I remember the first time I ate falafel. I had never had anything like it and immediately fell in love with Middle Eastern cuisine. The ground cumin, coriander, garlic and other spices as well as the hummus with the falafel was incredible. It opened up a whole new world of flavors for me. My version of falafel patties is not authentic, but they are inspired by the flavors I love, and they are indeed delicious. These are oil free, healthy and so filling. I hope you will enjoy them as much as my family does.
Necessity is the mother of invention they say and that is how this recipe evolved. I came up with the recipe back in 2011 when our daughter was living in Spain and going to college there. The cost of groceries were so expensive and she couldn’t always find the ingredients she was looking for. She emailed me and asked me to come up with some recipes with food items that she could easily find that were inexpensive on a college students’ budget. She said she could buy canned garbanzo beans cheaply and asked me to come up with something as a main dish using them. We weren’t eating plant based back then but I did immediately think about falafel patties.
Being health conscious even back then I knew we wanted to avoid frying them, so I decided to make falafel patties. I tinkered around until I came up with this recipe. It was easy, inexpensive and used common ingredients. My original recipe had parsley in it but our daughter couldn’t find fresh parsley, so she subbed cilantro. When I tried cilantro instead of parsley, I liked them even better. It was a win – win!
We made this video a couple years ago and it was set aside and forgotten about. I recently made this meal again and remembered the video and we decided we would finally get it published. Hence the short hair in the video!
I love to serve this meal to company. It is naturally vegan, plant based so there is no expectation for it to be anything other than that. It is also so easy to make this meal oil free. It’s a favorite family meal as well. Perfect for hot summer days, but truth be told I can eat this all year long. I always double this recipe and freeze some for future meal. I go ahead and brown the patties before freezing. They can be reheated in the microwave, air fryer or a nonstick skillet.
These are perfect side dishes. Top left is my Best No Oil Hummus – big on flavor and very creamy. Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables with lemon, cumin seeds and bursting with flavor. Gluten Free Tabbouleh Salad – so fresh and flavorful. All three of these recipes will wind up in your regular meal prep rotation. You don’t have to make all of them when you serve the Falafel Patties. Choose one or two side dishes if you are short on time and the meal will still be satisfying.
Sometimes I only make the hummus and the Falafel Patties for us. Sometimes it’s just the Gluten Free Tabbouleh Salad and the Falafel Patties. I do enjoy the leftovers as a Mediterranean Bowl over chopped salad.
In the summer I will serve corn on the cob with the falafel meal – not traditional but everyone loves it! There are no rules about what you must serve together – make the foods you love and enjoy them. I am gluten free, but I do serve pita bread for everyone else when I make this meal. It’s perfect for a casual company meal. You can make the Gluten Free Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, Best Oil Free Hummus and falafel mixture the day before. Wait to brown the patties just before serving. If you are making the Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables make those just before serving as well.
Sometimes for a gluten free option, I will serve my falafel on a corn tortilla with cucumber slices, tomato and sprouts. Also show in this photo is Dreena Burton’s Tofu Feta and a sauce that our daughter made and brought – I don’t have the recipe to share for the sauce. It was made with Tahini and harissa and was from a cookbook so we can’t share the recipe.
This delicious Nourish Bowl includes Chef Del Sroufe’s Green Sauce recipe from the China Study Quick & Easy Cookbook. It is made with Mori -Nu Silken Lite Firm Tofu. I skip the tahini and increase the cilantro to 1 cup. I have also made it with white beans instead of tofu, but the tofu version is better. It’s delicious with Mexican food as well as Mediterranean fare.
Spruce up a chopped salad with a generous scoop of Best Oil Free Hummus, Dreena Burton’s Tofu Feta, Gluten Free Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, Falafel Patties, cucumber slices and sprouts. It doesn’t need any dressing but if you wish you could use a little of California Balsamic Simply Lemon vinegar or some fresh lemon juice.
For this meal I simply served everything over Power Greens from Costco.
As you can see the Falafel Patties are quite versatile. Fresh steamed broccoli, quinoa, hummus and a steamed artichoke made for a scrumptious meal.
Need a super easy meal to pack for work or play – I have you covered. Chopped salad on the bottom and topped with leftovers from a family meal the night before.
Coriander – don’t like it – leave it out
Tahini – don’t want the extra fat or calories – leave it out
Cilantro – don’t like it – substitute Italian parsley
Quinoa Flakes – use oat flour, ground millet, ground quinoa, garbanzo bean flour or the flour of your choice
Garlic – don’t like it – leave it out
Salt substitute – don’t have it or don’t like it – leave it out
Sweet Paprika – use regular paprika but not smoked paprika
- 1 cup onions – minced
- 4 cloves garlic – minced
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 cup carrots – finely chopped I put them through a food processor
- 2 – 15 ounce cans garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini or peanut butter – optional – I don't usually use this but some people like the added flavor
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped (sub parsley if you don’t like cilantro)
- 1/4 cup oat flour 0r quinoa flakes, or garbanzo bean flour, or ground millet (or flour of your choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder – you can get sodium free
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt substitute Well Your World Stardust or Table Tasty
- In a skillet, heat up 1 tablespoon water, when hot add the onions and sauté over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin. coriander and carrot, and cook until soft 3-4 minutes more, adding more water as needed to keep mixture from sticking. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. If I am in a hurry I will just add all the onions, garlic and carrots at the beginning and proceed, adding the cumin and coriander the last few minutes. It works fine that way too.
- Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans and process them in a food processor until they are chopped but not pureed. If you process them too much you will have hummus! If you don’t have a food processor use a potato masher. Add the chopped or mashed beans to the onion mixture, add tahini or peanut butter if using and cilantro or parsley. In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking powder cayenne pepper, sweet paprika, salt substitute and black pepper. Add flour mixture to the bean mixture and stir well.
- Form the chickpea mixture into equal size patties. See the video for an easy way to make perfect patties. If they are soft and too delicate to handle easily cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before cooking. Makes 15 small patties or 8 large ones.
- Heat a non stick skillet over medium-heat – turn the heat to medium-low, add the falafel patties leaving enough space between them to easily turn them over. I cook them about 4 minutes per side – that is what works with my pan and my stove top.
- When the first side is lightly browned, turn the patties over and cook another 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Repeat with the rest of the patties.
- If you want to bake them instead of browning them in a skillet you can preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the patties on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned, turn over and bake for another 10 minutes. I have not tried this myself with this recipe. I have never had good luck baking veggie patties – I much prefer to brown them in a non stick skillet. I feel like they get less dried out when cooked on the stove top.
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