Baked Falafel Recipe with Tahini Sauce

Ah, now that all the Super Bowl craziness has subsided here in New Orleans, we move straight into the final stretch of Mardi Gras season. Finally, after Mardi Gras, we’ll have a little time before festival season gets into full swing.  It’s rare when there’s nothing going on here. But we like it that way.

Although totally unrelated to Mardi Gras or New Orleans really, today I present to you a baked falafel recipe with a tasty tahini sauce. I am a huge fan of falafel, but it’s just not something we really get a lot of here in New Orleans. However, we do have a new food truck called Fat Falafel that parks in my neighborhood on Tuesday nights. Once I get back from vacation, I’m definitely giving them a try.

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But for those of you who aren’t fortunate enough to live near a steady falafel source, you can easily make your own. I personally got tired of doing without falafel a long time ago so I decided I needed a recipe of my own.  I’ve actually had this recipe under my belt since August (!!) and am just now sharing with you. It’s been a wild fall and winter, what can I say? Better late than never!

A big deterrent to some people with falafel is the fact that most recipes call for dried chickpeas (which need soaking) and the frying (which is messy, at best). Well guess what, this recipe has neither! I’ve used the canned chickpeas and as the recipe’s title indicates, we’re baking these. They’re still crispy on the outside, and they’re even healthier since there’s no deep frying.  Let’s jump into the ingredients and method and then we’ll go straight into the recipe!

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Overall this recipe is very easy to execute. We’ve got a few steps and some wait time, but I think you’ll find this one fairly easy to execute and well-worth the time it takes. We start with our key ingredients below. This is a very “herby” and “spice-y” recipe (meaning – filled with herbs and spices!). The falafel mixture is packed with flavor from cilantro, garlic, onion, cumin and coriander. The fresh onion and garlic give the falafel a pleasant texture.

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Almost all the ingredients for the falafel itself are put into a food processor and whizzed into a paste of sorts. You’ll mix all the “dry” ingredients beforehand in a bowl. I like to do this so that what’s going into the food processor is already mixed up a bit. That way the food processor isn’t stuck doing all the work.  A few manual mixes in a bowl can go a long way in ensuring uniformity of the falafel base.

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After we’ve mixed up the falafel, we now have to shape it into flat disks to be baked. Below I’ve got all the equipment you’ll need to make this go smoothly. Make do with what you have if you don’t have these things but this is the best combo I’ve come across. I’ve got to thank my friend Phil for the grill brush (wedding gift). I use it all the time – not for grilling – but for instances just like this.

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Shaping the falafel is rather easy. But make sure you’re using that little bowl of flour on your hands so that the falafel doesn’t stick. The falafel mixture is going to be rather sticky. Use the tablespoon to measure out what you need, shape it into a flat disk and place on the baking tray. Done. Well not yet…. You need to use that grill brush to coat each side with olive oil. This will help the falafel to brown and crisp.

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Now the part no one likes – the waiting. The falafel dough will be very soft and pliable. You’ll want to refrigerate the disks for a couple of hours so the falafel can dry a little and firm up a bit. This will help them to be firmer in the end, and they’ll bake better and be crispier. So if you can’t wait, you can bake them right after forming, but as usual, waiting produces the best product in the end.

Let’s skip to when they’ve been baked and you’re ready to eat! (my favorite part). You can garnish these any way you like. As you see below, I’ve served them with sliced tomato, cucumber, pita and a tahini sauce. You may recognize this tahini dip as the dressing from my kale salad.  They’re one and the same. Eventually that sauce will get its own post. It’s so good!

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So now I really, really want falafel.  Let’s get to that recipe so you can get to cooking!

Yield: 12 falafel disks (3 servings)

Baked Falafel Recipe with Tahini Sauce

This baked falafel recipe is as healthy as it is tasty. It's vegan and packed with protein. Serve with pita, cucumber, tomato and tahini sauce for a delicious, well-balanced meal.

Ingredients:

Falafel:
  • 1-15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour in a small bowl
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil in a small bowl
Garnish:
  • 3 pitas or pocketed flat bread
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced
  • 1 English cucumber, quartered and sliced
  • Tahini sauce (recipe below)
Tahini Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley

Method:

  1. Add the first 11 ingredients (from chickpeas to the two tablespoons of flour) to a bowl and mix well.
  2. Transfer mixture to a food processor and process until smooth, adding the olive oil as you start the processor. Once processed and there's no large lumps left, scrape back into the mixing bowl.
  3. At this point, you should get the rest of your equipment together so that the shaping of the falafel goes smoother. Gather: baking sheet, silpat (or parchment paper), grilling brush and a tablespoon. This is where you'll also use that 1/4 cup of flour in a small bowl and the extra two tablespoons of olive oil.
  4. Use the tablespoon to scoop the falafel mixture. Make sure your hands are dry then dredge your fingers into the flour before taking the falafel from the spoon. This will help the falafel to not stick to your hands as much.
  5. Shape the falafel into a small round disk and place on the Silpat. Repeat the process until all the falafel are done.
  6. Brush the tops with olive oil and then flip them over carefully and brush the other side.
  7. You could bake them at this point but you are better off refrigerating them for 2 hours to firm the ingredients.
  8. Once you are ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 400 ºF.
  9. Cook the falafel for 10 minutes on the first side. Carefully flip them with a spatula and the cook on the second side for 15 more minutes. A light crust will appear on the outside.
  10. While the falafel is baking, prepare the tahini sauce and the cucumber and tomato slices. To prepare the tahini sauce, place all ingredients in a tall narrow container and blend until smooth with an immersion blender.
  11. When the falafel is done, serve with pita, sliced tomato, sliced cucumber and tahini sauce.

Prep:30 minutes

Cook:25 minutes

Total:2 hours, 55 minutes

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23 Responses to “Baked Falafel Recipe with Tahini Sauce”

  1. Liz DellaCroce — February 6, 2013 @ 10:28 am

    I can’t wait to try this – sounds incredible!!! Right up my alley!

    [Reply]

    Addie K Martin Reply:

    Thanks, Liz! It’s one of those dishes that feels like an indulgence but is really super good for you! ;) I know you’re all about those!

    [Reply]

  2. Jonnie — February 6, 2013 @ 10:33 am

    I want to make this!!!!!! But I don’t have that fancy chopper/blender thing. Also, your blog is beautiful!

    [Reply]

    Addie K Martin Reply:

    Thanks for visiting, Jonnie! I highly recommend getting some type of food processor. Even if it’s just a mini-chop. It really opens up the types/number of recipes you can make. :)

    [Reply]

    Jonnie Reply:

    Thanks, Addie! I’ll look into this. Do you have any recommendations? Since I’m new to the cooking scene, something more budget friendly is preferred. At least until I master my cooking some more!

    [Reply]

    Addie K Martin Reply:

    If you’re getting a mini food processor, you can get an Oster or Black and Decker brand for $20 or less. You can invest more in a full sized food processor and get a Cuisinart or KitchenAid one for around $100. I actually have both machines because sometimes you need to get a big job done and sometimes a small job. My bottom line recommendation – start off with a reliable brand of mini food processor and then move on into a full size one.

    Let me know any time you have any questions, I am happy to help you navigate the cooking world!

  3. Tanu — February 12, 2013 @ 7:30 am

    I made this last night. it was delicious. thanks was the recipe. will keep visiting your blog regularly.
    have a great day !

    [Reply]

    Addie K Martin Reply:

    Thanks, Tanu! I appreciate the feedback and the visit to the site! :)

    [Reply]

  4. Kait — February 18, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

    Just searching the internet for a quick simple falafel recipe to throw together for dinner tonight – this sounded perfect (and your pictures are great). Then I noticed where you’re living and thought it was meant to be – I’m moving there in June. I live 3 blocks from THE move amazing falafel place and I am going to miss it dearly. I hope that falafel truck is tasty! Thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait to eat it for dinner! :)

    [Reply]

    Addie K Martin Reply:

    Hi Kait, so glad I could be helpful to you! And how exciting that you’re moving here in June. :) NOLA is a great place – I’m sure you’ll love it! Let me know how you liked the falafel!

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  5. Whitney — August 14, 2013 @ 10:06 am

    Hey thank you so much. Even living in Dearborn, Michigan (largest city population of Arab Americans), i cannot find a place that bakes their falafel. They all fry them. While all of these places have their own type of falafels, i am trying to be a bit more healthy. I also do not like the fact that they have so much salt in it. I will take out the salt and try this recipe. Thank you so much.

    [Reply]

    Addie K Martin Reply:

    I really hope you like this, Whitney! Let me know how it turns out! :)

    [Reply]

  6. Girassol — August 23, 2013 @ 10:07 am

    Hi! Is it ok to serve it at room temperature? I’m bringing them to a potluck, but even if I bake them the day of they probably will still lose some heat… Or could I warm them up in a microwave? Not sure if that would change the consistency. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Addie K Martin Reply:

    Yes, these are fine to serve at room temperature. And you could warm them in the microwave if you’d like. Perhaps cover them with a dampened (but thoroughly wrung out) paper towel. That should help to steam them warm instead of just the plain old microwaving, which might dry them out. Let me know how they turn out and what you did – either serving them at room temp or using the microwave to warm. I’m interested to know how either works out. :)

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  7. Betty Christensen — September 3, 2013 @ 12:09 am

    I make baked falafel ‘veggie burgers’. One can of garbanzos makes 4 burgers. I add chopped spinach to the mixture. I serve them on Multigrain Thin Buns. Very delicious and nutritious!

    [Reply]

    Addie K Martin Reply:

    That sounds so delicious, Betty! :) YUMMMM! I’ll have to try that next time. And thanks too for the tip with the blender. I can see that working beautifully (if not overdone as you said!). Thanks for the comment! :)

    [Reply]

  8. Betty Christensen — September 3, 2013 @ 12:14 am

    BTW, I don’t have a food processor but my blender works fine on ‘pulse’. Just don’t overdo it.

    [Reply]

  9. Jodi — February 11, 2014 @ 9:10 pm

    These are the best baked falafels I’ve ever had!! I’ve made them twice in the past two weeks since me and my hubby are obsessed and even doubled up on the recipe! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    [Reply]

    Addie K Martin Reply:

    I’m so glad you liked them, Jodi! :) I am also a big fan of this recipe. I just love falafel!

    [Reply]

  10. Alex — July 26, 2014 @ 9:00 am

    Fantastic recipe! These are delicious. Mine seemed a little thin after processing so I let them sit in the fridge overnight before baking and I added an additional 5 minutes to the cooking time. They came out perfect. A perfect size recipe too, it all fit in my mini cuisinart!

    [Reply]

    Addie K Martin Reply:

    Hi Alex, thanks for the feedback on this recipe as well. I found the patties to be a bit wet as well but I’m glad you found a combination of refrigeration and baking that works best for you. :) Overall, I’m glad you like the recipe. This is one of my favorite ways to have falafel!

    [Reply]

  11. Dandi — August 17, 2014 @ 12:49 pm

    Hi! I’m just about to make these. They sound yummy! Note that your recipe says onion powder whereas the photo says garlic powder. Which is it? Thanks for sharing.

    [Reply]

    Addie K Martin Reply:

    Wow, great catch, Dandi. I never noticed that. I would go ahead and use the onion powder since there’s already fresh garlic in the falafel. Sorry about that. I hope they came out well! :) Thanks for catching that error.

    [Reply]

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