Gluten-Free Oil-Free Baked Falafel

Gluten-Free Oil-Free Baked Falafel

A couple of weeks back, my family and I took a little mini vacation to Austin. We had some really yummy food. Well, there were a couple of meals I had there that were so delicious, that I was determined to recreate healthier,  homemade versions. This recipe is one of those. 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.

Sooooooo, I set out to create a Gluten-Free Oil-Free Baked Falafel.

Let's talk 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! 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.

It worked awesome. Traditional falafel is also fried in a lot of oil and isn't exactly my cup of tea these days. Not only do I not like the taste of all that oil, but I don't want that in my body. Well, it's pretty obvious that chickpeas become extremely dry when cooked, hence the need for oil. I even tried making a version by just leaving out the oil and hoping they would be ok, but they were just too dry. I nailed down the awesome flavor, but they need a bit better texture. So, what is my favorite food that I use in soooo many recipes?? Come on......potatoes! That is the magic ingredient I use in so many of my recipes. So, when the first trial didn't satisfy me, I decided to add some cooked mashed potato to the batter and 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 are damn delicious, sooo full of flavor and taste flipping amazing in a pita with tomato, extra parsley, avocado and my creamy lemon pepper sauce! I got lots of "delicious" and "yummy" from the family on these.

I served these with a creamy sauce anyways, so that helps negate any lack of oil. I know traditionally falafel is served with a tahini sauce, but I just didn't want that and I had a feeling my Creamy Lemon Pepper Sauce would be a great addition and I was right. I served that sauce with my super popular Vegan Oil-free Baked Corn Zucchini Fritters and it is soooo good! The tartness and creaminess pairs so well with the falafel. So darn good.

Load these up and serve them any way you like. I chose traditional pitas, but next time I'm doing mini burgers or inside tortillas. I find pita bread to be a bit too dry for my tastebuds.

As usual, this recipe for these baked falafel requires just 8 ingredients (plus s/p & water) and if you want, throw in the optional hot sauce if you like extra heat, but it's totally optional!

I can't wait to hear what you think of these flavor-loaded Gluten-free Oil-free Baked Falafel! Drop me a line below please after you make them! I'd also love to see your pic of it on Instagram. Tag me using my hashtag #thevegan8 so I don't miss it!

YUM.

Gluten-Free Oil-Free Baked Falafel

Yields 10-12

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 15 oz cans low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 4 extra large garlic cloves, with skins still on (for roasting)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons smooth tahini
  • salt and pepper (Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper)
  • 1/2 cup cooked, mashed and tightly packed gold or red potato
  • 3/4 cup packed flat leaf parsley (I just tore off a bunch of leaves and pressed them down in cup)
  • 2 tablespoons water (use 3 if not using the optional hot sauce)
  • Optional for a kick of heat: 2 tablespoons hot sauce (so good!) (If you don't want to use hot sauce, then increase the black pepper to 1/2 teaspoon and add 1 additional tablespoon water)
  • To Serve
  • Recommended: Creamy Lemon Pepper Sauce
  • chopped tomatoes
  • avocado

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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. Once there is 10 minutes left of roasting the chickpeas, add the onion and garlic to the oven to cook/soften them for 10 minutes. Just place the pan on the bottom rack. At this time, you also want to cook your potato. I just cooked a small potato in the microwave (with skin on) and mashed it and then measured 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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. You are going to add all of the remaining ingredients now BEFORE blending anything. This is to avoid over-processing it and the mixture becoming too smooth, so you are only processing it one time. When adding the spices, sprinkle them around the bowl so they will blend up evenly. Add the cumin, coriander, tahini, salt, pepper, mashed potato, parsley, water and hot sauce (if using).
  5. Now that you have added all of the remaining ingredients, process until everything comes together and the mixture starts to form large 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.
  6. Preheat the oven again to 375 degrees and line another pan with parchment paper.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Serve with Creamy Lemon Pepper Sauce , chopped tomatoes, parsley and avocado or anything you desire.
7.6.2
1811

74 Comments

  1. Your Falafel look scrummy - I have just made some Falafel this morning using Rose Elliot's complete vegetarian book, she also advocates using dried and soak chickpeas - I buy my chickpeas dried, soak and cook them then freeze them in can size portions, these are what I used today and they taste every bit as scrummy as non cooked ones - I will give your roast ones a try very soon as they look so yummy - thank you for sharing the recipe :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      You are so sweet Lorna! Thank you! I'm not familiar with that book but I will check it out! There are so many variations of falafel around and my method is quite different and I suited the spices to my taste and we just died over them!! Especially with all the sauce and fixins' inside the pita. It was just an amazing meal!
  2. I love falafel, but I'm terrified of deep frying. Something about a huge pot of boiling oil makes me nervous. ;) Thanks for posting this baked option! And I'm headed over to your lemon pepper sauce recipe right now--I love anything lemon pepper!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yeah, um NO on deep frying, lol! GROSS. Not to mention, terribly unhealthy. These are soooo full of flavor and actually good for us! Thank you Nichole!
  3. These look incredible! I love homemade falafel.
  4. I love falafel! Have never tried to make it at home yet, but it's on my list of to-do's. This healthy version sounds great!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      It is my first time doing it myself and I'm in love and since I made mine a bit different than the typical way, I love it even more! It has sooo much more flavor than other ones I've tried!
  5. Falafel looks yummy! What is the nutritional information for this recipe? Thanks for sharing!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Nancy! I will have the nutrition up soon, I just wanted to get the recipe up for you all!
      • where can i find the nutritional info for this recipe? sounds delicious
        • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
          Hi Jade! I don't have the nutritional info on this one, but there are many online calorie counters. You can try caloriecount.com under "Tools" "Recipe analyzer. I'll try to get it added this week if I get a chance.
  6. I'm not a fan of falafel because it's so greasy. This is a great recipe Brandi, one I'm sure to try.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thanks Linda! Yeah-I don't do oil anymore so I'm super sensitive in it in recipes, but I can withstand a bit of it if I'm out somewhere eating, but the ones we had in Austin were just straight up GREASY! The flavor and spices were so incredible though, that it inspired me to create my own and boy am I glad I did. These are incredible!
  7. What a delish looking falafel, Brandi! And love the fact they are oil free! AWESOMELICIOUS!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Anu!! They turned out sooo good!
  8. The oil is exactly why I avoid falafel in restaurants even though I love the flavor and they're often the only vegan item available. These look like everything falafel should be - messy, spicy, flavorful.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thanks Annie! Definitely spicy and flavorful!
  9. Oh Brandi, I'm in love with this recipe! As a falafel addicted, I need this! I Baked my falafel for years, this is why I don't want the traditional greasy stuff. I created some recipes like my macadamia chest nut falafel, or my hemp falafel, all baked not fried. Your recipe is a definitely must try for me , love anything with tahini. It's amazing when we did a little vacation and get inspired, I totally hear you! Your pictures are stunning as always, every time I came back here , I really know your recipes made my day, thank u!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      You are so kind Florian, thank you so much! So glad you love the pictures and your kind words made my day! Your macadamia chestnut falafel sounds incredible, need to check that out!
  10. Foods that are too greasy are deal breakers for me, and I tend to have a hard time finishing them. I can eat all the sugar in the world, but grease...no. I enjoy foods like this on the drier side, so these look phenomenal! Of course you put your own spin on them, that's what will make them so delicious!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I agree!! Bring on the sweets but stay away from the grease, haha!
  11. Falafel is my FAVORITE!!! And you seriously did an AMAZING job with this recipe. They look so perfectly crispy on the outside too! The combo of the falafel + creamy lemon pepper sauce seriously has me drooling, YUM!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Ceara! The combo isn't traditional but it WORKS amazing! We ate them 3 days in a row, they were that good!
  12. Thanks for this awesome recipe. I love that these are not fried in oil much like the ones you get in restraunts and take out.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Peggy! I'm so glad you loved these, thank you for letting me know!
  13. Grease bombs!! Haha!! Goodness, falafel is one of my absolute favorites and every now and then, as a treat, we'll order out from our favorite Mid East place and I pay for it. Sooooo greasy. We've made our own baked falafel before, but there's only been one recipe that comes close to the flavor + texture that I love. I'm willing to bet that this will be spot on. Potatoes!! They seem to be the answer for just about everything :) I am SO anxious to try making these!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Lol Mandy! Yes, they were total grease bombs...it made it hard to enjoy the actual flavor. Well, I recreated them and the flavor is SPOT ON. The texture is not dripping with grease, so it is a bit different, but absolutely delicious nonetheless, especially when topped with the lemon cream sauce which keeps them moist!
  14. Ahhh I love falafel!! They're one of my favourite foods! I don't like how oily the traditional kind are either, so these make the perfect version for me! Such a great idea including potatoes too, they're so amazing! The hot sauce sounds addition sounds like a definite yes from me - yum!! Another awesome recipe Brandi :)
  15. Really intrigued to try this Brandi, as my falafel are positively drowned in oil :) Love the addition of potato. I'm certain my potato-loving boy would adore these. We were in Texas recently too. Oh what a beautiful part of the world that is, and what an amazing country you live in. Didn't make it down to Austin, but that's a town on my bucket list for next time :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Haha! "Drowned"...well the ones I had were definitely drowned in oil too. It's just overkill for me. Since these are oil-free and baked (not fried) they definitely do not have that super crispy greasy texture, but they are still delicious and more like a burger type of texture. We could not get enough of them and the flavor is to die for. The potato helps to hold them together and give them moisture since there is no oil :)
  16. <3 <3 <3 I ADOREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE THIS CUISINE! ADORE IT! And you made it Vegan, so I loveeeeee you even more now!
  17. I love anything little, non greasy and shoved in a pita!! These look so darn good. I just want to eat that whole pile without stopping. Probably all at once...
  18. What a gorgeous recipe, Brandi. I can't wait to try this! Seriously -- love everything about this and falafel is one of my husband's favorite things -- so double incentive now :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much for the compliments Audrey, you are so kind! These turned out so good! I hope you try them!
  19. Brandi- I made these the other nite and had enough for additional week nite meals (shows they keep well refrigerated). I didn't have pita pockets on hand but had flour tortillas. I charred them on stove, stuffed, wrapped and devoured!!! Thumbs Up! love them and so did my sister-n-law when she ate them.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback Kay! I truly appreciate it and I'm so glad these were such a hit. Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback!!
  20. I liked the idea of no bake recipe as I am a huge fan of falafel. I followed the receipt exactly and really liked how workable the mixture was. The issue that I ran into was that 20 minutes bake time in the recipe was not enough. After 10 mins, the patties were still soft and could not flip them. It took almost 45 mins to cook. Overall, good result but bit dry. Do you bake the patties in the middle or at the bottom of the oven? I baked in the middle and wondering if that may be a factor. Secondly, I used wax paper since I did not have parchment paper but I am not sure if that would make a difference. Anyways, thanks for sharing the recipe and appreciate any insights. Thanks
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Heron! That's very odd, I've had several people make these with great success. These are actually very easy to flip at the 10 minute mark. Did you roast the chickpeas first before blending? Did you add the water? Only thing I can think is that the chickpeas weren't roasted prior to dry them out some because that's what makes them form so well together. If you did roast them, then it sounds like the mixture wasn't processed enough to form the thick sticky mixture, because these hold together extremely well and 20 mins cooked them perfectly. If you cooked them for 45 mins, then that is why they were too dry. That will way over cook them and dry them out. Hope that helps! Hard to say exactly without being there, but those are my guesses.
      • I did roast the chickpeas and added ingredients as per the recipe. I didn't have a food processor and ended up using a blender and may have over processed the mixture. I'll get another try this week. Do you bake them in the bottom rack or it doesn't matter?
        • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
          Oh ok, the blender definitely probably blended them too much. I just pulse the ingredients in a processor just a bit. I bake on the middle rack, so you are definitely good there
  21. I made these falafel balls along with the creamy lemon pepper sauce for my family the other night and they absolutely loved it! My little brother thought the falafel was real meat and he thought the sauce was some kind of cream cheese sauce! lol. They asked me to make this for them every single week from now on. Just so happy that I found a delicious vegan meal that my non-vegan family love and will happily eat weekly (probably daily)! The best thing about all thevegan8 recipes is that they're guaranteed to turn out perfectly and be a winner every time!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wonderful! I'm so happy to hear and see this feedback, thank you so much! What amazing feedback!
  22. Years ago, I accidentally discovered a way to make baked falafel more moist. After baking falafel for a picnic (I used a mix), I put them in a thermos to keep warm on the way. When I opened them up, the 'steaming' from the trip in the thermos had made them softer, and more like regular falafel (minus the grease). I assume the same could be done in a bowl with a plate over it as a lid to keep the heat/steam in.
  23. Do you think this recipe would work with a Japanese sweet potato? They would come out a bit sweeter, of course.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yes, another reader I believe used one! I haven't tried it myself, but as long as you don't mind it sweeter, then I think it should work! Let me know how it turns out! Thank you :)
  24. Moist, but grease bomb-free, nice. ;) I like that you used potato as well. And I might just give the sweet potato thing a try too!
  25. Brandi these were so delicious. They were not dry at all like some recipes I've tasted or greasy, obviously. Hubby and I both loved the flavors and I know roasting the chickpeas makes a huge difference. The kemon sauce is "oh my goodness" great and really a great compliment to this. Thank you for a lovely meal.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Estee! I loved your pic you shared on Facebook as well! Yes, while they are not 100% as moist as traditional, since obviously they aren't full of oil or fried in oil, they are still moist enough and so full of flavor and like you said, the sauce just completes it. Thanks so much for making them and sharing them!
  26. These are the most scrumptious falafels I have ever eaten and I travel lots so I've eaten them in a lot of countries. Not only are they not greasy, but they are so perfectly spiced! I don't have a food processor due to travelling so I used a mini chopper which meant I had to pulse it in two batches. I was worried they would become too mushy due to over processing however that was not a problem since after pulsing the beans I mixed all the ingredients really well in a bowl before dividing and continuing. I also made them a little smaller because my oven is not great. They cooked wonderfully. So wonderfully in fact that my carnivorous husband, who won't touch any vegetables other than potato or mushroom with a 10ft pole, cautiously tried one before scoffing half!! If there is higher praise than that, I'd like to know what it is. Safe to say these have become a favourite in our household. I think next time I will also make a batch switching the potato for pumpkin, because I am obsessed with pumpkin, I'll let you know how they go. P.S These are also a fantastic pre/post workout snack!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh wow, such amazing feedback Hannah!! Thank you so very much and I'm thrilled your hubby loved them so much! I truly appreciate you leaving feedback . Oh, pumpkin sounds like a wonderful idea, I can't wait to hear how they turn out!
    • Okay so I tried them with pumpkin and they are just as amazing! I did cut the amount of water to half as roasted pumpkin holds more water than potato. Apart from that I made no alterations. They had a beautiful orange colour. My husband scoffed these down as well. This is my secret weapon to get him to eat some vegetables, so thank you so so much Brandi!!
      • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
        That is so awesome to hear Hannah! Such a great idea too, thank you so much for letting me know!
  27. These look great! Can't wait to try. Do you have any idea how these would freeze? Would love to make large batch and save for quick lunches later. Thank you!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh gosh Megan, I'm so sorry I missed this comment! I apologize, I don't know how they would freeze since we eat them so fast, but I would think if you wrap them really tightly and then put in a sealed container, they would be fine. Just reheat them gently on low in an oven.
  28. So happy to have found HEALTHY falafel! These were actually really easy to make, and they turned out so delicious! I am really happy to have leftovers... and I will MOST DEFINITELY be making these again. These would impress carnivores and herbivores alike! :) Thanks for the amazing recipe!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I'm so happy to hear that Meghan! Thank you so much for such wonderful feedback and your gorgeous pic you shared on Instagram!
  29. These look amazing! I love that they don't use flour or breadcrumbs!
  30. […] I made 20 falafel balls to freeze and use when I need them. If you are unfamiliar with this Mediterranean delight, they […]
  31. Do you think unsweetened applesauce could work similarly to the potatoes as a binder? I'm trying not to eat as many potatoes :(
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Ashley, I don't think that would work the same because the potatoes become like glue and applesauce would just make them more wet and likely more fragile. This makes about a dozen falafel so that's a very small amount of potato per each falafel, since there's only 1/2 cup total. I do believe another reader had success with sweet potatoes if you have an issue with regular potatoes, that might work.
  32. […] week I’m going to make a huge batch of these oil-free baked falafels by The Vegan 8. These will make easy lunches (add them to wraps or sandwiches), and hopefully there will be enough […]
  33. I made this recipe last summer and just loved it! I went to make it again tonight and only had one can of chickpeas, so I cubed a cup and a half of sweet potato and threw it in with the chickpeas. So delicious!!
  34. Are there any substitutes for tahini? Could I just leave it out?
  35. Are there any substitutes for tahini? Could I just leave it out??
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Tahini is there for flavor and moisture, so no, I wouldn't leave it out or they will be too dry. You could sub with almond butter if you like, but it will change the flavor some.
  36. I made this and it was by far my most favorite vegan recipe ever!!!! I used dry beans which I soaked over night in filtered water and in the refrigerator, then cooked them as you instructed! The white cashew sauce was amazing! I stuffed the pita with spinach, cucumber, tomato and pickles along with the falafel and lots of the yummy sauce! Thank you so much for this one!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay, that is the best feedback ever Jennifer, thank you so much! So glad this is your favorite vegan recipe ever, so awesome!
  37. Made them this afternoon. Oh so delicious but they did not hold together as well as I expected they would. I think perhaps I processed them not quite long enough for fear of doing it too long. I'm new to using a Food Processor. Also I had my own homemade tahini with no added oil...that may have made a difference too. Since I put them in a pita pocket it didn't matter that they crumbled. Most of them held together enough to turn them over but some started to break apart on the tray so just left them to cook on the one side. Definitely will make them again as the flavor is outstanding.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      SO glad to hear you loved these Anne! Yes, you definitely need to make sure they are processed enough so that they hold together. There is very little fat, so if they aren't processed enough, they won't hold. You should really only see some visible onion maybe, not whole chickpeas. I make these all the time and they hold together very well. Also, do not flip them over the first time if they are too crumbly, they will be tender but flip them once they hold together, it is at the 2ND flip and cooking time that they really begin to bind and cook solid. Hope that helps!
  38. WOW!!! These are yummy! I followed the recipe and they turned out exactly as pictured! LOVE the tangy pepper sauce too! I didn't even make a meal out of them with pita bread. Just drizzled those warm falafels with the tangy sauce and made a perfect snack! Will be a hit with nonvegans as well!
  39. Hi there! This Oil Free Falafel recipe turned out great...but I made one change in the recipe. I used sweet potato instead of white potato and it was delicious. The Lemon Pepper sauce was so good with the Falafel. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
  40. I just made these tonight. I'm pretty sure I over-processed it. They came out a little crumbly. But mixed with the usual toppings, it didn't matter. They have a really good flavor. I like the addition of the potato and the tahini. And toasting canned chickpeas was a good tip. I typically soak beans over night for falafel. But toasting canned beans will allow me to consider this as a dinner option that doesn't need to be planned an evening ahead of time. We really like our falafel with tomatoes, avocado, and a pea and cucumber yogurt sauce (which comes from Bob Shacochis's book Domesticity. My 10 year old daughter is excited about having this in her lunch tomorrow!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wonderful! So glad these were a hit Karen, thank you! Yes, these should not be crumbly at all. I make them often and they are always very strong as they look in the pics. Make sure the potato is processed well as it is what helps to bind the falafel.
  41. Hi Brandi I owe you a big apology because when I saw the video on Youtube, I assumed (never assume) that the person making the video was responsible for the recipe. I now know the brains behind the magic is you. A tremendous thank you for your Falafel recipe. As a plant-based vegan, its the bomb! I made it twice and I keep getting better at it. Stealth
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Aww, thank you Stealth! So glad you love this recipe so much and thank you for taking the time to come back and leave feedback!
  42. Thanks Brandi - your idea to use mashed potato is pure genius. Off to try that right now! We have been plant-based and fat free for 8 years now and it has changed our lives. Cheers!

Leave a comment