Falafel - Baked Not Fried! ~ Diane's Vintage Zest!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Falafel - Baked Not Fried!

The title of the post sounds like something a pitchman would say in an infomercial!  Believe me, one taste of these and you'll be sold.  :)

Middle Eastern cuisine is incredibly flavorful with tons of spices, herbs, and fresh vegetables.  I grew up eating falafel, but it was always fried.  Is it just me, or does it not make sense when a vegetable is fried?  If you're going to the trouble of eating a healthy item, why fry it?

For those of you who have never had falafel, it's almost like a meatball using chickpeas or garbanzo beans instead of meat.  It is also just as easy to make, if not easier!

The recipe I use is Ellie Krieger's Baked Felafel with some minor modifications, including no chopping (yay!), shaping the falafel differently, and using hummus instead of tahini.  Enjoy!

Baked Falafel
Adapted from Ellie Krieger

Total Time: 50 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 40 min

1/4 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cayenne (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup parsley leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil

Romaine lettuce, chopped
Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Cucumber, seeded, peeled and chopped
Whole-wheat pita pocket breads, sliced open

1) Preheat oven to 425 F.

2) Pulse the onion and garlic in a food processor until roughly chopped.

3) Add the rest of the ingredients except 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Pulse until the mixture is slightly coarse and grainy.  Stop and scrape down the sides of bowl as needed.

Ignore the onion!  Pulse this first before adding the other ingredients!

Optional, but adds an extra kick!

4) Form balls with 1/4 cup of the mixture.

Falafel balls being flattened.  :)

5) Press the balls slightly to resemble a cookie.

6) Brush the "cookies" with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

7) Bake on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes, flip the "cookies" and bake an additional 20 minutes, until crisp and brown.

8) Toss the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl.

9) Fill warmed pitas with 3-4 falafel balls,  hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber.

My pita just before I wolfed it down.  I didn't even wait for the good camera, so a phone picture will have to do!

This is surprisingly filling and satisfying without being heavy.  The spices add a lot of depth of flavor and a slight kick (if you add the cayenne).  It comes together so quickly, so it is well suited for a weeknight dinner (and leftovers for the next day's lunch)!

Before anyone mentions it, pressing it into a cookie shape is optional, but I do it for two reasons.  First, I dislike when the inside of a falafel ball is still raw and the outside is dry and grainy.  Second, it's a bit difficult to eat a large ball in the middle of your sandwich.  You invariably end up with one side of the pita with all the balls, and the other with only vegetables.  The flat shapes don't shift while eating, and every bite has a piece of the falafel!

What is your favorite quick weeknight meal?


  1. These look awesome!! Cannot wait to try them! Pinned. :-) Visiting from Ladybug Blessings.

  2. Sound good to me! as a matter of fact,.,Awesome and I will try it! I've never had Falafel before but I love garbanzo beans! and the fact that is baked is even better. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Baked, not fried. Wow. I'll have to try this.

    Found you over at What's Cookin Wednesday. I am co-hosting Tasty Tuesdays
    this week and would love for you to link up this recipe.



    Lori’s Culinary Creations

  4. Love falafel. I've never thought to bake them for some reason...

  5. This makes me hungry! I'm going to try this out.

  6. I love falafel and this recipe sounds fantastic - especially knowing they're baked and not fried! I'd be thrilled if you'd come on over to Pink Recipe Box and link up at Creative Wednesdays: http://pinkrecipebox.com/creative-wednesdays-with-pink-recipe-box-2/

  7. Good! It's definitely a yummy treat!

  8. Me too! I've never deep-fried anything before, so it only made sense to try baking them. :)

  9. It is fantastic! I think practically everything that Ellie Krieger makes has been a hit at my house. :)

  10. This looks yummy, I can't wait to give it a try! Thanks so much for linking up to Krafty Inspiration Thursday at Krafty Cards etc. Be sure to check back next week to see if you have been featured.


  11. cool! Thank you for spreading JOY and sharing at the Oh What a HAPPY Day party.

  12. Thanks for sharing! I've been wanting to make falafel but in a healthier version. These sounds great!

  13. Sure! Hopefully yours turn out well. :)

  14. Hi Diane,

    I can't wait to try your baked Falafel, it will just be wonderful! Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope you are having a great weekend!
    Miz Helen

  15. G'day Dianne! I LOVE felafel too!
    LOVE is baked and your photo looks SO appetizing too!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Viewing as part of HAPPY Day Link Party


I love to hear your comments! And putting in your two cents is always free. :)