Easy Vegan Falafel

Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish made from chickpeas and/or fava beans. Traditionally, it is deep fried to yield a crispy texture and often served in a pita. This recipe is easy to make at home and has a traditional taste without the need of a deep fryer.

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (rinsed, drained and patted dry)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium shallots (minced // 2 shallots yield ~ 3/4 cup or 65 g // or sub white onion)
  • 2 Tbsp raw sesame seeds (or sub finely chopped nuts, such as pecans)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 healthy pinch each cardamom and coriander (optional)
  • 3-4 Tbsp all-purpose flour 
  • 3-4 Tbsp avocado oil for cooking
  • Panko bread crumbs for coating (optional)

Method

  1. Add chickpeas, parsley, shallot, garlic, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, pepper (and coriander and cardamom if using) to a food processor or blender and mix/pulse to combine, scraping down sides as needed until thoroughly combined. You’re looking for a crumbly dough, not a paste.
  2. Add flour 1 Tbsp (~8 g) at a time and pulse/mix to combine until no longer wet and you can mold the dough into a ball without it sticking to your hands – I used 4 Tbsp (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a bit more salt, pepper, and a dash of cardamom and coriander. You want the flavor to be pretty bold, so don’t be shy.
  4. Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to firm up. If you’re in a hurry you can chill in the freezer for 45 minutes or skip this step – but they will be a little more fragile when cooking.
  5. Once chilled, scoop out rounded Tablespoon amounts and gently form into 11-12 small discs (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
  6. OPTIONAL: Sprinkle on panko bread crumbs and gently press to adhere – flip and repeat. This will produce a crispier falafel, but it’s optional.
  7. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to generously coat the pan – about 2 Tbsp (30 ml). Swirl to coat.
  8. NOTE: If not cooking all of the falafel right away, FREEZE uncooked falafel between layers of parchment paper and store in a container in the freezer up to 1 month. Then just thaw and cook as instructed!
  9. Once the oil is hot, add only as many falafel as will fit very comfortably in the pan at a time – about 5-7.
  10. Cook for a total of 4-5 minutes, flipping when the underside is deep golden brown. Repeat until all falafel are browned – the deeper golden brown they are, the crispier they’ll be. They will also firm up more once slightly cooled.
  11. OPTIONAL: For even crispier falafel, bake in a 400 degree F (204 C) oven for 5-10 minutes after pan frying (either on a baking sheet or your skillet if it’s oven-safe)!
  12. Serve warm with garlic dill sauce or hummus, inside a pita or naan, and with desired toppings or atop a bed of greens.
  13. Best when fresh, though leftovers will keep in the refrigerator covered for 4-5 days. Freeze after that to keep fresh for up to 1 month. From thawed, reheat in a 350 degree F (176 C) oven for 15 minutes or until hot.
*Recipe loosely adapted from Tori Avey.