Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Homemade Falafel- Vegan and Gluten-free


Homemade falafel tastes the BEST! 
It's fresh, delicately spiced, absolutely delicious and can be made relatively easily in your very own kitchen! This is our favorite plant-based recipe that can be eaten for lunch or dinner.

What is falafel? It's a very popular street food in Middle Eastern countries such as Israel and Egypt.

All the ingredients can go right into the food processor and the machine will prepare the falafel mixture.
Once the mixture is ready, you make 15 medium size balls and you decide:  it's your choice whether to fry, bake, or air-fry. 

falafel balls

Since I recently invested in an air-fryer and have used it for very little other than making toast, I thought it was time to experiment.

I made 15 balls that I placed on the air-fryer screen ( I don't have a basket-mine is flat). I set the air-fryer for 15 minutes on 375 degrees and 15 minutes later we were oohing and ahhing over how amazing our falafel tasted. We were both surprised and delighted this new method since we have always fried our falafel in oil in a skillet in the past.

falafel cut in half

The air-fryer still requires that I use just a little oil.  I sprayed with a little oil once they were nicely laid out in my air-fryer.

I love the healthy ingredients that go into this vegan treat. It calls for an entire cup of fresh parsley, 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, 1/2 cup of chopped onion, 1 clove of chopped garlic or more to taste,  cumin, salt, pepper, and coriander. 

You will need to soak the dry uncooked chickpeas 12-16 hours, drain them, but do not cook them. Instead you will grind them in the food processor.

Born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, my husband remembers the falafel vendors on every corner on his daily walks to school. Personally, I've never been to Egypt but I have been to Israel multiple times where falafel is the favorite street food and can be found everywhere!

Falafel is traditionally eaten with shredded vegetables, pickled vegetables, coleslaws, and or sauerkrauts and stuffed into a pita pocket or can be eaten on a platter. When you order your falafel at a street vendor, you are able to stuff your pita with whatever appeals to you including french fries! It's usually topped with tahini sauce, hummus,(link to my homemade recipe) and or hot sauce.

Homemade Hummus (link) is delicious and easy to make 

The recipe that I am sharing is my mother--in-law's recipe for what she refereed to as a four syllable Arabic word called " ta-ah-may-ah! 

We enjoyed her taahmeyah on a plate smothered with tahini sauce, hummus olives and chopped salad.

The key was to eat it immediately as soon as it came out of the frying pan.

I love the interesting rich flavors that are used in Middle Eastern cooking. Coriander, cilantro, parsley, and cumin are not only extremely tasty but they also provide lots of protective antioxidants! Antioxidants are thought to help protect our bodies from the harmful effects of free radicals that are formed inside our bodies due to pollution, stress, aging, oxidation, injury, etc.

You will have to think about this recipe the night before because you will need to soak the dry chickpeas. You cannot substitute canned cooked chickpeas for this recipe. 

Falafel tastes best when it is first made. Top with tahini sauce or hummus and chopped salad vegetables, coleslaw, and pickled veggies.

You have the option to fry, air-fry, or oven bake your falafel. 

Which tastes best? Fried of course. There is nothing like crispy, out of the frying pan, fried falafel. However, air-fried is a good substitute 
Baked in the oven may be a little dry, but still not bad.

2 1/2 cups of dry uncooked chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
1 cup of fresh parsley, washed, dried, and stems removed
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, washed, dried, and stems removed
1 clove of fresh garlic
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of coriander 
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of cracked pepper
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

Directions to Fry Falafel: 
Drop spoonfuls of batter shaped in balls into hot oil in a skillet and fry on each side until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and enjoy immediately.

Directions: Oven Method
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Soak the washed chickpeas overnight in a large bowl of water for 24 hours. Discard water and add chickpeas to the food processor. Process until they get completely pulverized. Add the remainder of the ingredients and process on and off until everything forms a green mixture. When completely combined, use a spoon or a melon ball scoop to make 15-18 balls. Place on a cookie sheet that has been covered in parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with oil and place the falafel balls on the tray. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked.

Air-fryer method
Set the air fryer on 15 minutes at 375 ( Spray with some oil first)

You may enjoy other authentic Middle Eastern Vegan recipes that I've shared in the past.

Middle Eastern homemade crackers

Middle Eastern vegan pudding
               Mehalabeya Pudding (Easy)

Vegan Shabbat Dinner

Recipes for a full  Vegan Sephardic Shabbat Dinner : vegan stuffed red peppers, vegan stuffed eggplant, fragrant rice with cumin seeds, Egyptian red lentil soup, and roasted Brussels sprouts

Shared on The Intrepid Reader and Baker for Weekend Cooking.


  1. I adore falafel! Such a great idea of using AirFryer to make these...easy and fuss free!

  2. I've never made falafel from scratch. Reading your recipe and seeing the photos makes it sound and look so good. Maybe one of these days I'll give it a try. Will pin this post!!!

  3. I haven’t had falafel but you make me want to try it.

  4. These balls look so good and delicious!
    Seems rich of spices that I love, I'll give it a try!

  5. I absolutely love Falafel. I used to live near a great Falafel shop, and I used to go there all the time! I really miss that place. I've made Falafel out of a box before, but I've never made it from scratch. Your recipe really inspires me to give it a try.

  6. I love falafel. Sometimes I buy a falafel mix in a box, but your recipe sounds so delicious.
    I’m going to soak some chickpeas right away!

    Thank you Judee. 😊

  7. It looks like cheese/meat ball but it's vegan??!!! Really want to try it, thank you for sharing!
    Best Kitchen Utensils

  8. Yummy! It looks very tasty :) have a nice day :)

  9. This looks delicious. I must check out your other vegan recipes.xxx

  10. Thanks for your recent visit to my blog and your kind comments! We adore Middle Eastern cooking; I am so pleased to have found your blog and another source of recipes!

  11. What a great-sounding recipe! I love falafel but have never tried making it except from a box, which isn’t very good.
    thanks for the recipe.

    be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  12. I love falafel but have not tried making it myself. Your post makes me want to give it a try. ;-)

  13. I'm seriously going to try falafel one of these days, though that's been said before. Usually I avoid fried foods as much as possible as they can sit heavy in my stomach.

  14. I love falafel, Judee, but I've never made them myself. I really enjoyed reading your post and learning a bit more about them - and thank you for sharing your family recipe! Take care, and thank you for being a part of the Hearth and Community.


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