I’ve been waiting patiently to share this recipe with you guys and I can’t take it any longer. On a total whim, I somehow crafted a falafel recipe that’s better than any version you’ve likely had at a restaurant. Unless it was in the Middle East, then I’ll give you a pass. But the best part? It’s vegan, gluten free, and chock full of healthy ingredients.
Origins of Falafel
The origin of falafel is an ongoing and heated debate. Some would say it’s a quintessential Israeli food, while Palestinians claim its Arab roots, and still others claim it originated in Egypt, Lebanon, or Yemen.
While we claim no expertise on the origins of falafel, we do know we absolutely love its crispy texture and rich flavor. Falafel is traditionally a fried ball or patty made from fava beans, chickpeas, or both. What’s not to love?
Our inspired version uses chickpeas as a base and includes collard greens for color and added nutrition. For a more traditional version of falafel, check out this recipe from Tori Avey, or this recipe from The Kat Chef.
Collard Green Falafel
I started with collard greens, a green I was completely unfamiliar with prior to this recipe. Next I added in chickpeas, sea salt, pepper, garlic, fresh lemon juice and tahini. The funny thing is, I was aiming for more of a “veggie fritter” but one bite in and I knew it was falafel heaven all the way.
As always, ingredients are simple and to the point and minimal equipment is required: a food processor and 1 pan. They also come together in about 30 minutes. Hello easy, healthy weeknight meal.
I made up one big batch last week and I’ve been having one or two here and there as a quick snack or easy lunch. I’m gluten-free right now for a cleanse I’m doing (a story for another day), but these would go fabulous tucked inside fluffy pita with lettuce, tomato, and a creamy garlic sauce. I just know it. Otherwise, they’re fantastic on their own with just a spot of hummus.
These little guys are amazing, and I don’t use that word lightly! I am so surprised at how healthy and simple they are, yet how packed with flavor they are. They are crispy and flavorful on the outside, tender on the inside, and loaded with bursts of lemon, garlic, and tahini in each bite. I highly recommend serving these with freshly made hummus or they’re delicious on their own. Simply don’t pass up this recipe! It’s one of my most proud kitchen accomplishments to date.
Better-Than-Restaurant Falafel (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
- 4 cups stemmed and torn collard greens (one bunch // or swiss chard)
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
- 3 large cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp tahini
- 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 pinch each sea salt and black pepper
- 3-4 Tbsp oat flour (ground from gluten-free oats)
- ~4 Tbsp avocado or olive oil (for cooking)
- Add collard greens, chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and a healthy pinch each salt and pepper to a food processor and mix to combine (see photo).
- Once well incorporated, transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in oat flour 1 Tbsp at a time until the mixture is thick enough to handle – about 3-4 Tbsp (as original recipe is written).
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added more salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and a touch more tahini.
- Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add 2 Tbsp oil at a time. Swirl to coat pan.
- Add 4 falafel (or however many will fit very comfortably) to the pan at a time.
- Check at the 1-2 minute mark to ensure they’re not browning too quickly. If they are, slightly reduce heat. Flip once deep golden brown – about 3-4 minutes.
- Cook until the underside is golden brown as well.
- Serve immediately with hummus and paprika or inside a pita with garlic sauce or hummus.
- Will store in the fridge, layered with parchment paper in an airtight container for 4-5 days. Freeze up to 1 month.
*Adapted from Real Simple.