Crispy Baked Falafel

Greek salad with baked falafel by Cookie and Kate

Overworked and underpaid. That sums up my feelings on life at the moment. I’ve been working myself ragged lately, neglecting my friends and spending far too much of the day on my computer.

Want proof? Friday night, I stayed in and stayed up late finishing up work for my real job. I finally passed out in my queen-sized bed with my dog, two plates, and a fork. Saturday, I took an embarrassing number of photos of my breakfast and checked blog stats a couple too many times. That night, I cranked up some tunes and cleaned up the disaster zone otherwise known as my apartment in between sips of cheap champagne. My dark chocolate consumption is at an all-time high (it’s ok), and the question I keep asking myself is this: how many lunges does a quasi-fit, 20-something female need to do, per week, to counteract computer bum?

how to make baked falafel

…I can do nine lunges across the length of my apartment, so please round your answer down to the nearest multiple of nine.

The upside to all of this business is that I’m really proud of the magazine I’m designing and I have some exciting new contributions and publicity lined up for this little bloggidy-blog of mine. I can’t wait to show you all what I’ve been working on. The downside is that I’ve spent almost all day, every day, staring at this screen with my pup-a-lup by my side. Perhaps the biggest negative here is that I am losing sense of time and place and making up words. Beep beep beep, boop boop boop, beep beep beep.

how to make falafel

So, this recipe. I am awfully pleased with how this recipe turned out. The first rendition was a composition of two cookbooks’ recipes, one of which continues to produce sub-par recipes that never make it to this blog (I’m officially done with it) and the other is one that never lets me down. At first, baked falafel burgers sounded positively brilliant, but while the outsides were crispy, the dry insides required a lot of smacking to get down. Those leftovers are in my freezer and I assure you I will finish them, but they aren’t anything I’d serve to guests.

creamy dill-tahini dressing and baked falafel

My second try was much closer to the latter cookbook’s original recipe and, not surprisingly, much better. Crispy outsides, tender insides, smaller size. Just right. I don’t own a decent baking sheet or jelly roll pan, so I wasn’t sure how to bake them with enough oil covering the baking surface until it occurred to me to bake the falafels in my cast iron skillets. Why, after baking with my cast iron skillet so many times with great success, this did not occur to me in the first place is beyond me. Anyway, they baked up perfectly.

Baked falafel salad with tahini dill dressing by Cookie and Kate

I thought about serving these falafels in a pita, and then I thought about serving them with a salad, and I ultimately decided to take apart the pita sandwich and adjust the proportions. More lettuce and veggies, less pita. I also put a Greek spin on my latest obsession, creamy tahini dressing, by adding dill and parsley and blending it all together in my food processor.

Speaking of food processors, I am so glad that my grandmother gave me her food processor because it made this whole meal come together quickly and painlessly. I don’t push kitchen tools that I don’t think are the greatest, but I truly don’t think a kitchen is complete without a food processor and big cast iron skillet. This recipe isn’t complete without these tools, that’s for sure.

Baked falafel salad by Cookie and Kate

5.0 from 7 reviews

Baked Falafel
Author: 
 
This baked falafel recipe is absolutely delicious even though it contains significantly less fat than fried falafel. It’s also vegan and gluten free. The falafel mixture comes together quickly in a food processor and is ready out of the oven in less than thirty minutes.
Ingredients
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, rinsed, picked over and soaked for at least one hour and up to overnight
  • ⅓ cup chopped red onion (about ¼th of a medium red onion, chopped)
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground sea salt or kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. With an oven rack in the middle position, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a large cast iron skillet with 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (use more olive oil for more of a fried effect. I couldn’t fit all of the falafel into my 12-inch skillet so I used my 8-inch skillet as well, into which I poured in 1 teaspoon of olive oil).
  2. In a food processor, combine the soaked and drained chickpeas, red onion, parsley, cilantro, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Process until smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. Using your hands, scoop out about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time. Shape the falafel into small patties, about 2 inches wide and ½ inch thick. Place each falafel on your oiled skillet or pan.
  4. Bake for 13 minutes, then remove the falafel from the oven and carefully flip each one. Return the pans to the oven for another 13 to 15 minutes, until the falafels are lightly browned on both sides.
Notes
  • Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.
  • If you do not have a cast iron skillet, coat a large rimmed baking sheet with up to ¼ cup olive oil.
  • Do not substitute canned chickpeas for dried chickpeas here! I made that mistake once and ended up with sad falafel pancakes.
  • Although I haven’t tried it, the original recipe notes that the uncooked falafel patties can be refrigerated on a parchment-lined baking sheet, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 2 hours before baking.
  • I’ve found that falafel freezes well, too. It might be a little less crisp after defrosting but it is still very good!

Creamy Tahini and Dill Dressing
(Similar to my creamy tahini and miso dressing.)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions: In a small food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend well. You can also whisk the ingredients together by hand in a small bowl, just note that you’ll need to chop the fresh herbs and zest more finely than you would if you were using a food processor.

Falafel Salad

Ingredients:

  • Spring mix
  • Cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • Cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Kalamata olives, sliced
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Whole wheat pita bread, warmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • Baked falafel
  • Creamy tahini and dill dressing

Instructions: In a salad bowl, combine all of most of the ingredients to your desired proportions. Enjoy!

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Comments

  1. says

    This recipe looks lovely! Even if summertime weather is starting to arrive and no one wants to use their oven in the heat, I really appreciate that the falafel is baked rather than fried!

    Oh, you’re one-upping me on counteracting the computer bum syndrome. I hadn’t even considered doing lunges around the perimeter of my little one bedroom apartment!

  2. says

    I know what you mean in regards to spending too much time in front of the computer. I hate it sometimes. the falafel looks amazing!

  3. says

    Keep working hard and it will pay off! The progress you’ve made on this bloggidy-blog in the past year and a half has been incredible. I’ve never made falafel before…you eat so healthy!!

    • says

      Thanks, Heather! You’ve been following along for a long time and your support means a lot to me. You should try making falafel, it’s easy!

  4. says

    Ah I wish I was having this for lunch today! Oo can’t wait to see the magazine :) I also spend a lot of time in front of the computer. Lately I’ve been forcing myself to get outside for a walk during the early afternoon. It’s a nice way to clear the mind and get a little bit of exercise in (in addition to my exercise routine). I always seem to get inspired or solve a problem during those walks too.

    • says

      You know, I think my walks with Cookie are what are keeping me sane. We go out on a brisk walk around the block at least a couple of times a day and that’s when I get my best ideas!

  5. says

    Oh, man! My heart goes out to you. Sucks when you feel like that. Were I a doctor, my prescription for over worked-ness would be to take a long walk in the sunshine with a good friend! Or maybe just cookie. Anywho, wish this salad would pop out of the screen and get into my belly right now. I’m haangryy.

  6. says

    I WANT THIS. And omg, “computer bum.” That’s it! I’ve been wondering how this gigantic sack of goo ended up my backside and ohhhhhh blooogggiinnnngggggg.

    • says

      Good question! I think that cooked chickpeas have absorbed too much moisture. When I used them in place of dried chickpeas, the mixture was way too wet and flattened out while cooking (hence falafel pancakes).

  7. says

    Yes, computer bum. I feel I’m forever in a race against it.
    Thanks for being here, tiring as it is. You add an important voice. Can’t wait to see what else you’ve been up to (magazine etc.) + Falafel looks fantastic!

  8. says

    Thanks for posting this! I’m not a huge falafel fan myself (I knew when I didn’t like it in Israel, I wouldn’t like it ever haha) but my friends LOVE it. This recipe looks simple enough so I might have to use it for a party soon!

  9. says

    Ok, so this may sound super weird, but one thing you can do is booty lifts. When I’m cooking or doing dishes, I balance on one leg and lift my other leg back, hold for 2 seconds, let go, and hold again. Repeat 10 times, 2-3 sets each side (I also make sure to tighten my abs when doing this). Sorry to hear about being swamped with work, it happens! I’m a slacker and so when I’m swamped, I can’t breathe! Good luck and can’t wait to see the new things coming up in your blog!

  10. says

    I’m experiencing computer bum right now while I type this. It’s been 2 hours since my last break from this chair. Luckily, my home gym is about 20 steps away and I’ll be heading there shortly!
    Falafel is something I’ve only experimented with once at home. It was good, but not great. I love the stuff though so I’m definitely up for trying this! I just need a cast iron skillet. Somehow I’ve gotten this far in life without one but it’s that one “gadget” I often wish I had.

    • says

      You definitely need a cast iron skillet! Thank goodness for my pilates mat, I know I’d never make it to the gym regularly!

  11. says

    This is one of my favorite meals! I am with you though – I have a hard time with baked falafel because they are sooooo dry. I usually cook them in a non-stick fry pan with just a touch of oil. I can’t wait to see what exciting things you have going on!

    • says

      Maybe try adding a bit more oil to the pan next time? A little bit more fat, a lot of more flavor, I would assume! Can’t wait to share what I’ve been working on, it will all be out next month!

  12. says

    I can so relate. I put an insane amount of work into teaching myself photography & learning new, mad kitchen skillz. For $0. I’m a big fan of being an autodidact (free education when you do it yourself!) especially with the current state of educational institutions, culinary included. My philosophy/creative writing degree isn’t gonna do me much more good than blogging. Probably less! Working hard for free + a day job in the mean time in the hope that it will lead to opportunities to do what I love for a living is scary. I try to remind myself that what I love is very far from a computer screen: food, art, relationships. The computer screen is merely a modern means to an end. Ok. Enough!

    I have a big bag of dried chick peas in my pantry destined for falafel along w/ tackling homemade pita for the first time. Soon my pretties.

    • says

      Yes yes yes to everything you just said! Your hard work and persistence will pay off, I know it. It’s really about time I learned how to make my own pita bread. Smitten Kitchen has a rather tempting recipe so I’ll try hers first!

  13. Marcia says

    I hear what you’re saying about being done with certain cookbooks! I’ve been dealing with one such volume myself. Kept thinking it was me! Live and learn, eh?

    As for life being off-balance, seems to be something in the air lately, because boy, can I relate! I find that good food like this is a solid step toward turning such times around. Love the deconstructed approach! Thanks for a great post, Kathryne.

  14. says

    I have to try this! I love falafels, but they always feel a little heavy being fried in all that oil. And I can’t agree with you enough, but it good to hear other people feel like they spend way too much time with their computer!

  15. Elissa says

    Looks delicious – can’t wait to try these out! Also love that you say pup-a-lup….I call our dog that all the time, and have never heard another person say it :)

    • says

      Oh that’s funny! I think I heard my friend call Cookie a pup-a-lup and it stuck. I have so many names for her… it’s pretty silly.

  16. says

    Oh that feeling is the WORST. Even though I just got back from a fabulous trip, I’m definitely feeling like this summer is going to be a lot of work. I’m trying to avoid that dreaded burnout (like you, I’m excited on everything I’m working on, but slightly overwhelmed!). This is my kind of recipe – love falafel but really like the idea of making it a little healthier!

  17. says

    I had to comment because I am totally in the same place right now. Every time I find myself still at the office at 9pm my first though is “I miss my liiiiife” quickly followed by “this job is going to make me fat.” Maybe hourly lunges are the trick… hopefully my coworkers don’t think I’m too weird if I adopt your habit!

  18. says

    “Computer bum” …i always have to look out for it!!! **groan** I love the idea when one makes a baked version of a fried foodstuff.. makes you feel less guilty especially when I have to worry about a computer bum!!! :)

  19. says

    Grandmothers sure know their kitchen gadgets, don’t they?
    Some sort of baked falafal has been on my Want To Make list foreeeevvverrrr. This looks like the perfect recipe to finally try!

  20. says

    I love making my own falafel – it’s the perfect packed lunch to take into the office. Sometimes I use broad beans instead of chickpeas, or mix in some baked pumpkin or squash – it’s also delicious with green peas or even made with split peas. Such a delicious and versatile recipe and yours looks gorgeous :-)

  21. says

    haha, this was awesome. beep bee boop boop is how i communicate too sometimes after hours of looking at the screen, dry-mouthed and forgetting all of my italian. congratulations on all of your side projects, can’t wait to see, and hang in there!

  22. says

    Wow! I love this blog, it’s so clean and the photos look lovely. Also, I’m so pleased to find a vegetarian blog as I am also veggie :) I’d love it if you would take the time to check out my blog also!

  23. says

    Dark chocolate and cheap champagne always seem to develop household chores into a little more of a glamourous Saturday night – work it, girl.
    As busy as life gets, i’m always delighted to stop by and read what you’ve been up to, and it makes me giddy to see your well deserved success beginning to blossom.

  24. says

    I kind of majorly love that we were both craving falafel this week (I have a stuffed eggplant version on the blog right now!). It must be in the air. Or a too-much-computer-induced craving. Cause I’m feeling a lot of that right now.

  25. says

    I actually used the term computer butt to my friend just this morning. I know what you are feeling, and lunges & this salad are exactly what I need.

  26. says

    Is it weird that your Saturday actually sounded sort of wonderful? Can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on…super-star! :)

    • says

      Miso is magic! So far I have only tried white miso. I think I read somewhere that white miso is the most mild flavored. It’s also the type specified by the original dressing recipe and I think that a colored miso would turn the dressing a funky color. I just googled miso to make sure that yellow miso is indeed yellow and found this article on the kitchn: http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-white-yel-79637, that explains it all better than I can!

  27. says

    Stay sane and get outside for a walk and some fresh air! That’s my two cents and what I try to do when I find myself spending too much time in front of the computer screen. And as far as those lunges go I’d say about 9. ;-)

  28. says

    I absolutely agree with you. A food processor and a cast iron skillet. Total essentials for any kitchen! (And cheap champagne! Obviously.)

  29. Kerry says

    I can’t wait to try this! I just had my first falafel a few days ago, and I loved it! I’ve been thinking about how I would make it at home ever since. This recipe looks great, and probably a lot healthier than the deep fried version!

  30. jacquie says

    these look wonderful and i so want to try making them. however, i do not have a food processor. Any suggestions on how to make them w/o one? or is it essential to have one?
    thanks.

    • says

      Hey Jacquie, that’s a great question and I wish I knew what to tell you. I’m not sure how you could chop up the chickpeas by hand like a food processor would. You might be able to use a blender’s pulse setting to chop up the ingredients, in which case you’d probably want to work in small batches. I googled it and it other suggestions included using a meat grinder, a mixer with a paddle attachment or a potato masher. Sorry, I wish I could give you a better answer! I wasn’t sure what to do with my food processor when I got it, but I just keep finding more and more uses for it! It’s really an indispensable tool in my kitchen, hope you can get one someday soon!

  31. says

    Kate, this is one of my fave quick meals, but I would love to try your baked method and the tahini + miso dressing – yum! My hubby and I did a riff on a falafel salad like this every week for about a year, and I can’t wait until my diet allows me to have a little more of the good stuff like this!

    I’m a first time visitor and am loving – and so, so appreciate – your recipes with beautiful, whole, natural foods. Got to go, to read more! Lucie x

  32. Jessica says

    Ooooh! This looks super yummy! *bookmarks*. I love falafel and my favourite bar/restaurant does an amazing falafel burger but it’s not something I’ve ever tried to make myself. I may give this a shot this weekend :)

    • says

      Hope you get a chance to try the falafel, Jessica! I tried making larger (almost burger-sized) versions of these and definitely preferred the smaller size, because it meant more crispy edges! Yum.

  33. says

    I doubled the recipe, added nutritional yeast and found that I liked the batter as a raw spread. I’m going to blanch some kale leaves and wrap them up inside with nutritional yeast salad dressing from the Hollyhock cook book and eat them with tomatoes from the garden.

    • says

      Great idea, Ofelia! I was surprised that I liked the raw batter since it uses soaked (instead of fully cooked) chickpeas. I wonder if it would be easier to digest with cooked chickpeas?

  34. Alice says

    I found your blog by searching for “baked falafel” and I’m glad I did. I just made this and it was awesome, the other recipes look great as well. Thanks!

  35. eric says

    dried chickpeas+cast iron+baked=exactly what i was looking for. thank google.

    i must be demented because i only looked up this recipe as something to do on a sunday, not because i necessarily need or want food.

    sans food processor (i agree with your statement that it is a very useful appliance but there is no chance of that kind of available real estate in this kitchen) i will be using a chef’s knife and/or my molchete to grind up the chickpeas but again, i was just looking for something to do.

  36. marisa says

    i initially came across your blog looking for whole wheat muffins- i made your recipe for whole wheat blueberry muffins w/yogurt and it was AMAZING (i made several more batches this past weekend). this was the second one of your recipes i have made and you are 2 for 2! this was a perfect healthy dinner for my family! thanks!

  37. Michelle says

    I can’t wait to make this whole recipe for a girls night I’m hosting soon! I don’t know if this is somewhere in the post but I couldn’t find it, can you tell me how many falafel patties this makes? I just want to make sure I make enough for 8 girls to enjoy!

    • says

      I’m so sorry for the delayed response, Michelle. If I’m counting correctly, I think the recipe yields 13 to 14 little patties, so you’d probably want to double it at least.

  38. says

    I loved the idea of these and they tasted great but I found it SUPER hard to get the mixture blended up. I tried my sister-in-law’s Vitamix which is like an industrial food processor and we still had to add extra oil and give the machine a rest when it was overheating. Anyone have any ideas on how to make this part easier next time?

    • says

      Hey Shawna, I’m sorry you’re having trouble blending up the falafel mixture. You are soaking the chickpeas first, right? I know older beans can take longer to soak up water and cook. I didn’t have a hard time blending them up in my hand-me-down food processor, so I’m not sure what to suggest. I’m sorry!

  39. Danielle says

    AWESOME tahini dressing!!! I just wanted to drink it. Great recipe. Next time I will soak the chick peas overnight for easier blending…but I could only wait 1.5 hours because I just wanted homemade falafels NOW lol. mmmm…soo good. I love you Kate.

  40. Angela says

    Thanks Kate,
    I have never attempted baked Falafel before,and this was so easy and delicious. Just what I was looking for. So happy to find your site as I am in desperate need of some culinary inspiration!!

    • says

      Thanks, Angela! I’m glad the baked falafel turned out well for you. I much prefer baking falafel to frying them at home—I’d probably catch my kitchen on fire! Please let me know how my other recipes turn out for you.

  41. Mark says

    Love love love this recipe!! Tried other baked falafel recipes before but had not that were this good! I think it’s the cinnamon which seems to make them seem a little bit indulgent!

    Awesome recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  42. Janelle says

    I made the mistake of boiling the hell out of my chick peas and was terrified they would come out disgusting. They were pretty mushy, but I was able to neutralize it by adding breadcrumbs. I would def recommend the stated directions , but if you screw up, you can fix it with breadcrumbs. I also recommend more cilantro but that’s just my preference. Taste wise these came out great! Texture – my fault, but still delicious with pita!

  43. Ashlyn says

    What if the grocery store I shop at only has canned garbanzos & no dry? Is there anything I can do/add to the mixture to compensate for only having canned?

    • says

      I’m sorry, Ashlyn, I’m really not sure how to compensate for the difference. I can usually find dried chickpeas in the dried goods section (by the rice) at grocery stores or in the bulk sections at health food stores, if that helps.

    • Sherry says

      I just made this with canned chickpeas and added breadcrumbs to help avoid the pancake effect. It worked well and was delicious!

  44. Rena says

    I just made the baked falafel and loved them! I cut down on the olive oil and blended the mix with an immersion blender because I don’t have a food processor. It turned out great. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe.

  45. Larry says

    Thanks for the recipe. I found them pretty dry, however. I followed the stated ingredients verbatim with the exception of subbing basil for the cilantro & parsley (simply based on what was on hand). Good flavor but definitely a little dry. I will say, WAY better than the attempted batch using canned beans last night (ugh, what a nightmare fit for only the trashcan or as a dip).

    • says

      Hey Larry, I have experienced a similar recipe fail with canned beans before. I’m sorry you thought these were dry. Not sure what caused the problem. I tried making large falafel patties with this recipe before but the larger size made them seem dry in the middle. Maybe make them a little smaller next time?

  46. says

    This is my go-to falafel recipe now! Thank you so much for this. I recently discovered an amazing falafel place which has rekindled my desire to make these, so I’m about to embark on a falafel making extravaganza.

      • Sarah says

        Omg i obviously dont know how to read. -_-” the whole time i was like thinking of cooked chickpeas when it says in the directions that its supposed to be dried and soaked! im having a diaster right now! I cant seem to flip my falalel! I was looking on google and some people put the temperature up to 400F so i tried that now…its almost getting crispy. *crosses finger* hopefully this will work!

        • says

          Uh oh! I’m so sorry about that, Sarah. I had a similar experience with canned chickpeas one time. Hope your falafel was salvageable!

          • Sarah says

            Kate, it actually worked! I just turned up the temp to 400 F and cooked it a bit longer and it was great! It wasnt as crispy as I hoped but I used coconut oil instead so maybe thats why? I dont know but I just had it with some ezekiel tortilla bread (bc I have eczema and I’m sensitive to gluten!) and I topped it with some homemade tzatiziki sauce and some cucumber and onions and it was delish! the only problem i had was it was kind of too salty but that was my fault haha bc i used cooked chickpeas so im sure there was salt already in it! But otherwise, it was good! I had the leftovers for lunch today haha!

  47. Juliana says

    Hi Kate,
    Thanks for the recipe! I’m going to make them tonight, they seems delicious.
    Just one question… Have you ever tried to freeze them? I know they will lose their crispiness but I’m trying to have some to-go friendly meals for my toddler and thought this could be a hit. Even better if i can freeze them and pull it out as needed.
    Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Juliana, great question! I vaguely recall freezing some of my first batch of falafel and I thought they were still very good once defrosted. High five to your toddler for liking falafel!

  48. says

    I just made your baked falafel and ZOMG, they were truly amazing! I have vowed to make these weekly now…it’s like, little crispy bits of Mediterranean paradise in your mouth!

    I also blogged about them, giving you credit, if you’re interested. Thanks for the inspiration, I love your blog!

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