I can’t remember the first time I tried falafel. Surely, it must have been in college. That’s when I moved to the city and started exploring different cuisines. There are so many incredible Middle Eastern restaurants in Chicago, each with its own version of falafel that is delicious in its own right. My favorite type of falafel, and the favorite of most people I polled, is moist on the inside and crisp on the outside. This Crispy Baked Falafel is both. While traditional falafel is typically fried in vegetable oil, this falafel is baked. I’m really pleased with how it turned out!
The history of falafel is controversial; arguments about its origins are rooted both in culinary pride and political rivalries. But it appears that falafel was developed in Egypt, first appearing in Egyptian literature after the British occupation in 1882. Initially, falafel was made with fava beans, a staple in the Egyptian diet. You can still find falafel made with fava beans in Egypt, though it’s more common in the United States to see falafel made with chickpeas.
Perhaps you’ve seen homemade falafel recipes that use canned chickpeas as a shortcut. Canned chickpeas won’t work in this recipe. They are far too wet for the falafel mixture to hold together. Soak dried chickpeas in a bowl of water for 24 hours – this will provide a terrific base for falafel that’s fluffy and moist inside and crisp on the outside. Simply blend the ingredients in your food processor until they form a fine meal, then fold in baking powder and flour.
I borrowed the cooking technique for this Crispy Baked Falafel recipe from Cookie + Kate. Kathryne’s idea to essentially “fry” the falafel on a baking sheet in the oven is genius! A quarter cup of olive oil is all you need to coat the bottom of your baking sheet. Flip the falafel patties over for the last 10 minutes of baking to get each piece crisp and browned on the outside. Transfer the falafel pieces to a wire rack to cool slightly, then enjoy with pita bread, hummus, tabbouleh, and your other favorite accompaniments.
This Crispy Baked Falafel is a great meal prep recipe. Make a batch over the weekend and enjoy it in a wrap or salad for lunches throughout the week. Leftover falafel can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days and in the freezer for up to six months. Reheat in a 350F degree oven for maximum crispiness.
This Crispy Baked Falafel recipe is perfect for meal prep. Bake a batch over the weekend and enjoy for lunch throughout the week!
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked 24 hours
- ½ yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley, leaves and stems
- ½ bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
- 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (or gluten-free all purpose baking flour)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Pickled red onions
- Tabbouleh salad
- Pita bread or flatbread
- Fresh arugula
- Crispy fried onions
- Tahini sauce
- Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, jalapeño, salt, cumin, and coriander to the bowl and twist on the lid.
- Run the food processor until the chickpeas have broken down into a fine meal and the ingredients are well combined. You may need to pause and scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through.
- Scoop the chickpea mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the baking powder and flour. Place the bowl of falafel batter in the refrigerator for at least an hour to firm up.
- Preheat your oven to 375F degrees. Pull out a rimmed baking sheet and pour in the olive oil, tilting to coat the entire surface.
- Use a spoon to scoop balls of the falafel batter about the size of golf balls (roughly 2 tablespoons each if you want to measure precisely). Roll the balls between your hands and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. Use the palm of your hand or a spatula to flatten each falafel piece slightly.
- Bake the falafel for 25 minutes, then flip each piece over and bake 10 minutes more. When done, the falafel will be browned and crispy on both sides. Transfer the falafel to a wire rack to cool slightly.
- Enjoy the falafel on pita bread with hummus, tabbouleh, pickled red onion, and arugula, in a salad, or on a mezze platter.
- Serving size = 3 pieces
- Prep time does not include the 24 hours required to soak the chickpeas
- Nutrition info does not include serving suggestions