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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.

Baked-Falafel-Recipe-with-Tahini-Sauce

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.

Baked-Falafel-Recipe-with-Tahini-Sauce-Key-Ingredients

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.

Baked-Falafel-Recipe-with-Tahini-Sauce-Processing-Ingredients

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.

Baked-Falafel-Recipe-with-Tahini-Sauce-Shaping-Falafel

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!

Baked-Falafel-Recipe-with-Tahini-Sauce-2.

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

Yield: 3 servings - 15 to 18 falafel disks

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 roughly chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 4 tablespoons fresh 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
  • 1/2 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 fresh 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.
    • You could bake them at this point but you are better off refrigerating them for 2 hours to firm the ingredients.
  7. Once you are ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 400 ºF.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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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