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What is falafel?

Falafels are associated with Middle Eastern cuisine and are fritters made by using legumes. Usually, most recipes call for chickpeas but I made black-eyed pea falafel instead. I chose black-eyed peas because they are great at incorporating flavors of other ingredients, while still providing their own original taste and texture. Since falafel is already traditionally vegan, it wasn’t that difficult to come up with a version of it.

Also try, Air Fryer Falafel Salad Bowl and Vegan Gluten-Free Baked Falafel

As a food that is accepted and loved on both sides of the Atlantic, we have seen a lot of people come up with their own recipes. Maintaining the traditionally vegan orientation of the recipe, we kept it simple so it is still the classic dish that you love but we made little adjustments to keep our food signature intact.

Falafel is a delicious dish that everyone raves about or is on the lookout for in their local area. It might be easy to make, but not everyone can get it right because most people underestimate the recipe. Local, non-Mediterranean restaurants don’t put too much thought or effort into them because they think not a lot of customers will order them off the menu, and those who do order have no option but to have them.

This misconception surrounding falafel can only be mitigated once we understand that they aren’t just healthy alternatives but a special part of Arab cuisine. Falafel did originate in societies that prioritized consuming meat-based protein, however, Middle Eastern and North African countries also relied on legumes to add variety to their daily intake. So when making falafel, it is not just an alternative. Falafel is in fact an important part of cuisine in Middle Eastern culture.

blackeyed peas falafel close up on a white platter

Is falafel healthy?

Recently many people have had health concerns because of digestive issues and chronic digestive problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Most people don’t take health concerns seriously and ignore what their body is trying to tell them. The fact of the matter is that some people cannot digest processed meat normally which results in stomach bloating that doesn’t go away easily.

Adding legumes and replacing meat-based protein with falafel recipes is a great idea to introduce change into your eating habits and to come to terms with the fact that change is not only required but can also lead you to the path of a vast palate.

Black-eyed pea falafel

What we love about falafels is that they can not only be eaten as a casual home-based meal but can also be served during the gathering and guest visits because it is so neutral that it can cater to everyone’s palate. Along with that, they can interchange with meat products in sandwiches, shawarma, etc.

Black-eyed peas have their own health benefits. They are very popular for weight management because they are rich in fiber and protein. Because of this, they take longer for our metabolism to break down. This means we stay full for longer, and don’t crave meals or food at odd times to fulfill hunger pangs.

They are also an excellent source of calcium, iron, and vitamins for example vitamin K that is important in blood clotting, an essential item for those taking blood thinners.

This baked Black-Eyed Pea Falafel is a great way to introduce yourself to a new experience and introduce your palate to a new experience. If you have been disappointed by local restaurants having given you an underwhelming experience regarding falafels then now might be a good time to try this recipe out!

What are black-eyed peas?

Black-eyed peas are a variety of cowpeas, although they are called peas, they are really beans. They are a pale cream color with a distinctive black spot.

However here in the South, we have many varieties of black-eyed peas with different color eyes, brown, red, pink.

Black-eyed peas nutrition:

  • Black-eyed peas are highly nutrient-dense, with each serving containing a good amount of fiber and protein. Additionally, they have different essential micronutrients, notably folate, zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, and thiamine.
  • Due to their high fiber content, black-eyed peas can improve digestion by facilitating regular bowel movements. This may be especially beneficial for individuals who suffer from occasional constipation. Additionally, black-eyed peas include prebiotic fiber, which provides food for good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Black-eyed peas contain complex carbs that digest slowly than simple carbohydrates. As a result, those who use them may have more prolonged feelings of fullness, which may help weight loss.
  • Evidence shows that frequently eating legumes may be beneficial for lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Lowering high cholesterol levels can help lessen your chance of developing heart disease. Eating legumes on a regular basis has also been associated with decreased inflammation markers, which may help lessen the chance of heart disease.
soaking black-eyed peas in white bowl

Falafel recipe:

  • Black-eyed peas
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Cumin
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Flour

Tahini sauce recipe:

  • Tahini paste
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic
  • Water
  • Sea salt
  • Ground allspice
processing black-eyed peas falafel in a food processor

How to make falafel?

  1. Preheat oven to 400℉.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, grease or spray with oil, and set aside.
  3. Place black-eyed peas, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne and salt in a food processor.
  4. Pulse until well blended. Add gluten-free flour and pulse.
  5. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and form into a large ball.
  6. Take pieces and shape into balls and then flatten to 1/2 inch thickness.
  7. Place patties on a baking sheet, brush with oil.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway or until golden brown.
  9. Delicious served with tahini sauce, recipe below!
Close up of falafels on baking sheet

How to make tahini sauce?

  1. Combine tahini, lemon juice, garlic, water, allspice, and salt in a bowl, stirring to form a thick creamy sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Use drizzled on your falafel for extra flavor and creaminess.

More Vegan Mediterranean Recipes To Prepare

  1. Vegan Greek Salad
  2. Vegan Chickpea Stew
  3. Stuffed Peppers
  4. Ratatouille Recipe
  5. Quinoa Tabouli
Black-eyed peas falafel overlay on a white platter

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Nutrition

(Per serving)
  • Energy: 55 kcal / 230 kJ
  • Fat: .5 g
  • Protein: 2.6 g
  • Carbs: 10.8 g

Cook Time

  • Preparation: 20 min
  • Cooking: 30 min
  • Ready in: 50 min
  • For: 8 Servings

Ingredients

Falafel

Tahini sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400℉.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, grease or spray with oil, and set aside.
  3. Place black-eyed peas, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne and salt in a food processor.
  4. Pulse until well blended. Add gluten-free flour and pulse.
  5. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and form into a large ball.
  6. Take pieces and shape into balls and then flatten to 1/2 inch thickness.
  7. Place patties on a baking sheet, brush with oil.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway or until golden brown.
  9. Delicious served with tahini sauce, recipe below!
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.