Fantastic vegan Falafel recipe
Plant-based & Nutritious
By: Vegan Agility Team Last updated: December 4, 2020
Being a lover of middle eastern food meant I felt it was compulsory for me to put together a vegan falafel recipe for all other plant-based health-conscious individuals to enjoy since falafel cooked the right way is extremely healthy and delicious!
But what is falafel?
Falafels are fabulously flavorsome vegan balls made of crunchy chickpea and herb deliciousness that is predominantly found in Middle Eastern cooking. They are predominantly a plant-based dish that works magnificently alongside vegan salads, wraps, pita bread, sandwiches, and of course, great on their own. They can be baked as well as fried. My preference is fried, but if you’re concerned about calories, they can be baked.
When I first made Falafel, I didn’t realize that the chickpeas needed only to be soaked and not boiled. The fell apart while being fried, a disaster, but they smelled and tasted so good. So tin chickpeas are out, and a bag of dried chickpeas is what you need. Remember to soak them overnight.
Is falafel vegan?
Yes, falafel’s are vegan thanks to all ingredients needed to make the falafel mix being completely plant-based. The ingredients that make up the majority of a falafel recipe are chickpeas plus a variety of different herbs and spices, which are all dairy-free, meat-free, and 100% vegan friendly.
Chickpeas are a wonderful plant food to use regularly in your diet thanks to their wonderful nutrient profile and many health benefits.
Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) nutrient info
Nutrition per 1 cup:
Macronutrients: Fat 4.2g, Carbohydrates 45g, Protein 14.5g
Vitamins: Vitamin C: 2.1mg 2% DV, Vitamin E: 0.6mg 4% DV, Vitamin K: 6.6μg 5% DV
Minerals: Zinc 2.5mg – 23% DV, Iron 4.7mg – 26% DV, Magnesium 78.7mg – 19% DV
Health Benefits of chickpeas
- Chickpeas are one of the tastiest legumes and a brilliant vegan food source to add to your diet thanks to their great nutritional profile. They are the staple of many popular vegan dishes such as chickpea curries and vegan hummus.
- 1 cup of chickpeas provides 20% of your minimum daily protein intake and a whopping 50% of your daily fiber needs, which makes them a magnificent food to have stocked in your kitchen.
- Recent studies show that chickpeas may help to reduce the risk of obesity and support healthier weight management, which is likely due to the high amount of fiber and protein.
- Chickpeas are also a fantastic source of zinc, iron, and magnesium, which are all essential nutrients needed on a vegan diet, making hummus a great way to boost your healthy mineral intake while on a plant-based diet.
Is falafel gluten-free?
Most recipes with falafel are usually gluten-free since the ingredients traditionally use chickpea flour (gram flour), which is free from gluten. However, a small amount of store-bought falafel mixes and products may use flours that contain wheat to stretch the ingredients to make larger batches acting as a filler ingredient, so if you have a gluten intolerance, make sure to check the nutritional information on the packet before purchasing.
Gluten-free self-raising flour
Gluten-free baking powder
What are the best oils to fry falafel in?
The best oils for frying falafel contain a low proportion of polyunsaturated fats, are predominantly saturated or monounsaturated, and they also have a high smoke point (the point at which the temperature at which the oil starts to breakdown). Below are the top 3 healthy oils to fry falafel in:
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
Oils to avoid when frying falafel:
- Sunflower oil.
- Corn oil.
- Safflower oil.
- Soybean oil
- Rice bran oil.
- Rapeseed oil
- Grapeseed oil.
How to make this delicious Vegan falafel recipe
Vegan falafel recipe
- 1 cup chickpeas (also known as Garbanzo Beans) soaked for 12 hours. Best to do this overnight. Only use dried and soaked chickpeas, not canned chickpeas in this recipe.
- 1/2 onion any type but I used a white onion
- 1 cup parsley give falafel their distinctive flavour and turn the inside a beautiful, vibrant green.
- 1/2 cup cilantro A small pepper adds that little kick of flavor and spice without over-powering the falafel. You can adjust this to more or less, try first and adjust the amount the next time your make them, which I’m sure will be sooner than you think
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 green chili pepper
- 2 tsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp salt adjust to your liking
- 1/2 tsp black pepper adjust to your preference
- 1 tbsp chickpea flour This helps to bind the mixture together and retain the shape while frying. I prefer chickpea flour, but you could also use a gluten-free flour blend or ordinary plain flour.
- 1/2 tsp baking soda (bircarbonate of soda) A critical ingredient for helping to provide the fluffy inside texture of the falafel.
- Olive oil for frying I used olive oil but have also used Avocado oil
- Food processor
- Large frying pan
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Large mixing bowl
- Tablespoon or Ice cream scoop (to shape the falafel)
How to make the falafel mix
- Soak dry chickpeas for 12 hours or overnight
- Drain the soaked chickpeas and rinse (avoid using canned chickpeas for this recipe)
- Add all the ingredients to a food processor except the chickpea flour and baking soda
- Process until the mixture resembles coarse sand. In between scrape down the sides of the processor to ensure all ingredients are combined
- Add the chickpea flour and baking soda, and pulse until it’s fully combined
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a lid.
- Place the bowl in the fridge. Chill the falafel mixture for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Shape your falafel. You can do this by hand, with a spoon or an icecream scoop if you have one. Decide if you’d like round balls or flatter patty shapes. The flatter shapes are better if you plan to pan fry or bake. Any shape can be used for deep frying. Form all your falafel and place on a plate.
How to deep fry vegan falafel
- To deep Fry Falafel: Heat about 3 inches of oil in a pot on medium heat to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Once the oil has reached temperature, gently drop 6-8 balls into the oil at a time. Let them cook for 1-2 minutes or until golden on the outside. Use a skimmer to the remove the falafel to a paper towel-lined plate.
How to pan fry vegan falafel
- To pan fry falafel: These only need 2-3 minutes each side. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Gently place the falafel in the pan and cook each side for 2-3 minutes or until golden, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
How to bake vegan falafel
- To baked falafel: These take a little longer 25-30 minutes. Pre-heat your oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Lightly spray or brush a baking sheet with oil. Place the falafel on the baking sheet, lightly spray or brush the top side with oil and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. You can also bake them on parchment paper or a silicone mat without any oil. They’ll just be slightly less crispy and golden.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on your ingredients and tools.