyways, so I had an idea of roasting canned chickpeas to dry them out and give them a flavor boost at the same time, while preventing them from being mushy! I'm thinking this gives a similar effect as the soaking/uncooked tradition.
Another thing I did differently for extra flavor? I roasted the onion and garlic before adding it to the batter! So much flavor in these little gems, I tell ya. Oh, and I also added some hot sauce for a spicy kick.
HOW DO YOU MAKE OIL-FREE VEGAN FALAFEL?
Traditional falafel is also fried in a lot of oil and isn't exactly my cup of tea these days. So, to replace the oil, I used potatoes! That is the magic ingredient I use in so many of my recipes. It helped to make them more moist and hold together better too.
Now, these aren't as moist as the typical fried, grease bombs....obviously. But, who wants that anyways? The texture is a bit different because they are not fried and are totally oil-free falafel, but they so delicious, you won't mind.
Carefully read the instructions as to prepare these falafel correctly. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. You will first drain and rinse your chickpeas. Spread them out evenly on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Roast for 25 minutes. This helps them to give more texture to the falafel instead of just turning into mush like hummus when blended. It also gives a bit more flavor.
In the last ten minutes of roasting the chickpeas, add the chopped onion and garlic cloves (with cloves still in their skins!) to another sheet pan lined with parchment paper and cook them for the remaining 10 minutes. Place the pan on the bottom rack. At this time, you cook your potato. I just cooked a small potato in the microwave (with skin on) and then remove the skin and mash it. Measure a tightly packed 1/2 cup. You can bake the potato if you want, but do not steam or boil as that will make them too moist.
Remove both pans from the oven. Add the chickpeas to a food processor. Process just until there are no more visible whole chickpeas, but do not overprocess it too finely. It should look ground up but kind of chunky with no remaining beans whole
Now, remove the garlic cloves from their skins and tear the garlic up a bit and drop the pieces scattered around the bowl, so they blend up evenly. Add the onion as well. Do not blend up yet. Add the cumin, coriander, tahini, salt, pepper, mashed potato, parsley, water and hot sauce (if using). Sprinkle the spices around the bowl so they blend evenly.
Process until everything comes together and the mixture starts to form large sticky chunks. This may take 10-15 seconds. As soon as it does, stop processing. It should hold together easily when pressed and not be dry/crumbly, but pureed, but still see little chopped bits of onion in it. It should easily form into balls, if not, process just slightly longer until it's sticky and holds together.
Preheat the oven again to 375 degrees and line another pan with parchment paper.
Press, form and shape the mixture into tight balls with your hands. They should be about golf ball size and you should get 10-12. Place them all onto the pan and press them down to about 1/2 inch thick. The edges may slightly crack a bit when pressing them down, just piece back the edges with your fingers.
If you like a really crispy exterior, you can always spray them with a little nonstick spray before baking if you prefer. I did not, but it is up to you. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip them over and cook another 10 minutes. If they are not flipping over easily, cook another couple of minutes until they flip easily. This will make sure they hold their shape. They should have nice golden brown tops. If you want these extra crispy, bake them longer, but just keep in mind they may become more dry.
Hi! I'm Brandi, a wife and mom behind this blog who healed my husband's gout and my digestion issues through a plant-based diet. I'm not complicated, I keep things simple. All my recipes are 8 ingredients or less, not counting salt, pepper or water. They are allergy-friendly, as they are all vegan, oil-free and nearly all are gluten-free. You'll find lots of baked goods here, as I've been a baker all my life, it's my passion!