Baked Falafels (Oil & Gluten Free)

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Easy falafels! These traditional, middle-Eastern balls tend to be the most readily-available vegan option in most supermarkets, restaurants, cafés etc. They are usually deep-fat fried, or shallow fried (on a pan). I find that this method of cooking destroys the beautiful flavours which are encased in the falafels. Baking ensures that no oil over-powers the herby flavours within. I use an air-fryer to bake my falafels. This is an alternative to a deep-fat fryer. However, An air-fryer uses extremely hot air to cook food – not oil (obvious, I know). My air fryer is the Tower brand. It truly is life changing!

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Fresh herbs make all the difference in this recipe. Of course you could alternatively use dried herbs, but this sacrifices the overall quality of the dish, in my opinion! Fresh herbs can be so easily sourced nowadays anyway. You can find coriander and parsley in most local shops (for pretty cheap too!). The greener the inside of the falafel, the better. Don’t be afraid to add even more herbs and spices – if you like your food quite spicy; add some chilli flakes or chilli powder to turn up the heat!

Falafels are the perfect addition to lunch boxes, sandwiches and pretty much every single meal! Bake them up and serve them as they are, or pop them into a pitta and call it dinner. I love my baked falafels served in typical Lebanese flatbreads, wraps or pittas,  smeared with homemade hummus and tahini. If I’m feeling like something lighter, I will pop them on top of a salad and drizzle them with a lemon and tahini dressing. Serve with oil-free, baked potato fries and you have got the perfect summer meal.

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These falafels are so quick and easy, and the perfect meal-prep idea. Store them in the fridge and pop them in the oven each morning throughout the week and simply enjoy them later in the day! They are cost-efficient and delicious. They are also low in fat and gluten free! I used gram flour (chickpea flour) in this recipe because; it is gluten free, plus; I find that it is a really good binding agent for any bean-based mixtures. This makes it the perfect add-in for this chickpea based dish. Gram flour is readily available from most health-food stores. Alternatively, you could use any flour which is available to you.

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Yield: 30 falafels (roughly).

Ingredients:

  • 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas (drained and rinsed well)
  • 1 white onion (red onion will also work here)
  • 1 & 1/2 cloves of garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 large handful of fresh parsley (30 grams)
  • 1 large handful of fresh coriander (25 grams)
  • 2 tsps of cumin
  • 1 tsp of salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp of black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp of tahini
  • 1 tsp of agave (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of gram (chickpea) flour

Method:

  • Add the rinsed chickpeas to a large mixing bowl.
  • Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic – add them to the bowl.
  • Roughly chop the fresh herbs and add them to the bowl – along with the dried herbs and spices.
  • Add the lemon juice, tahini and agave to the bowl and mix everything together well using a wooden spoon.
  • Once everything is evenly mixed, add the falafel mixture to a large food processor.
  • Pulse the mixture a couple of times. To ensure that the mixture is getting blended evenly, mix it using the wooden spoon between pulses.
  • This process is complete once the mixture is evenly blended. Ensure that you do not over-blend the falafel mixture. Onion and fresh herb pieces should still be evident in parts.
  • Return the mixture to the large mixing bowl.
  • Fold in half of the gram using the wooden spoon.
  • Use the other half to roll each individual falafel into its desired shape.
  • Take one dessert spoon measure of falafel mixture into the palm of your hand.
  • Add a pinch of flour to this serving, and roll it into a ball-like shape using your fingers against the palm of your hand. (add more flour if it is sticking to your hand)
  • Transfer this falafel to a baking-paper lined container.
  • Repeat this process for the remaining mixture (you can stack the falafels on top of each other by using baking paper between the layers).
  • Allow to firm up in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  • Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.
  • Add the falafels to the tray and cook on the middle shelf for roughly 20 – 25 minutes (or until golden brown), flipping the falafels halfway through. (If using an air-fryer; fry for approximately 15 minutes on high heat, flipping mid-way).
  • Serve with flatbread, homemade hummus and tahini.
  • Enjoy!

 

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