Make this quick and easy Gluten-Free Falafel Recipe at home and save a trip to the local Greek restaurant. Simply combine canned chickpeas, flour, and herbs then pan fry them in a skillet or bake them in the oven until they are lightly golden brown. Top this healthy, Mediterranean favorite with Tzatziki sauce or serve it in a wrap.

Vegan homemade falafel with fresh parsley and chickpeas are plated with a greek yogurt sauce.

Initially making these delightful balls of fried chickpea and herbal goodness seemed extremely intimidating.

After all, it wasn’t until recently that I even knew what ingredients are in falafel, much less how to make them!

But after scouring the internet, and trying out a few different variations, I realized it’s actually a super simple gluten-free and vegan Mediterranean dish to make at home.

And the recipe you see here is hands down the BEST and EASIEST way to make falafel at home.  And yup, no crazy or obscure ingredients needed.

Not only is it easy to make, but it tastes as authentic as the kind found at your favorite Greek restaurant while also being quite a bit healthier for you.

Instead of deep-frying them in a bunch of unhealthy fats and oil, you can either lightly pan-sear them in a skillet or bake them in the oven until perfectly crisp!

They’re also naturally vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free so EVERYONE gets to enjoy them at the dinner table.

The best vegetarian falafel is stacked on the counter for an easy Mediterranean dish.

What is falafel?

Falafel is a dish typically served in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines.  It is a fried ball or patty made up of ground chickpeas, or fava beans, fresh herbs, garlic, and spices.

While parsley and cilantro are the most commonly used herbs, sometimes thyme and even mint are thrown into the mix.

Falafel can be stuffed into a pita bread “pocket”, served as a wrap using flatbread, as an appetizer with some homemade Tzatziki sauce, or even as a sandwich.

And unless otherwise noted, traditional falafel recipes are always completely vegan and most can easily be made gluten-free, too.

Chickpeas, gluten-free flour, fresh cilantro, parsley, onion, and spices are used in this falafel recipe.

What ingredients are in falafel?

The ingredients found in a traditional falafel recipe are relatively easy to find in your local grocery store and include:

  • Chickpeas. Canned chickpeas or dried beans can both be used in this recipe.  Read below for more information.
  • Herbs. Both fresh parsley and cilantro are finely chopped and are the ingredients that give falafel that distinctive green color.  Curly leaf parsley is the most traditional type to use in Mediterranean cooking, but feel free to substitute with flat-leaf parsley if that’s what you have available.
  • Spices. A mixture of ground cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper make up the bulk of the spices.  If you like your food to have a bit of a kick, add in a pinch of cayenne pepper to make them spicy.
  • Flour. All purpose flour, or a gluten-free 1-to-1 blend, acts as a binder to hold the chickpeas together.
  • Baking Powder. Just a touch of this leavening agent will help your falafel balls puff up beautifully.
  • Garlic. Minced garlic cloves are added into for a bit of pungent flavor.  Feel free to decrease the amount to 1-2 cloves if you don’t like too much garlic flavor.
  • Onion. Red onion is the most common type to use in Greek cooking, but you can also substitute with a white, yellow, or sweet onion if that’s what you have.

How to Make Gluten-Free Falafel

The easy steps to make homemade gluten-free falafel are:

Prepare Chickpeas

Canned chickpeas are used in this recipe because they are incredibly quick and easy to use, and there’s no forethought needed.

If using canned beans, make sure you rinse and drain them in a colander.  Dry them thoroughly before adding to the processor.

You can also learn how to cook chickpeas if you would prefer to use dried chickpeas instead.  These will definitely have the best taste and texture but do take a bit of planning ahead.

Use canned chickpeas or dried chickpeas in this authentic Mediterranean dish.

Pulse in Processor

The best and easiest way to do this is by using a large food processor fitted with an S-shaped blade.  A blender can also be used, but you will not have nearly as much control over the texture of the dough.

Add all of the falafel ingredients to a large food processor.

Pulse ingredients 30-40 times, or until the mixture just starts to clump together.

Refrigerate mixture for 30-60 minutes to help the dough stick together.

*Cook’s Tip: Make sure you do not over mix the dough.  Doing this will result in mushy falafel instead of slightly crumbly and fluffy patties!

Pan-Fry or Bake

Lightly or deep-frying falafel is the most traditional and authentic way to cook this recipe.

However, I’ll also give you the instructions for baking them in the oven if you’d like to make them even healthier.

For both methods, first, scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough and shape into a patty about ½-inch thick.

Repeat with the remaining falafel dough. You should end up with about 12 patties.

You can also form them into round balls, but these take quite a bit longer to evenly cook through the inside!

To Cook in Skillet:

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large stainless steel or non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Place 6 of the falafel into the skillet once the oil begins to sizzle and cook for 3-4 minutes, flip and sear the other side. Repeat with the remaining oil and patties.

To Bake in Oven:

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Place falafel patties evenly spaced on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Serve

Falafel is best when served immediately with some homemade tzatziki sauce.

Add it to pita bread with sliced cucumber and tomatoes. Use gluten-free pita bread if needed.

Make a wrap with flatbread, serve it as a sandwich, or with a salad.

Falafel is an easy Mediterranean dish that is stacked on the counter.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: You can mix the ingredients together and form them into patties. Leave them in the fridge until you are ready.
  • To Store: Leftover falafel will store well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • To Freeze: When you’re ready to reheat them, it’s best if you either warm them up in a skillet or pop them in the oven. While you can microwave them, they will come out soggy and lose quite a bit of their crispy exterior.

Dietary Modifications

The recipe you’ll find below is already vegetarian as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Gluten-free – Opt for a 1-to-1 all-purpose blend.
  • Vegan – Be sure not to use egg as a binder.
Healthy falafel is plated with tzatziki sauce for a Mediterranean dish.

FAQs

Is falafel usually gluten-free?

Not all falafel is completely gluten-free since flour is often an ingredient.  If ordering this dish at a restaurant, make sure to double-check with the waiter to see what type of flour they use.

The recipe you’ll find below can easily be made gluten-free by using a 1-to-1 all-purpose blend.

What are falafels usually made of?

Falafel traditionally contains chickpeas along with fresh herbs such as parsley and cilantro.

What do you serve falafel with?

Falafel is delicious with Tzatziki sauce, hummus, on pita bread, or as a wrap.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Pop a can. Save time by using canned chickpeas.
  • Give it a pulse. Don’t overprocess the dough or the falafel will be mushy.
  • Press it flat. If you make the patties too round they won’t cook evenly.
  • Flip ’em. Whether you bake or pan-fry, be sure to turn the falafels over to cook evenly.
  • Top it off. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro over the patties and serve them with Tzatziki.
Falafel is a traditional Greek recipe made with chickpeas.

Make it a Meal

Pair this falafel with any of these dishes for a delicious Mediterranean meal:

More Chickpea Recipes

If you love chickpeas, then give one of these recipes a try next:

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 2 votes

Gluten-Free Falafel Recipe

Make this quick and easy Gluten-Free Falafel Recipe at home and save a trip to the local Greek restaurant. Simply combine canned chickpeas, flour, and herbs then pan fry them in a skillet or bake them in the oven until they are lightly golden brown.
Yield 12 falafel
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 15 oz. can chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup cilantro finely chopped
  • ½ cup parsley finely chopped
  • ½ cup red onion finely chopped
  • ¼ cup flour gluten-free 1-to-1 blend
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. coriander
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper optional
  • ½ – ¾ tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil or olive oil

Instructions 

  • Add all of the ingredients, except for the oil, to a large food processor with an S-shaped blade.
  • Cover the processor with a lid and pulse ingredients for 30-40 times, or until the mixture just starts to clump together.
  • Refrigerate mixture for 30-60 minutes to help the dough stick together.
  • Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough and shape into a patty about ½-inch thick. Repeat with the remaining falafel dough. You should end up with about 12 patties.

To Cook in Skillet:

  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large stainless steel or non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  • Place 6 of the falafel into the skillet once the oil begins to sizzle and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining oil and patties.

To Bake in Oven:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place falafel patties evenly spaced on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Serve falafel with Greek Tzatziki sauce and homemade pita bread. Enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 2 votes

Notes

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: You can mix the ingredients together and form them into patties. Leave them in the fridge until you are ready.
  • To Store: Leftover falafel will store well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • To Freeze: When you’re ready to reheat them, it’s best if you either warm them up in a skillet or pop them in the oven. While you can microwave them, they will come out soggy and lose quite a bit of their crispy exterior.

Nutrition

Calories: 69kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 182mg, Potassium: 139mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 278IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 45mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

You May Also Like

Thanks for
Stopping By!

I’m London! Join me as we cook up nourishing meals for you and your loved ones and learn a few healthy cooking tips and tricks!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. Hi it says it makes12 servings does that mean 1 serving is 1 falafel per person? Is it 69cals for one falafel? Usually 3 would be 1 serving.

    1. Hi Tamsin! Yes, 1 falafel is 1 serving, so the recipe should make 12 falafels coming in at 69cals/falafel. Hope you enjoy the recipe!