You won’t have any problem filling up on this easy healthy baked falafel recipe. Bursting with Mediterranean flavors of lemon, parsley and tahini, this easy to make falafel recipe is sure to make a great impression! This version is low fat, vegan, gluten free, and baked to keep them heart healthy and figure friendly.
When I first started eating vegetarian food, I would come visit my dad in Philadelphia. About a year into me deciding to eat vegetarian, he was so excited to take me to the little falafel restaurant he discovered, knowing that the ingredients were all vegetarian. The place was a little hole in the wall but the falafel made such an impression on me that I asked to go there every time I came to visit for the next 5+ years. Living in North Carolina, most of the local restaurants didn’t serve many vegetarian options and there certainly wasn’t full restaurants dedicated to vegetarian food.
I can still remember biting into my first falafel pita. Stuffed with freshly made hot falafel, hummus, cucumbers, and just a touch of lettuce and tomato, the falafel pita was bursting at the seams. And I was in heaven! It was the first time I was really excited to try something new!
Traditional falafel are deep fried, but I try to limit my consumption of fried foods. Although I do believe in everything in moderation, I am a firm believer that if you can bake it instead, you should. Eating foods with added saturated fats (from things like deep frying) has been linked to increase in (bad) cholesterol. Deep frying food also adds unnecessary calories to a dish. I personally would rather fill my plate with heart healthy avocado than use those calories on fried foods.
Instead of deep frying foods, I like to add flavor with fresh herbs and spices. What I discovered was that spices and fresh herbs can really transform foods! Bland chickpeas take on a whole new, super tasty life when mixed with cumin, lemon juice, freshly chopped parsley and garlic.
Back to the falafel. Traditional falafel are made from mashed chickpeas, lemon juice, fresh parsley, onions and garlic. I decided to add my own flair to this dish. I added tahini to the falafel base, and also used a combination of chickpeas and red lentils, and the end product made me do a little dance when I took my first bite! This falafel recipe comes together quickly, and just have to bake in the oven before enjoying.
- 1 cup dry red lentils, cooked
- 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed
- 2 tbs. chopped red onion
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 tbs. tahini paste
- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbs. ground flax
- 1 tbs. coconut flour
- ¾ tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Cook red lentils according to package instructions (2 cups of water for about 15 minutes).
- While lentils are cooking, combine chickpeas, red onion, garlic, lemon juice, tahini paste, cumin and fresh parsley in a food processor. Process until mostly smooth (doesn't have to be perfectly smooth like hummus). Add the ground flax and mix again to combine.
- Transfer this mixture to a large bowl. Once lentils are done cooking, stir into the chick pea mixture. Add salt and coconut flour. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Add foil or parchment paper to a baking sheet. Spray with nonstick spray.
- Using a large spoon, measure out about a palmful of the chickpea and lentil mixture and form a patty in your hand. Please note, you can also make smaller falafel balls that you can use a 1 tablespoon to measure out.
- Once all the mixture is on the baking sheet, transfer to oven.
- Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
- To serve, add 2 falafel patties to a pita or flatbread. Add a layer of hummus to one side. Rest the falafel patties on the hummus. Add cucumber, lettuce, tomato, avocado (optional) and optional tahini lemon sauce.
What about you?
- Have you tried falafel before?
- What is a favorite dish you try to recreate?