What Is a Falafel?
Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from chickpeas, fava beans, or a mixture of both. It originated from Egypt before spreading to the Middle East. It became a popular street food there, then spread worldwide because of its versatility, and is now very popular as a substitute for other unhealthy street and fast food.
Mine is easy to make, delicious and baked not deep fried like my Broccoli Fritters and my Cauliflower Hash Brown recipe. I added spinach to boost their nutritional value. Baked falafel is so tasty you won’t miss the fried version.
When we lived in Virginia, there were a few places in Fredericksburg that sold the best falafel ever, one, in particular, Smyrna Meditteranean Cafe, the owner used the olive oil that was imported from his family farm back in Greece. The local hospital would send their cardiac patients to his restaurant. I bought his olive oil and it was so fruity and delicious, none like I had tasted before.
At the time time, I never thought about making my own but as time moved on I wanted to recreate the same flavorful falafel and I believe that this recipe is amazing. The only difference, I used can chickpeas, gluten-free flour and I added spinach.
How To Make Falafel
Making your own vegan, gluten-free falafel at home is very easy. To make falafel, I used canned chickpeas, they hold up well when baked. Place chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, spinach, cumin, paprika, cayenne and salt in a food processor. Pulse until well blended. Add gluten-free flour and pulse.
For the flour, any gluten-free flour can be used or substitute all-purpose flour. Take pieces and shape into balls and then flatten to 1/2 inch thickness. Place patties on baking sheet, brush with oil and bake.
- 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 cup spinach leaves, loosely packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper, grease or spray with oil, and set aside.
- Place chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, spinach, cumin, paprika, cayenne and salt in a food processor.
- Pulse until well blended. Add gluten-free flour and pulse.
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl and form into a large ball.
- Take pieces and shape into balls and then flatten to 1/2 inch thickness.
- Place patties on baking sheet, brush with oil.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway or until golden brown.
- Delicious served with tahini sauce, recipe below!
- Combine tahini, lemon juice, garlic, water, allspice and salt in a bowl, stirring to form a thick creamy sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve.