Falafel is a great way to way to give veggies the chance to be the star at mealtime! These falafel are baked to give you a nice crunch without the hassle and extra calories you get from frying.
You may have noticed I’m on a little bit of a sheet pan kick lately. Using one is such a great way to get food nice and crisp without frying while making both cooking and prep easy. I love crispy falafel but like most of you, I don't really want to extra calories from frying. Falafel are naturally vegan and gluten-free, very nutritious and always super yummy!
They are a great way to make a plant-based addition to your regular lunch and dinner rotations at just about any time of year. I recommend making a big batch and reheating them the next day in your toaster oven or freezing some and defrosting when you are ready to eat! They are made with mostly staple ingredients, a lot of which you probably have in your pantry and refrigerator right now.
How do you get baked falafel crispy?
First, you start by coating a rimmed baking sheet with avocado or olive oil. This helps you to get the fried effect in the oven without having to drench them in oil. We are also making this falafel as patties instead of the traditional round balls you might usually see. Creating patties, which should be about ½ inch thick, helps them to cook more quickly and gives you more surface area to get browned and crunchy.
An easy way to get a consistent size patty is to use a dough scoop. Then you just flatten the balls out with your hand or a large spoon. I find they bake better when they are patties so that's why I flatten them out.
Do I need a food processor to make falafel?
Well, in a word, YES! To get the right texture a food processor is a must for this recipe. And frankly, in my book, it's a must-have kitchen tool! There are lots of options out there so if you don't already have one take a look at the two options below.
Meal Prep Tips
You can make the falafel during your weekly meal prep and either keep them in the fridge for a few days or freeze them if you are not sure when you are coking to cook them. Sometimes I'll make a double recipe and stash half in the refrigerator and half in the freezer. Then I've only got to clean the food processor once!
I also typically make the tzatziki sauce when I'm prepping for the week. It will keep for 4-5 days without a problem. I also typically chop veggies when I'm prepping so if you know this recipe is on your menu for the week slice the cucumber and red onion and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Both will keep for most of the week and you can use any extra in salads or rice bowls during the week.
Once you've baked the falafel you just need a little bit of warmed or toasted pita bread and an easy yogurt-based tzatziki dip. Then just pile on some of your favorite veggies - I like red onion and tomato - and dig right in! This recipe gives you a plant-based meal that is healthy too. Enjoy!
Things You Might Want for This Recipe
Cuisinart 9 Quart Food Processor – This 9-quart size food processor is perfect for smaller kitchens and families. It still gives you plenty of room in the bowl to make just about anything but takes up less space and is lighter than the 14-quart version.
Breville 12-Quart Food Processor – While I've not used this particular Breville model I've been very impressed with their small kitchen appliances and have heard good things about this model. If you want the flexibility of a bit larger model than the 9-quart version this could be a good option.
Sheet Pan Falafel
For the falafel:
- 1 15- ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup Italian parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the tzatziki:
- ⅓ cup greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons grated cucumber
- ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
- pinch of ground pepper
- two pita bread rounds
- tomato slices
- sliced red onion
- cucumber slices
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive or avocado oil.
- Add the chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro and parsley to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a standard blade. Pulse 7-8 times.
- Add salt, cumin, baking powder, lemon juice and oil. Pulse again 3-4 times then scrape down the sides. Pulse again until the mixture begins to form into a loose ball. It should be chunky.
- Using a spoon or scoop form the mixture into balls and place onto the baking sheet. You should get 9-10 balls total. Using your hand or a large spoon flatten the balls.
- Bake the patties for 15 minutes then remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully flip them over. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until crisp on the outside.
- While the falafel is baking mix the yogurt, cucumber, dill, lemon juice, garlic and pepper in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Also either warm or grill the pita bread just before the falafel is done. Slice into halves or quarters.
- Remove falafel from the oven. To serve you can either add the patties to the pita pockets or serve on top of the bread slices. Top the patties with tzatziki sauce and veggies then serve while warm.