I’m a huge fan of falafel. Even before committing to vegetarianism, falafel ranked high on my favorite foods list. Falafel is super flavorful, hearty, rich in fiber and protein, and completely satisfying. I love it on its own,. stuffed inside a pita, or atop a salad.I don’t remember eating falafel growing up. It wasn’t until discovering a tiny Mediterranean joint in my college town of Madison, Wisconsin, appropriately named Mediterranean Cafe, that my true love for falafel was fully realized. Then, a few years later, I moved to New York only to discover that falafel is a staple of NYC cuisine. Like bagels and pizza, there’s a falafel restaurant on every other block. So naturally, in my 5 years living here, I’ve become somewhat of a falafel connoisseur, and I eat it on the reg.
Falafel in it’s most basic form is a simple combination of chickpeas, garlic, herbs, and spices. Traditionally, it’s deep-fried to create ultra crispy balls of deliciousness. While falafel is wholesome, anything deep fried is heavy on the calories and fat. This falafel recipe, on the other hand, is baked using very little oil. It may not be quite the same as its deep-fried counterpart, but these little patties are packed with flavor, totally satisfying, and easy to make. I also created this recipe to be gluten-free, vegan, and minimalist in its ingredient list, making these little falafel patties simple enough for a weekday dinner or lunch, and healthy enough to make up for my more indulgent eating habits (like my last two posts, jalapeño popper mac and cheese and Mexican Queso dip with tortilla chips).
To go along with these falafels, I threw together a quick lemon-tahini sauce, which is also vegan and gluten-free. The combination of the falafel and the creamy sauce is totally killer. This week, I used these falafel patties and the lemon-tahini sauce in a brown rice bowl with steamed kale, carrots, and cucumber. It was so yummy and a highly recommended way of eating this super healthy recipe.
Simple Baked Vegan Falafel with Lemon Tahini Sauce
Serves: 2-3 Start to Finish: 50 min.
1 15-ounce can Chickpeas (organic, no-salt added variety preferred)
2-3 cloves Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped (depending on size and love for garlic)
1 cup Fresh Parsley Leaves
1.5 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Coriander
1/2 tsp Salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon Potato Flour (or all purpose flour)
For Lemon-Tahini Sauce
1/3 cup pure Tahini Paste (sesame seed butter)
2-3 tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Water
1/4 teaspoon each Salt, Black Pepper, Paprika
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Add parsley and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and well combined. Add chickpeas, cumin, coriander, salt, and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Pulse until a coarse mixture forms. I had to scrape down the sides 2 or 3 times between pulsing. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Stir in potato flour (add more if mixture doesn’t easily form balls, 1 tsp at a time). Form 9 balls and gently press into patties. Refrigerate for 10-20 minutes (or up to 24 hours). Brush each side of all patties with a thin layer of olive oil. Bake for about 20 minutes, flipping once during cooking.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients. Add more water to get desired texture. Serve falafel patties with sauce, by themselves, in a salad, over a rice bowl or on a sandwich.