This easy vegan falafel recipe is a favourite in our house and is a go-to for when we have company coming over. They come together in no time and are so flavourful and moist that your family and friends won’t believe that you made them at home!
I also love how versatile this recipe is. They can be eaten in traditional pita style, on a salad, in a sandwich, or on their own with some hummus. You eat dairy? Great! Throw some cheese on there. You don’t eat dairy? Great! Use vegan cheese or go without – the meal is just as delicious. Gluten-free? Use gluten-free breadcrumbs rather than traditional breadcrumbs. It’s as easy as that. For those people with chickpea allergies, I also suspect that these falafel could be also made with navy beans instead of chickpeas (this I haven’t tried so no guarantees). With more people I know having some kind of dietary restriction, the versatility of a recipe dictates whether or not it makes it into “the family cookbook”.
Tricks of the Trade:
Make your own breadcrumbs – throw 4-5 pieces of frozen or stale bread into the blender before you start all the rest of your blending and pulse until you achieve the desired breadcrumb texture.
Ditch the can – cook the chickpeas for this recipe in the crockpot.
Easy Vegan Falafel
These easy vegan falafel come together in no time. They are so flavourful and moist that your family and friends won't believe that you made them at home!
- 1 red onion roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cans chickpeas (or 4 c. cooked)
- 1/4 cup dried parsley
- 4 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp hummus
- 1-1 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1-2 cup bread crumbs
Place onions and garlic into a standard blender and pulse until chopped into very small pieces.
Add half of the chickpeas and pulse until chickpeas are roughly blended. Make sure to use a spatula to move the chickpeas around from the bottom to the top. Be careful not to over blend the chickpeas as this will make hummus!
In a large bowl (or, if you made your chickpeas in the crockpot feel free to use the crockpot bowl), dump the other half of the chickpeas and the blended chickpea mixture. Use a fork to smush the whole chickpeas until you get a somewhat uniform consistency.
Add the all of the remaining ingredients except the breadcrumbs. Mix together with a fork. Feel free to smush the chickpeas as you go.
Add breadcrumbs to chickpea mixture until you are able to form tight semi-dry balls. Depending on the type of breadcrumbs you use, you may need to use anywhere from 1-2 cups of breadcrumbs in order to achieve the necessary consistency. For those of you who eat meat or have eaten meat, the falafel mixture should be the same consistency as meatballs.
Roll and then flatten falafel mixture into 20-30 patties.
Line a large frying pan with 1/4 inch of olive oil and heat on medium-high. You can test the oil by placing a small piece of falafel into the pan. The oil is ready when it bubbles around the edges of the falafel piece.
Once oil is ready, place 10-12 falafels into the frying pan and fry until golden brown (about 5-8 minutes each side), flip gently with tongues between sides.
Repeat procedure with additional batches until all falafel are cooked. It is important to empty the pan completely between batches. Have a small bowl handy to pour all the extra falafel bits and oil into after each batch.
Note: I find that additional batches need less oil (about 2 tbsp is normally sufficient) and less time (about 3-5 minutes each side) than the first batch.
Serve with vegan feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, hummus, and pita
Although very easy, cooking these falafel can be a little tricky at first. Here are some solutions to common falafel cooking problems.
Problem: My falafel are not holding together; they are spreading out in the oil.
Solution: There are either too few breadcrumbs in the falafels or too much oil in the pan. Finish cooking your current batch of falafel until brown and crispy. They will likely not hold together when taking out of the pan. That's fine. These "falafel bits" taste delicious on salad. Before cooking the next batch, add some more breadcrumbs to the mixture and reduce the amount of oil in the pan.
Problem: My falafel are not turning golden brown. They are just burning in the centre.
Solution: Your falafel are not flat enough and/or you are not using enough oil. Flatten your next batch of falafel a little more and add more oil to the pan.
Recipe adapted from Sean’s Falafel and Cucumber Sauce