Healthy Vegan Falafel

Chiftelute de naut Falafel Chickpea Patties Oriental Recipe
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This is a healthy vegan falafel recipe, without deep frying and with lots of fresh parsley!  It’s so easy to make and I’m sure this healthy vegan falafel will become one of your favorite recipes too! 

If you’d ask me how an ideal meal looks for me, I would tell you that it is made of veggie patties, fluffy mashed potatoes and a huge salad. For me, nothing is more delicious than this and as simple as it may sound, there’s no other meal that makes me happier! 😀 I think it reminds me of my childhood when my grandma used to make me mashed potatoes with butter, served with a large steak or meat patties aside. Of course, I wasn’t vegetarian back then.

This falafel/chickpea patties recipe is, in my opinion, the best falafel recipe I’ve ever tried! It’s not the traditional falafel recipe! I adapted it to my preferences and made it healthier, without deep-frying! If you want to know more about falafel, its origins and benefits, scroll down to the bottom of this article.


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Hope you’ll like this falafel recipe as much as I do! Check out my healthy version, below. Also, take a look at this recipe of mini falafel bites which resembles the traditional falafel recipe a bit more. 🙂

Later edit: I finally made a video for this recipe! If you like it, don’t forget to subscribe and give it a Thumbs Up! 🙂


Healthy Vegan Falafel
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Healthy vegan falafel recipe, without deep frying, GF flour and with lots of fresh parsley!
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 20+ falafels
Ingredients
  • 2 400g cans boiled chickpea (You can use dry too, but if you want to have these chickpea patties ready in 25 minutes, then you should use canned chickpeas. If you’ll use dry chickpeas, you have to soak them overnight)
  • 2 Tbsps psyllium husks or ground flax seeds
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 4 Tbsps chickpea flour, or any other type of flour
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsps tahini paste
  • oil (3-4 Tbsps) for frying
Instructions
  1. Add boiled chickpeas in the food processor and blend well until they have a paste-like consistency.
  2. Put them in a large bowl and blend in all the other ingredients, except oil.
  3. Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  4. Make the patties – 1 Tbsps per patty.
  5. Fry them 2 minutes on each side.
  6. Put the falafels on a plate covered with a paper towel, in order to absorb all excess oil.
  7. Serve!
Notes
P.S. I LOVE Lebanese cuisine. If you love it too, check out Ottolenghi: The Cookbook. His recipes are truly inspiring!
Food is one of those things, and just like language and pretty much everything else, it is the result of centuries of collaboration of people coming together and also of borrowing from different cultures. We all come together one way or another to create a value of some kind. Food is a great example! It’s the result of combinations that maybe wouldn’t have been possible for a single person to create on their own. Just ask yourself, what kind of cuisine would the world have if only one type of people were in charge of it?

Falafel: The Most Craveable Mediterranean Street Food

The American street food history was once a place that featured hot dog carts along the sides of the roads. That grew into pizzas and burgers and then in the last decade, food trucks boomed. Now you can get just about any food from all over the world in any major American city, including one of the most beloved from the Mediterranean: falafel.

Falafel is a traditional dish from the Mediterranean that has been around for centuries, but it’s gained popularity in the states over recent years thanks to the globalization of countries as well as cuisine. They combine healthy ingredients and fry them, which really speaks to the American heart. They totally had us at fried.


It’s time to stop worrying about what you’re going to eat! Get your personalized meal plan with delicious, healthy, and budget-friendly recipes! I want a meal plan!

Falafel is made out of chickpeas that are soaked and then ground. They’re then combined with onions, scallions, parsley, cumin, coriander and garlic. Then comes the fun part. They get shaped into balls and then dropped into a deep fryer full of oil so hot that the outside gets instantly crisp while the inside keeps a light and fluffy texture. It’s a vegetarian delight that even meat eaters love.

When you order falafel at restaurants, you can either enjoy these tasty balls on their own, or get them wrapped up in a pita with all kinds of garnishments. In traditional Mediterranean places, you’re likely to find it served with hummus, baba ganoush, and pickled vegetables but some places will pander to the American palate and keep it simple with cucumbers and tomatoes.

The falafel balls are often served wrapped in a hollow pita shell and garnished with fixings like tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles and sometimes even French fries. Falafel restaurants offer other garnishes as well, such as eggplant salad, shredded beets or pickled vegetables. The whole sandwich is coated with hummus, drizzled with tahini and if you’re so inclined, topped with a spicy sauce as well.

Falafel Chickpea Patties Oriental Recipe Herbs

If you’re not in a big city, it might be hard to get your hands on falafel. However, you can try to make them at home. There are many recipes for making falafel at home online. Seasonings can vary by the recipe as can methods. You can try deep frying them in a deep skillet if you don’t have a fryer. You can also use an air fryer if you have that and fry it without any oil. Or you can bake it to cut out the frying completely.

You’ll definitely have to experiment a bit to find your favorite falafel. However, one thing every recipe can agree on is this: don’t use the canned chickpeas to make falafel. You need to soak the dry chickpeas yourself in order to get the authentic flavor and texture just right. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you fry them, you must get the temperature right or your falafel balls will fall apart.

Falafel, where do you come from?

Just one more discussion about the origin of a certain dish that has to begin with the phrase: its origins are unknown and they have been the subject of much debate. What many people think is that falafel’s history goes way back to when there were pharaohs in the world!

This delicious dish is thought to have been popular mainly in Egypt. That is until the country couldn’t hold it back any longer and then it spread to the Middle East. To be more specific, it appears that it originated in Alexandria. That’s why the breakthrough into other cultures might have been effortless. After all, Alexandria was a very busy port city.

Its name is most likely derived from the Arabic word “filfil”, which means pepper; synonym for spicy, perhaps? And another explanation for the origin of its name might be the Coptic Egyptian unattested phrase “pha la phel”, which translates roughly to “of many beans”. They both make sense!

 Check out Ottolenghi: The Cookbook for more awesome Middle Eastern recipes. His recipes are truly inspiring!

Falafel grew in popularity once it stepped into de Middle East and it became a common street food. Today, many centuries later, it has remained a type of street food all over the world. If you don’t quite believe that falafels are as popular as I might be making them out to be, how about this fun fact: even McDonald’s offered “McFalafel” in their restaurants throughout Egypt!

This dish made its breakthrough into the western world just like many other things do: through people! It has been taken all around the world by both Jewish and Middle Eastern people who decided to settle in different lands. That’s what’s so great about the world! We take our culture with us wherever we go and we share it until it becomes a thing in common with the rest of the world.

Falafel Chickpea Patties Recipe

General facts about falafel

  • Falafel can be made from chickpeas or fava beans, and even a combination of both. In Middle Eastern countries, chickpea falafel is the most popular.
  • Falafel is the second most common use of chickpeas to make a dish. Can you guess what the first is? … That’s right! Hummus!
  • There’s a bit of a squabble between Palestinians and Israelis over who appropriated whose dish.
  • Falafel is not a Jewish dish, but it was indeed adopted by Jewish immigrants in Palestine.
  • The Amman hotel of the capital of Jordan made the world’s biggest Falafel in 2012 and it weighed about 75 kg. How long would it take you to eat that?!
  • You know who else has appropriated falafel? You guessed it, vegetarians and vegans. They love it as a substitute for meat in their meals.
  • Falafel is used by people to break the daily fast after sunset during Ramadan.
  • Egypt, Palestine and Israel all three consider the falafel as their national dish. What a pickle!

Nutritional data: why Falafel is good for you!

Let’s start with the basic. Per 100 gr of Falafel, this is what you get: 333 calories (please don’t freak out), 18 gr of fat, 2,4 gr of saturated fatty acids, 4,2 gr of polyunsaturated fatty acids, 10 gr of monounsaturated fatty acids, 294 mg of sodium, 585 mg of potassium, 32 gr of carbohydrates, 13 gr of protein, and all of these vitamins and minerals: vitamin A, C, D, B6, B12, iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Overall, if you eat them in moderation and you add them to your diet, instead of having them be your whole diet (no matter how tempting that may be), it shouldn’t pose a threat to your fitness or your health. In fact, there are many benefits, as you can see. There are quite a lot of vitamins and minerals present, plus it’s full of healthy fats. Yes, that’s quite a bit of calories for a 100gr falafel, but considering everything you get in return it’s not that big of a deal.

Falafel also has a healthy amount of carbohydrates, which your body actually needs and it poses no risks for your cholesterol levels. It’s rich in fiber because it is made out of chickpeas which help you feel full for longer, so you won’t be overeating.


Want more veggie patties recipes. Try these:

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About the Author

Ruxandra

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I'm a freelance graphic/web designer, online marketing specialist, and blogger. I have a huge passion for nutrition, design, writing, and helping businesses grow! :) Do you want me to help you grow your blog/business? Check out my portfolio > ruxandramicu.ro < and contact me!

81 Comments on “Healthy Vegan Falafel”

  1. Grace Pinkney

    I love this recipe…very easy to make and delicious!! I made the mistake of using coconut flour twice…can’t wait to get chickpea or almond flour and cook it again next week. I was wondering what the nutritional values were. I’m trying to be diligent in tracking my food. Thank you!

    1. Ruxandra

      So happy you liked it! You can use any kind of flour. I frequently use chickpea or rice flour, but any other kind (as long as it doesn’t have a strong taste) is ok. You can check the nutritional values with cronometer.com.

  2. katie

    could you form these into balls and drop them in a muffin tin?? then dip in a sauce? how long do you think they’d have to cook and at what temp? I seem to have really bad luck with formed patties cooking all the way through the middle without burning the outsides… sigh

    1. Ruxandra

      Never thought about this, Katie, but you could give it a try. Make sure you brush them with a little bit of oil, so they won’t turn too dry. Try 30 minutes, at 180C. If they’re not crispy enough, bake them for 10-15 minutes more.

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  4. Em

    Can’t wait to make these!!
    Could I pre make the batter and leave it in the fridge just under 24 hours before frying it off?

  5. Jennifer

    These were amazing! I am constantly on the hunt for recipes to satisfy both the meat eaters as well as the vegetarian in my house and this one was a hit!

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  7. Sheila

    Hi
    I am looking for a really good recipe for Falafels and this sounds it. One question. What are psyllium husks? Can it be substituted with something else?

    1. Ruxandra

      Hi Sheila! Thanks! Psyllium husks can be substituted for ground flax seeds or ground chia seeds. I prefer psyllium husks because they are flavorless, but the substitutes work just as well. I add this as a precaution, so the falafels won’t separate in the pan or in the oven. Unlike traditional falafels, which are deep-fried, these healthy falafels need to stick together a lot better because they are flipped from one side to the other.

      1. Erin

        I made these without psyllium husks or ground flax seeds and they turned out just fine. I added a couple more spoons of chickpea flour to stiffen up the dough, and they held together really well during cooking. 🙂

        1. Ruxandra

          Glad you liked them! You can also keep the composition in the fridge for 30 minutes before making the falafels. This way it will get even firmer.

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  9. colette

    I’m a lazy homemade cook and prepped everything about this recipe in my food processor. Dropped it into muffin tins to bake it. This is gonna be SO yummy!

  10. heather r

    Hi wanting to serve these for dinner tonight for my children but not sure how to serve them. Do you just eat them like that or with sauce or in a sandwich etc
    Thanks

    1. Ruxandra

      I usually serve them with a veggie side dish or mashed potatoes, but they can also be served with a sauce and a salad or in burger buns. I like tahini a lot! It goes great with falafels. 🙂

  11. Megan

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I tried these tonight and can’t seem to get the chickpeas to form a “paste.” I used canned chickpeas and drained and rinsed them before putting in the food processor. Is that where I went wrong? Should I have left the liquid from the can in there?

    Thanks!

    1. Ruxandra

      You adjust the chickpea paste texture using chickpea flour (or regular flour) and water. If the composition is too try, add a little bit of water, and if it’s too mushy, add more flour. The result will be an easy to form paste.

  12. Kostas Pap

    Wow! I love this recipe, delicious and totally healthy!!! I’ll try it tomorrow! Thank you so much Ruxandra! 🙂

  13. Deeanna Hale-Holland

    What temperature do you recommend for best oven setting? I would like to try baking them also. Thanks!

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  16. Ann

    A friend of mine (who is a big meat eater) and I (vegetarian) made these the other day and they were AMAZING!!! The two of us ate them all for lunch, and it was our first time eating falafels. I recommended this recipe to many people and want to thank you for it. It inspired me to eat more vegan and look into food as such. Love your blog btw!

    1. Ruxandra

      I’m so happy to hear this Ann! It’s great when our non-veg friends love vegetarian foods! This way we can convince them that vegetarian recipes are truly delicious and they won’t miss meat at all. 😀
      Thanks for the lovely comment! 🙂

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  18. Julie

    I have never eaten a falafel before. So, I don’t know if how they turned out was right or wrong. But they were very good! I had to change the recipe a little, because I didn’t have caraway seed. I left that out, added some crushed red pepper flakes, and it was all good.

    I made them for my son (who is a vegan) and liked the falafel sub at subway, but it was disco’d and he can’t get it anymore. I hope he likes these!

    1. Ruxandra

      Thank you Julie! I’m so glad you liked the falafels 🙂 Caraway can be omitted, the taste will be pretty much the same. I like that you added some crushed red pepper flakes! Great idea! 🙂
      Let me know if your son will like them too! 🙂

      P.S. I’m so happy to hear that your son is vegan too! More children should be vegan 🙂

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  21. Ruxandra

    Cheri, you definitely did something wrong 🙂 Try again and this time, read the recipe carefully. Trust me, it is worth it!

    P.S. You probably forgot to add flour 😉

  22. Naomi

    Love this! is it okay if I put it on my own blog using my own photos and adjustments! Thanks and love all the way from australia 🙂

  23. Donna Clancy

    Tried these tonight and they were awesome, even my meat and 3 veg 17 yo son said they werent bad so its definately a keeper thanks so much for the recipe

  24. Kat

    I love the uncooked mix – the taste is just wonderful, but in all honesty they just didn’t cook through! I made these for my birthday as a side snack so I made them smaller in size, put them in the oven as directed – nothing, they were so soft in the middle although outsides were well brown. So I cooked them over on the frying pan and finally they were something you can pick up and cut but then they were too dark outside to look nice…not sure what happened with my falafels :/ Anyway I found a new way to use the uncooked mix, I make wraps with it, and they’re delicious. Don’t have to use hummus since the mix is moist enough (I omit flour when eating it uncooked), I add bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach and voila a healthy lunch is served! Will try it with lettuce wraps to make even more healthier. Thank you for this recipe 🙂

    1. Ruxandra

      Maybe the temperature was too high? That’s why they burned on the outside and were not cooked on the inside. It’s a great idea for the uncooked version. Will try! 🙂

  25. Kine

    These sound delicious! This is my first christmas as a vegetarian, and I want to make these as my main meal. Do you think they’re suitable for christmas?

  26. Teodora

    Buna!

    Prima daca cand le-am facut au iesit SUPER….
    A doua oara au iesit sfaramicioase….ai idee ce am gresit?

    Thx

    1. Ruxandra

      Sfaramicioase nu mi-au iesit niciodata. Daca ti-au iesit ok prima oara inseamna ca ai omis ceva ingrediente a doua oara 🙂 Urmeaza reteta intocmai, fara substituiri. Iti garantez ca iese. Am facut-o de atatea ori incat e fail-proof varianta asta 😀 Poate ar fi trebuit sa mai adaugi faina de naut? Compozitia trebuie sa fie usor de modelat. Nici prea umeda, nici prea uscata. Asta reglezi din faina de naut si umezeala ingredientelor. Oricum, ideea e ca inainte de a pune chiftelele la prajit trebuie sa te asiguri ca sunt usor de modelat in palma. Sper sa iti iasa 😀

  27. Suus

    When you freeze them would you do that after baking them or before? I have all these ingredients left over so i would love to make them now and freeze them. I never liked falafel but these look great..

  28. Jeanne

    Loved it! Mentioned your recipe on my blog, here: limesarebetterthanlemons.tumblr.com/post/67345135389/falafel-naan-wich
    Hope you don’t mind.

  29. Dana P.

    Two hours to boil chickpeas after soaking? Is that really what it takes? I’ve read that you can even make falafel after ONLY soaking them and they don’t fall apart as easily. I’ve made several versions and am still on a quest to come up with the perfect version. This looks hopeful. And maybe I’ll just have to experiment with all the chickpea variations.

    1. Ruxandra

      Hi Dana!

      Yes, I boil chickpeas for two hours because I want them to be extra smooth. Otherwise, they will not only lack the smoothness, but also they will cause bloating. You can decrease the boiling time at 1 hour, but only if they were soaked overnight and if you change the boiling water at half an hour. If you soaked them only for a couple of hours, I would recommend that you boil them longer. If you want them to be extra smooth (for example, if you want to use them to make hummus also), 2 hours is a must.

      1. Kavita

        Great recipe. Another option to boil soaked overnight chickpea is to put them in pressure cooker with some water and salt. Will be done in 10to15min.

  30. catherine

    Hi! Great recipie, cant wait to try it, but I wanted to ask, when baking these, rather than frying, what temp do you suggest? 350, 375 ,400? Don’t want them to dry out !

    thanks!

    1. Ruxandra

      Buna Carmen,

      Scuze, am uitat sa specific asta. 180C cred ca ar fi suficient. Nu trebuie sa fie o temperatura prea mare pentru ca ele sunt practic deja gatite, trebuie doar sa prinda o crusta rumena pe deasupra.

  31. GingerSnapped

    this recipe is very similar to one my husband got from an anti-inflammatory book (same basic idea, slightly different flavor…[cumin instead of caraway])
    I absolutely LOVE them..and that is coming from someone who has always referred to falafel as ‘falAWFUL’
    I made them for my husband fully expecting to not even want to try them..and now I double and sometimes triple the recipe because I love them so much…unlike other falafel I’ve had, these are deliciously moist and flavorful…and quite simple to make as well! …they hold up great, freeze well, I find them yummy cold as well as warm..I like to have a bunch of them on hand for a quick, protein packed grab & go breakfast, lunch or even a snack!

    1. Ruxandra

      I’m so glad you like it! 😀 I’ve had the same problem with falafels. Most recipes are bland and too dry, because they put lots of flour and too much chickpeas, instead of fresh ingredients like parsley or carrot. I never thought about freezing them, but this is such a great idea! Thanks! 😀

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