Healthy Falafel Recipe: If you’ve never had falafel, now is the time to try it! It has a unique flavor and texture that I find absolutely delicious on a salad, with hummus, or in a pita pocket. While the flavor is unique, it’s also mild, and is a perfect plant-based protein option!
what is falafel?
Falafel is a classic Middle Eastern street food made from chickpeas, beans, herbs, and spices. Falafel is typically shaped into either patties or balls and is a meatless option. While they are typically served deep-fried, this recipe is made healthier by using an air-fryer or a baking option.
Falafel is typically served with salad, in a pita pocket, with hummus or tzatziki, or even on it’s own!
what’s in this healthy falafel recipe?
Dried Chickpeas: The main ingredient and the base for this falafel recipe. It’s important to use dried chickpeas soaked in water opposed to canned chickpeas. Dried chickpeas will yield a better flavor and texture.
Herbs: Cilantro and Parsley, for flavor and added nutrients!
Garlic: For cloves to be exact!
Onion: This recipe calls for a white onion but yellow onion, red, onion, or shallots will work as well.
Lemon Juice: For contrast and flavor.
Olive Oil: For healthy fats.
Spices: Cumin, paprika, sea salt, and black pepper.
Baking Powder: The leavening agent to make these falafel’s rise slightly.
what kitchen tools do I need to make this recipe?
Food Processor: A food processor is definitely needed to make this recipe. In this case, a blender will not work because the falafel ingredients do not have enough liquid. Rule of thumb: when deciding whether to use a food processor vs. a blender for a recipe, it’s typically based on the amount of liquid. When using a food processor, you typically make things like pesto, hummus, falafel, or nut butter. When using a blender, you make things like soups, smoothies, pasta sauces, etc.
Air-Fryer: I personally use an air-fryer in this recipe, because I find it makes it the closest texture to traditional falafel. Falafel is typically served deep-fried in lots of oil, but the air-fryer doesn’t need any oil at all. If you don’t have an air-fryer, you can always bake them until golden brown and crispy, but it will take much longer to do so in the oven.
If you love this recipe, check out some more easy meal ideas here:
healthy falafel recipe
- Food Processor
- 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water for 24 hours minimum 6 hours
- 1 white onion roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 cup parsley
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin ground
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Start by soaking dried chickpeas (not canned) in a large bowl covered by about 3 inches of water. The chickpeas will absorb most of the water while soaking. Soak for 24 hours, or a minimum of 6 hours.
- After your chickpeas are throughly soaked, drain the remaining water and add them to the food processor.
- Also in the food processor, add onion, garlic, herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, baking powder, and spices (the rest of the ingredients). Pulse until throughly blended.
- Once processed, use your hands to gently form into 1 inch balls or patties. Spray with non-stick olive oil spray. Place in the air-fryer or on an air-fryer sheet and cook for 5-8 minutes at 400 degrees F.
- Once finished, they should be crispy and golden brown on the outside and green on the inside. Serve with hummus, in a pita, on a salad, and more!
- If you don't have an air-fryer, you can bake these as well. I find they are crispier in the air-fryer but great in both!
- Follow instructions until everything is processed and formed in to balls. Add to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake fo 25 minutes at 375 degrees.