Crispy, easy, delicious Falafel bites made in your Air Fryer or baked in your oven, and drizzled with a homemade Tzatziki dressing. The perfect meatless dinner or lunch option. This post contains affiliate links for products I’m obsessed with.
One of my goals is to bring you more vegetarian and vegan recipes in 2020…and why not kick this off with a crispy, delicious falafel recipe!
Confession: I consulted with a ton of people on this one. I even had a few of my fellow falafel loving readers make them before I committed to putting them on the blog.
I wanted them to be just perfect. Because I am obsessed with a good falafel. However, I have also had some disappointing falafels over the years and, well, I just never want to let you guys down like that.
What is Falafel?
Because I bet there are at least a few of you who haven’t had falafel, or maybe even know what it is…here is a brief explanation. Basically falafel is a Mediterranean dish, and is typically a patty that is made from pureed chickpeas (although you can sub another type of bean) and lots of fresh herbs and seasonings like cumin, shallots, coriander, parsley and sometimes cilantro. You can find falafel anywhere in the world now, but it originates from the Middle East and it’s typically served in a pita, on a salad, or by itself with tahini or a Tzatziki dipping sauce.
Oh – and it’s so freaking delicious.
What ingredients are in this Falafel Recipe?
As I said before, there’s a lot of wiggle room for making falafel, but I tested different combinations and this was by far my favorite:
- Dried chickpeas (aka not in a can – you want them in a bag)
- Shallots (although you can sub onion)
- Tons of fresh parsley
- Tons of fresh cilantro (this is totally my preference, but if you hate cilantro, yes, you can leave it out)
- Baking soda
- Gluten-free flour (or you can sub whole wheat, almond flour, chick pea flour or any other flour you have on hand)
- Fresh lemon
Are Falafels healthy?
Typically falafels are deep fried and served with a carb like naan or pita, and therefore not the healthiest choice to eat on a regular basis when you are following a clean eating plan like the 21 Day Fix or Weight Watchers. But my falafel recipe IS healthy and also gluten free!
For one, this Falafel is baked in an oven or made in an air fryer! Both options are perfect because you need very minimal oil to get them nice and crispy!
Looking for an Air Fryer? Check out this post for tips on Which Air Fryer Should You Buy? | Which Air Fryer is Right for You?
I also use a ton of fresh herbs and only a small amount of flour. Be sure to use a gluten-free flour if you need to keep this falafel recipe gluten free!
What do I serve Falafel with?
Because falafel is made with beans, which are considered a carb on the 21 Day Fix (unless you are on the vegan plan), I love to create a Falafel bowl and serve them with fresh leafy greens like spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, and a drizzle of my favorite Tzatziki dressing. If you aren’t following the vegan plan, I love to add feta cheese, too!
Is this gluten-free Falafel recipe also vegan?
Yes! However, the Tzatziki dressing isn’t vegan. You can sub a plain, plant based greek yogurt or use tahini for your dipping sauce!
How do I count Falafel for the 21 Day Fix?
For the regular 21 Day Fix Plan, about 5 of these bites count as a yellow. If you are following the vegan plan, you can count this same portion as a red or a yellow.
For the Tzatziki dressing, I would count 1/8 cup as 1/3 red.
Looking for more Mediterranean inspired recipes? Check out these posts:
Mediterranean Egg Cups | The Foodie and The Fix
Mediterranean Black Lentil Salad | Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Easy Falafel Bites [Air Fryer | Oven]
For the Falafel
- 1 cup dried chickpeas **soaked for 24 hours, or up to two days
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup shallots roughly chopped
- 1 cup parsley about 1 bunch, large stems removed and roughly chopped
- 1 cup cilantro about 1 bunch, large stems removed and roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ -1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or more if needed
- Avocado oil or spray can sub another oil
For the Tzatziki dressing
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt use unsweetened coconut or almond milk yogurt for 21 DF vegan plan or 4 week gut protocol
- 1/2 cucumber seeded, finely grated and drained
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- Himalayan salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the Bowls
- Feta cheese
- Kalamata olives
- Extra fresh herbs from above
- Slices of lemon
- Combine falafel ingredients, except for oil, in your food processor. Pulse for 2 minutes or until blended (it looks a little like guacamole when it’s ready.)
- Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes. While the mixture is chilling, blend ingredients for the homemade Tzatziki dressing.
- Using a melon baller, scoop mixture into small falafel bites. Optional - line your air fryer with parchment to avoid sticking.
- Spray or brush bites with avocado oil and Air Fry 8-9 bites at a time on 375 for 10-14 minutes, shaking or turning halfway.
- Serve with dressing and feta cheese or in a "bowl" with veggies.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Combine falafel ingredients, except for oil, in your food processor. Pulse for 2 minutes or until blended...it looks a little like guacamole when it’s ready.
- Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes. While the mixture is chilling, blend ingredients for the homemade tzatziki dressing.
- Using a melon baller, scoop mixture into small falafel bites and place in rows on sheet pan
- Spray or brush with avocado oil and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until outside is crispy!
- Serve with dressing and feta cheese or in a “bowl” with veggies.