homemade falafel (gluten-free & vegan)

To make real falafel, you’ve just gotta avoid those canned goods.  And trust me, it tastes unreal.

When you get falafel on the street, in a restaurant, anywhere besides your home, it has this really lovely texture to it.  It’s cooked through, kinda crunchy, but mushy on the inside… the outside is browned, the aromas of cumin and some sort of green herb fill your mouth as you gobble it down with some tantalizing sauces and vegetables oozing more flavor into the equation.  It’s really lovely, and if and when you’ve tried to recreate that at home, it might not sing the same… if you’re using canned beans.

The trick to making good, decent falafel at home is soaking the beans overnight and blending them raw.  This way, you’re not making balls of starchy mash that are hard to fry and even harder to keep together.  This way, you’ve got that “al dente” feel to the things, and to boot, they’re healthier as you’re avoiding canned goods!

Falafel is way easier to make than I thought it would be!  I love this recipe, so please try it out and share it with your friends!  I hope everyone can make falafel at home… saves money, health, and having to change out of your pajamas on a Sunday afternoon.  😉

homemade falafel (GF & vegan)

Serves about 10 falafel balls
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Dietary Corn Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Nut Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soaked dried chick peas (aka garbanzo beans -- this recipe doesn't work the same with canned and drained ones)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon coriander seeds (grains)
  • a dash cayenne pepper (optional but good)

Directions

Step 1 Soak your garbanzo beans (chick peas) overnight or for at least 8 hours until they're inflated. Drain.
Step 2 Mix all ingredients in a blender or food processor until coarsely puréed. You're not making hummus, but need it to be fine in texture still.
Step 3 Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 180 degrees Celcius). Form the dough into desired-size falafel balls by spooning it out and rolling it in your hands.
Step 4 To cook, heat a few tablespoons olive oil in an oven-proof pan. Brown until golden on all sides (gently turning them over in the beginning as they've not cooked through). Pop the pan in the oven and cook for about 10 minutes, turning the falafels half-way through to ensure even cooking.
Step 5 Remove from oven, and serve with your favorite sides - I suggest roasted peppers, lettuce, tahini, cucumbers with yogurt, and gluten-free bread. Don't forget spicy sauce, too!

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