World, meet falafel. Falafel, meet your eaters.
What is 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.
Since I eat falafel so often at restaurants, I wanted a recipe I could make at home and really enjoy. I wanted it to taste traditional, but without being deep fried or labor intensive. I believe I’ve gotten as close as humanly possible without busting out the fryer – a feat I have yet to attempt.
How to Make Falafel
This recipe really threw me for a loop! But after multiple rounds of testing, I believe it’s perfected and ready to be enjoyed by all of you.
Simply add chickpeas, parsley, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper, and spices to a food processor or blender and pulse the mixture until combined. All-purpose flour (or your flour of choice) is added to soak up some of the moisture.
Hands on prep is minimal, and the only waiting period is 1-2 hours for chilling the dough (which is optional but recommended). Otherwise, these little gems come together with minimal effort and time.
Then they are ready to cook in a large skillet until perfectly browned, crispy on the outside, and tender on the inside.
These falafel are simple:
- Require just 10 ingredients (give or take a spice)
- Come together in a blender or food processor
- Sauté up beautifully in just 5 minutes
What are the ingredients?
Traditionally, falafel is made from dried chickpeas and/or includes fava beans. I opted for a more simple version, using canned chickpeas so you don’t have to wait for the chickpeas to soak overnight or worry about not being able to find ingredients.
For flavor, we included fresh parsley (or you can use cilantro in a pinch), garlic, shallots, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cardamom and coriander can be added to step it up a notch.
The magic ingredients for making it crisp up are all-purpose flour (or see recipe for gluten-free alternatives) and avocado oil (for cooking). Panko breadcrumbs are optional and can be used for an even crispier coating.
How to Eat Falafel
What is a falafel without a good sauce? My 4-ingredient garlic-dill sauce is not to be missed. While your falafels are cooking, whip this up in just 5 minutes to elevate this dish to the next level of awesome. Trust me on this one – you’re gonna want that sauce.
For more sauce & dip ideas, try our:
Serve these in a pita with tomato, onion, lettuce and my garlic-dill sauce and you’re seriously good to go. Hummus and vegetables make an excellent side dish. Otherwise, serve these atop a bed of greens for a lighter option.
For more serving ideas, try these recipes:
I hope you all love this recipe! It’s:
Crispy on the outside
Tender on the inside
& Super satisfying
Who needs take-out when you can make perfectly delicious falafel at home?
Prior to this recipe, I’ve made two other falafel recipes for the blog. First were my Better Than Restaurant Falafel, which still rank up there as one of my all-time favorite plant-based recipes! And more recently I made these Baked Falafel Burgers, which are all kinds of hearty and delicious.
And since then, I’ve gone falafel-crazy and come up with recipes for Classic Vegan Falafel (Gluten-Free), Kale Falafel Hummus Wraps (30 Minutes!), Simple Vegan Falafel, Smoky Quinoa Black Bean Falafel. Friends, that’s how much I love falafel.
If you make this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment and rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see. Cheers, friends!
Easy Vegan Falafel (Freezer-Friendly!)
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (rinsed, drained and patted dry)
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (or sub cilantro)
- 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 (plus more to taste)
- 1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper (plus more to taste)
- 1 healthy pinch each cardamom and coriander (optional)
- 3-4 Tbsp all-purpose flour (or sub oat flour or gluten-free blend with varied results)
- 3-4 Tbsp avocado oil for cooking (or sub any neutral oil with a high smoke point)
- Panko bread crumbs for coating (optional // see instructions // gluten-free as needed)
- Garlic Dill Sauce (for serving // found within the Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potato Recipe)
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Once chilled, scoop out rounded Tablespoon amounts (~30 g in weight // I used this scoop) and gently form into 11-12 small discs (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
- OPTIONAL: Sprinkle on panko bread crumbs and gently press to adhere - flip and repeat. This will produce a crispier falafel, but it's optional.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to generously coat the pan - about 2 Tbsp (30 ml). Swirl to coat.
- 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!
- Once the oil is hot, add only as many falafel as will fit very comfortably in the pan at a time - about 5-7.
- 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.
- 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)!
- 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.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without sauce or optional ingredients.