Baked Falafel {vegan & gluten-free}

I love to travel.

Welcome to Israel

I am so fortunate to have traveled to some amazing countries: Spain, Italy, Estonia, Finland, France, Jordan, United States, Jamaica, England… and there are so many more places that I am itching to visit… soon enough I hope! One of my favorite countries is one of the tiniest in the world: Israel. I have been twice (totaling 7 weeks) and there is still so much more to see, do and eat.

From touring the historic mosques and synagogues in Jerusalem, to taking Jeep rides in the dessert, to doing Jagerbombs in the clubs of Tel Aviv, to floating in the Dead Sea, to nibbling on dried figs and apricots in the markets; to sipping on iced Aromas… it is truly a magical place. I’m going to leave the politics of land and religion out and simply focus on the delicious food of this great country — the food that often combines tastes and flavors from all walks of life; go figure!

Eating falafel

The falafel. The BEST falafel you will ever eat is in Israel. When you bite into that perfect crispy, deep fried ball of chickpeas from Saul the falafel man at Mechaneh-Yehudah market you will know what I mean. Most Israelis claim the falafel as their own, but I am pretty sure it actually originated in Egypt. Well the Israelis certainly learned from the Egyptians because they make some good falafel.

I could eat balls of falafel like the KFC man eats popcorn chicken. I just think they are that good. But fried chickpeas are still fried chickpeas. If I’m going to eat that many, I decided to skip the oil and bake ’em up instead… without sacrificing flavor. (Okay, it obviously doesn’t taste like Israel but gimme a break).

Falafel2

I had a serious falafel craving after seeing Davida’s cauliflower tabbouleh… it reminded me of Israel. So I got out the food processor and got to work. Other than cleaning that annoying (yet amazing) food whirler these balls (hehe) are so easy! Throw in the ingredients, whirl it up, roll, bake, eat.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do… it’s certainly cheaper than a flight to the Middle East. But if you want to go… I’m down.

Falafel1

 

Baked Falafel {vegan & gluten-free}

Ingredients (Makes 10 2-tbsp-sized balls)

  • 1 can (14 oz, 398 ml) of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp. chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

3. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and combined.

4. Transfer mixture to a bowl and use your hands (so fun!) to form ten falafel balls, which should be about 2-tbsp in size (approximately the size of the golf ball).

5. Place the balls on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, flipping them halfway through.

6. Serve with hummus, tahini, lettuce wraps or cauliflower tabbouleh and enjoy.

Questions of the day…

Have you ever been to Israel? Do you enjoy falafel?

What is the best thing you ate while travelling and where were you? 

72 thoughts on “Baked Falafel {vegan & gluten-free}

  1. This looks amazing! My digestion can’t handle chickpeas well but Ive found a few cheeky felafels it does ok with so I am pinning this recipe to my new meal planning board on Pinterest and making it ASAP!

    Next holiday should be to Australia ;)

    Best thing I ate overseas was possibly pizza in Italy although all the food in Japan was amazing too!

  2. yummm i love falafel!! i love that you baked these, because i always have to remind myself that they are in fact fried, and i cant eat them like a regular health food. i want to try this recipe!! i love travel too, and im not ashamed to admit one of my favorite parts about traveling is the food :)

  3. These little balls look delicious! I’ve only had falafel once (which is crazy since I live in the Middle East), and it just so happened to be a box version. I’m wondering, how’d you like Israel? Joshua and I talked about going there sometime or another. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

  4. I have never tried this, but the girls at my work are like obsessed with it.. maybe I should’ve listened to them! Another recipe I need to book mark!

    -Elise @ 9toFit.com

  5. I freakin’ adore falafel…I’ve never made it at home though! And I’m so jealous of all your worldly travels…I love to do it, but I haven’t been across the ocean yet. Some sort of European tour is definitely on my bucket list.

  6. I love falafel, freshman year there was a restaurant near campus that I frequented just to get the falafel. Israel sounds like a fun country to visit! I have tried so many good foods while traveling, other than specific meals I don’t think I have a favorite country to eat in.

  7. I am SO excited about this! I make falafel from a mix (that I don’t particularly like) because I figured it would be way too hard to make, but I can totally handle this! I even have chickpea flour sitting around waiting to be used. Thanks for sharing lovely :)

    P.S. I would love to hop a plane to the Middle East. Blogger field trip??

  8. Woohoo! I adore falafel!!! So excited for this! And look at you … recipe-creating some awesomeness despite your food challenges! I would love to go to Israel sometime because I’ve heard such great things about it. I love traveling and exploring other cultures and have been fortunate to get to do a lot of it, but there’s still SO much more to see!

  9. I want to visit Israel so badly… a lot of my friends have been and LOVED it.

    I don’t know what the most epic food I’ve ever had is… I always remember these street noodles I bought from a vendor in Malaysia for $1. One of the best meals I’ve ever had.

  10. I needed this, thank you! I’ve always loved falafel but going gluten free a few years ago meant I was never sure if there was wheat in my falafel or not. I’m kind of too scared to even try. Until now! This looks fantastic and I am so glad you tested it and shared with us.

    Also, I’m kind of absurdly jealous of all your travels, lucky girl! And glad that you appreciate them – I was too young when my parents took us to foreign countries, and I sadly can’t remember most of them. I do remember one of the best meals I ever ate was a huge (maybe 28-person) paella in a little town in Spain. I can’t remember exactly what town or restaurant, but you can’t go wrong with rice and seafood and vegetables in a big bowl of herbs and spices!

    1. I am glad my parents waited until we were older. Definitely makes use remember and appreciate it. Paella in Spain is amazing and huuuuge. Let me know when you try out the falafel.

  11. Since I have an abundance of chickpeas… I might make this! Do you think I could substitute the chickpea flour with anything? I don’t have any of that. I have tried falafel in a wrap at a local Mediterranean restaurant and it was delicious, but I am sure it was nothing like falafel fresh from a vendor in Israel. You are lucky to have traveled so much!

    1. Abundance of chickpeas = falafel making in order (or hummus making). I think whole wheat flour or oat flour would work too! Let me know how it turns out.

  12. Yessss! I love falafel! But I definitely don’t love that they’re deep fried. This baked version looks awesome!

    Hmm the best thing I ate while traveling was probably this really amazing salted chocolate mousse cake at a restaurant in Portland, Maine. I will never forget it!

  13. LOVE falafel but chickpeas and other beans often hurt my digestion…but screw that I’m testing this recipe out without a doubt- although omitting that dirty green herb ;)

    Best thing I ate was ironically a pizza in INDIA. It was at the airport and the sauce on it was so spicy- it was amazing. Although you can’t beat gelato in Italy- the NON fruit flavoured ones.

  14. I went to Israeli in 2010 and it was such a dream. I would love to live there! Going to Israel is what actually turned me into a vegetarian :) All that fresh produce, hummus and falafel is like a foodie’s heaven. Your version looks amaaaaazing!

  15. Such tasty falafel, I prefer either baked or fried. Most of them are fried at some eats in different countries, but I like to have a bit of variety. Mmm, I want some of them with loads of tahini. I haven’t been to Israel yet, but I heard it was really touristy, but I’m sure there are other small cities that might be interesting to visit. The best falafel I had was in Budapest, it’s called Hummus Bar, and their hummus was amazing, creamy (not nutty like the ones in the U.S.) and had loads of spices, paprika, and gorgeous oil. The best thing I had whilst traveling was this awesome Thai restaurant, Pun Pun Vegetarian in Chiang-Mai, Thailand, it’s more about local Northern Thai foods!

  16. I agree with you, the falafel in Israel is absolutely the best. We have made our own baked falafel as well, but as good as baked falafel is, nothing compares to the real thing specially in Isarel.

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  18. I want to make this ASAP!! I love Falafel.. have you ever tried using a type of flour? I do not have chickpea flour but have coconut and almond flour.. thoughts!?

    1. I haven’t used another type of flour but I think oat flour would also be a good option. Otherwise I would try it with your almond, coconut would absorb the chickpea liquid too much I think :) let me know how it turns out… fingers crossed!

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