Originating in Egypt about 1000 years ago, the Falafel is the ultimate street food. Traditionally Falafel recipes have them deep-fried and served with pickled vegetables, drizzled with a tzatziki sauce, and wrapped in a flatbread such as my homemade Pita Bread. Spicy and crunchy, my healthy Baked Falafels are an awesome vegan meal (although check whether your tzatziki sauce is vegan), rumored to have been created to act as a meat substitute on Holydays.
My Healthy Baked Falafel recipe isn’t traditional. Let’s face it, I oven bake falafels because I’m lazy, haha, and I don’t want to clean my kitchen after deep frying a gazillion Falafels, and since they are not deep-fried you’re saving yourself a ridiculous amount of fat, calories, and cholesterol. My healthy, low-fat, low-calorie Falafel recipe not only saves you a ton of clean-up but they are also easier since the falafels all bake at the same time on a sheet tray.
Benefits to Oven-Baked Falafels:
- Baked Falafel has lower calories and fat. Deep frying falafels may give you a heartier crunch, but it also adds unwanted saturated fat, calories, and cholesterol.
- Baking Falafels is easier and less messy! When the sun shines through the kitchen window on my stove and I’m deep-frying something, all I can focus on is that ultra-fine mist of oil that is floating in my kitchen. That mist has to land somewhere, whether in the vent, the counters or on the windows, guess who has to clean it? Me.
- Baked Falafel Bites is one of my favorite things to do with this recipe. Using a tiny scoop, I can make a gazillion bite-size Falafel appetizers in a fraction of the time it would take to fry them.
- No need to refrigerate the mixture before baking. With other methods of cooking falafel, the mixture can fall to pieces if it has not been refrigerated for an extended period of time. With baking there is no waiting, you simply bake it until firm, then gently turning once,
One of the drawbacks of making traditional Falafels the deep-fried way is that you need to use dried chickpeas and soak them overnight to reconstitute them. Canned chickpeas do not work if you deep fry Falafels, they contain too much moisture and the falafels fall apart in the oil. Baking Falafels with canned chickpeas is no problem and, they are all ready to go at the same time, rather than frying them in batches.
How to make Baked Falafel?
- A food processor is the best and easiest way to make Falafels. You can mash the chickpeas mince everything by hand, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You want the mixture to have a slightly coarse texture, so don’t puree it smooth
- Preheat the oven and spray parchment-lined sheet trays with oil
- The Falafels take no time to make with the food processor, once the mixture is complete I use a kitchen scoop (ice cream scoop) to form the individual falafels. gently flatten them into a disk shape and bake, turning once after about 30 minutes. If the are still soft, bake a few extra minutes before turning.
What ingredients are in Baked Falafel?
- Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo Beans, Bengal Gram, or Chana. The main ingredient in these low calorie falafels, they are a good source of carbs, high in protein and fiber, and are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Canned Chickpeas are the easiest and fastest method. You can use dried chickpeas and soak them overnight, it is not as easy, but a lot of people prefer dry vs canned chickpeas.
- Red onion and garlic, these give the falafel great flavor and tons of antioxidants
- An entire bunch of parsley stems and all. This not only gives the falafel that beautiful green color but adds a tremendous amount of flavor as well.
- Flour and Olive Oil. The flour helps to bind the ingredients and the oil keeps the falafel moist.
- Spices! One of the huge benefits of baking falafels vs frying falafels is the smell. The mix of spices is so fragrant, it will make your mouth water in anticipation of the meal.
Rinse and Cook Canned Chickpeas Prior to Baking Falafels
I always boil chickpeas prior to making falafels, hummus, or other recipes with chickpeas in it. Raw or undercooked chickpeas are bad, let me tell you why.
Beans (chickpeas) contain a type of complex sugar called ‘oligosaccharides’. Unfortunately, humans do not have the enzyme in our bodies necessary to digest the type of complex sugar found in chickpeas. Raw or under-cooked chickpeas contain a significant amount of this sugar. The short baking time of the falafels is not enough to eliminate this problem.
The result of eating under-cooked chickpeas is that the oligosaccharides pass from the stomach into the large intestine undigested where it is consumed by bacteria causing fermentation. The byproduct of the fermentation is gas. Canned chickpeas should always be rinsed before making falafels, the liquid in the can is saturated in the complex sugars that cause gas. Therefore, rinsing canned chickpeas will remove a large percentage of the sugars that cause gas.
My Homemade Pita Bread and my Authentic Baba Ganoush are excellent additions to your Baked Falafel!
Try my Healthy Baked Falafels recipe once and I’m sure this will become your preferred method of making falafels. Since they are not deep-fried, they are healthier and lower in both fat and calories. You’re going to love my healthy, low-fat, vegan, good for you and delicious Baked Falafels recipe.
Here’s my Healthy Baked Falafel Recipe:
Healthy Baked Falafel
- 2 Cups Canned Chickpeas Drained, rinsed and boiled
- 3/4 Cup Red Onion
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- 3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
- 6 Cloves Garlic Crushed and chopped
- 2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Bunch Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley Stems and all
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Canned chickpeas should be drained, rinsed, and boiled for 15 minutes, Place in a small saucepan, cover with 2 inches of water and bring to a low boil.
- Place chickpeas in a food processor and pulse into very small pieces, but not completely pureed, you want some texture, transfer ground chickpeas to a large bowl
- Place all remaining ingredients in the food processor and puree until smooth, transfer to the bowl with the chickpeas and mix well
- Spray a parchment-lined baking sheet with oil, use an ice cream scoop to scoop the mixture directly onto the sheet tray
- Gently flatten the falafels with your fingers to make patties so they cook evenly
- Bake for 30 minutes, use a spatula to turn, bake for an additional 15-20 minutes
- Serve with Tzatziki Sauce, fresh or pickled veggies, tucked inside of freshly Baked Pita Bread