Easy Vegan Falafel (Freezer Friendly!)

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Serving containers filled with pita bread topped with homemade Simple Vegan Falafel

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
Blender with ingredients for making easy homemade vegan falafel

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.

Flavor Variations

If you want to try other flavor variations, consider adding ground turmeric, DIY Shawarma Spice Blend, or DIY Curry Powder. Or, try cayenne or ground chilies for spicier falafel!

Cooking easy vegan falafel in a cast-iron skillet

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:

Pouring delicious vegan Mediterranean-style dressing over falafel

I hope you all love this recipe! It’s:

Simple
Flavorful
Crispy on the outside
Tender on the inside
Garlicky
& 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 this stuff.

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!

Basket filled with Vegan Falafel on pita bread with 4-ingredient dressing and fresh vegetables

Easy Vegan Falafel (Freezer-Friendly!)

Easy, 10-ingredient vegan falafel made with canned chickpeas to save time, and packed with flavor from parsley, cumin, and garlic. A simple, flavorful approach to restaurant-quality falafel!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Takeout basket filled with Easy Vegan Falafel on pita with vegetables and sauce
4.77 from 216 votes
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 12 (falafel)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mediterranean-Inspired, Middle Eastern-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days

Ingredients

FALAFEL

  • 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)

FOR SERVING

  • Garlic Dill Sauce (for serving // found within the Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potato Recipe)

Instructions

  • 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 (see photo).
  • 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)!
  • Serve warm with garlic-dill sauce or hummus, inside a pita or naan, and with desired toppings or atop a bed of greens.
  • 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.

Video

Notes

*Recipe loosely adapted from Tori Avey.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without sauce or optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 12 servings)

Serving: 1 falafel Calories: 91 Carbohydrates: 8.1 g Protein: 2.2 g Fat: 5.8 g Saturated Fat: 0.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.04 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 87 mg Potassium: 77 mg Fiber: 1.6 g Sugar: 1.5 g Vitamin A: 148 IU Vitamin C: 3.34 mg Calcium: 18.79 mg Iron: 0.76 mg

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  1. Kamielle says

    I have made this twice now, and I really feel like I got it this time. Sooo good! I have attempted making falafel a few different ways with different recipes and methods, and it always felt like more trouble than it was worth. I really thought I had to go out to buy falafel in order to get a delicious meal. No longer! I love the way these falafels turned out and will definitely be adding it into a regular meal rotation.

    I followed the recipe almost exactly (subbing onions for shallots). I don’t have a food processor but I do have a 2 cup ninja “express chop”. I filled it with chickpeas to start, processed until they were crumbly, then separately processed the rest of the chickpeas, onions, garlic, and parsley. After that, I put it in a big bowl and mixed in the spices and flour by hand.

    What I did differently than the recipe is use much more oil than suggested, and I think this is what made them so much better the second time I made them. I used my cast iron skillet and pre-heated it while I formed the falafels (chilling for 2-3 hours was definitely important). I added the oil after the pan was nice and hot and I filled the pan, waited a minute and then added my falafel. I followed the suggestion to pop them in the oven afterward and this absolutely took them up a notch! I will be doing exactly the same thing next time I make them. So delicious! I couldn’t stop eating them!

  2. Angie says

    These falafels are much better than store bought, even though I must have done something wrong. I made sure the mixture was crumbly, but the balls wouldn’t really hold together and fell apart even more when I flipped them over. Does that mean too much flour? Should they have been wetter? Because they were so crumbly, the bread crumbs wouldn’t stick to them, just made them fall apart even more.

    The other thing I wasn’t sure about was the oil. When I put them in my pan, they absorbed all the oil, so when I flipped them, I had to add more oil. This happened with each batch. Is this to be expected?

    A tip for other people living in small places. I don’t have a food processor, just a mini chopper/grinder. I mixed all the ingredients with only half the chickpeas. I ground the other half separately, then mixed the two halves together in a bowl.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Angie, we’re so glad you enjoyed the flavor! Yes, that’s normal with the oil, especially if you’re not adding a lot at a time. As for the texture, it’s possible the mini chopper/grinder didn’t mix them enough to hold together. Other ideas: they may have needed additional flour as it acts as a binder. Or, if you didn’t let them chill for 1-2 hours, that would be our other suggestion. Hope that helps for next time!

  3. Rebecca Hartley says

    LOVED this recipe!! Even my husband who isn’t a huge fan of most things labeled “vegan”, loved this. Planning on making a few batches to freeze next time!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We love hearing this Rebecca! Thank you for your lovely review! So glad you and your husband enjoyed them. xo

  4. Donald Schueman says

    Made my first batch and liked the flavor of the Falapel. Frying in Veggie Stock is doable but time consuming. The crust is lighter but it was easy to make mush in the frying pan next batch I will try in an air fryer. Made a batch in olive oil and the mix soaked up much more oil than we care to eat.

  5. Abby says

    Can I make this batter and store in the fridge for 24-48 hours, THEN take out and fry on the night of? We love your recipes, Minimalist Baker!

  6. Carola says

    Delicious and simple recipe. I doubled the recipe, as I was cooking for a crowd (and secretly wanted leftovers for myself, lol), and it worked out great! I used cooked chickpeas instead of canned. Instead of chilling before forming, I shaped the patties, put them on a baking sheet, then chilled in the fridge. I pan fried them a day ahead, and they were perfect when reheated for 10 minutes in the oven. I will definitely be making them again, thanks for the great recipe!

  7. Niamh says

    Made these to put in wraps as a last minute meal. I blitzed the onions, etc, first a little bit before adding the chickpeas, which I just drained. Got a lovely crumbly but slightly sticky texture that formed perfect balls after adding 2 tablespoons of flour. Also added a sprinkle of chilli flakes and dried parsley since I’d no fresh parsley in the house. Fried them up straight away, slightly flattened, as I’d no time for chilling. Even with the quick and easy method they were wonderful! Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Lucy says

    Omg they turned out perfect! I have tried a lot of falafel recipes and most of the time it doesnt turn out great, but these ones were the best. I flattened the balls a bit, fried them in a pan on each side, then put them in the air fryer on 400 for 11 mins. Yum!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yumm! The air fryer probably makes these soo delish! Thanks so much for the lovely review, Lucy!

  9. Melissa says

    This was delicious and I can’t wait to make them again. The only thing I would do differently is double the recipe. Everyone loved these – adults and children. I didn’t have sesame seeds so I ended up using sunflower seeds and it turned out great. Did the Panko and baked them in the oven- so yummy!