Fact: fried food is delicious.
But a moist delicious morsel also leads to a few extra pounds as well as an increased risk of health problems including heart disease.
Not a delicious thing for your health.
So that is why I use our oven constantly and create faux fried food. Fried food is delicious because it is moist and has the great textural contrast of a tender interior with a crispy, crunchy outer coating. I was looking for more vegetarian options for our menu as well as tweaking it to create slightly healthy versions (let’s face it, even vegetarians can love their oil and butter a little too much) and have perfected baked falafel. You get the nutritious benefits of low saturated fat and sodium with a good source of dietary fiber, protein, and folate. I found that a touch of oil created a nice texture and although I would have liked to eliminate it, I found that eliminating it entirely created a strange, mushy consistency (this version is still soft, but it can be too soft if undercooked). The vegan addition of rice flour is a happy accident because I was running low on wheat flour and wanted to experiment with using rice flour in more recipes.
Note: I preferred the crisp of baking this in a non-stick oven safe skillet. There was a distinct crunchy difference between falafel baked in my skillet vs. falafel baked in my non-stick pan.
Best Vegan baked falafel
- 2 cups of cooked chickpeas or a 15 ounce can of cooked chickpeas
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro (about 1 1/2 bunches of leaves)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 teaspoons / 3 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Tahini dressing Ingredients
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon tahini
- Baking pan or oven safe frying pan
Makes about 15 falafel balls
1. Cook your chickpeas or if using canned chickpeas, rinse thoroughly. Toast your cumin seeds in a dry skillet if using whole seeds.
2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and pulse for several minutes until all ingredients come together. The ingredients don’t have to be completely chopped.
3. Form falafel mixture in 1-1 1/2″ discs and place into pan (I find it easier to bake if it is slightly flatter). Pop those yummy little balls into the oven.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Take out pan and flip over falafel discs. Bake for another 7 minutes.