Vegan Gluten-Free Oil-Free Baked Falafel that is so delicious, full of flavor and totally healthy. 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 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, 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.
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!