Return to top
featured in… The Huffington Post Cooking Light Reader's Digest Women's Health BuzzFeed Glamour Whole Foods Oprah Winfrey Network CNN Food Network

Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Healthy Baked Falafel

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
Share This:

healthy baked falafel. quick easy recipes, healthy food for picky kids, healthy food for picky husband, healthy tasty food, healthy food on a budget

Falafels are truly a comfort food of mine.

I’m a sucker for all types of Mediterranean food: give me a platter with some whole wheat pita, hummus, feta, olives, veggies and other delicious dips and I’m a happy camper.

I’m also a sucker for cheese plates, but that’s a different story 🙂

When I was a kid, we used to go to the “Falafel Drive-In” near my house in Cupertino, California. They’re a little hole-in-the-wall joint, but they make the best falafels I’ve ever had.

Of course, since falafels are deep fried chickpea patties with a pretty heavy sauce and served in a white pita, they’re not exactly the healthiest meal. But they are great for a treat once in a while. The husband also loves falafels, but he’d always ask me to make them at home – which I was hesitant to do because I wasn’t really trying to deep fry anything in my kitchen.

But then I realized that this was my opportunity to makeover the traditional falafel, by baking them instead of frying them, and they turned out GREAT.

My healthy substitutions included:

  • Using a whole wheat pita instead of a white one
  • Adding spinach and tomatoes for more veggies
  • Making my own “sauce” using hummus and a bit of water – it tasted so close to tahini sauce but was much lower in calories!
  • Using Hungry Girl’s recipe for the patties
The Ingredients – Falafel
  • Whole-wheat pitas (~130 calories and at least 4g fiber per pita)
  • One 15-oz. can chickpeas, well drained
  • 1 red onion, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour (you could also try using panko breadcrumbs or whole wheat breadcrumbs. Note: to make this gluten-free, use chickpea flour)
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika, or more to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil nonstick spray
  • Baby spinach (toppings – not to be included in the falafel mixture)
  • Diced tomatoes (toppings – not to be included in the falafel mixture)

The Ingredients – Sauce

  • Option 1: Store bought hummus (I like Trader Joe’s Organic Hummus) mixed with a few tbsp water (directions below)
  • Option 2: Low fat yogurt mixed with Tahini (you’ll have to play with the proportions to figure out what combination works for you!)

The Directions

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place all ingredients for falafel (except for the pitas, spinach, tomatoes, baking powder, and nonstick spray) in a food processor, and give them a good chop.

Step 2: Transfer into a bowl, add the baking powder and stir together. Using a potato masher, mash any big chunks that remain – Mixture should remain slightly chunky, not smooth.

Step 3: Spray a baking sheet thoroughly with olive oil nonstick spray. One at a time, take spoonfuls of mixture in your hands and form 15 balls, each about the size of a ping pong ball, and gently place them on the baking sheet. Spray the top of each ball with olive oil nonstick spray, for a total of about a 2-second spray.

Step 4: Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (note – depending on your oven, this might take longer – up to 20-25 minutes – but be sure to check on them to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn!). Meanwhile, combine 2 parts hummus to 1 part water, and stir until blended (add more water to taste depending on how watery you like your sauce). Season to taste with salt / black pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Step 5: While your falafel patties are baking, chop your veggies and warm up your pita bread.

Step 6: Remove baking sheet from the oven, and carefully turn each ball over, gently reshaping if the bottoms have flattened.

Step 7: Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes (or longer, depending on your oven), until golden brown and slightly crispy. Allow to cool and set for at least 5 minutes.

When they’re done they’ll look like this:

Step 8: Cut the whole pitas into halves, fill with spinach, 3 falafel balls, diced tomato, and top with spinach and sauce. Enjoy!

This is truly a guilt-free falafel makeover.

1 pita half with 3 falafel balls and 1-3 tbsp dip has about 200 calories, 2.5g fat, 8.5g fiber, 37g carbs, 5g sugars, and 10g protein! I had two pita halves for dinner, which was hearty and filling (the husband had 4 pita halves and was very full).

The baked falafel balls were perfectly crispy, the sauce was creamy and cool, the whole wheat pita was nutty and flavorful, and the veggies added a nice texture and extra crunch.

It is so delicious, it’s hard to believe it’s good for you too.

Print Recipe
0 from 0 votes

Healthy Baked Falafel

Falafel is often deep-fried, but baking still gives you that amazing texture without the added fat. I also lightened up the sauce a bit to make a delicious meal.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 15 patties
Calories: 200kcal

Ingredients

Falafel:

  • Whole-wheat pitas ~130 calories and at least 4g fiber per pita
  • 15 oz chickpeas, well drained 1 can
  • 1 red onion very finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour you could also try using panko breadcrumbs or whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika or more to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil nonstick spray
  • Baby spinach
  • Diced tomatoes

Sauce:

  • Store bought hummus: I like Trader Joe’s Organic Hummus
  • A few tbsp water

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place all ingredients for falafel (except for the pitas, baking powder, and nonstick spray) in a food processor, and give them a good chop.
  • Transfer into a bowl, add the baking powder and stir together. Using a potato masher, mash any big chunks that remain – Mixture should remain slightly chunky, not smooth.
  • Spray a baking sheet thoroughly with olive oil nonstick spray. One at a time, take spoonfuls of mixture in your hands and form 15 balls, each about the size of a ping pong ball, and gently place them on the baking sheet. Spray the top of each ball with olive oil nonstick spray, for a total of about a 2-second spray.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 2 parts hummus to 1 part water, and stir until blended (add more water to taste depending on how watery you like your sauce). Season to taste with salt / black pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • While your falafel patties are baking, chop your veggies and warm up your pita bread.
  • Remove baking sheet from the oven, and carefully turn each ball over, gently reshaping if the bottoms have flattened.
  • Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes, until golden brown and slightly crispy. Allow to cool and set for at least 5 minutes.
  • Cut the whole pitas into halves, fill with spinach, 3 falafel balls, diced tomato, and top with spinach and sauce. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 3patties | Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 2.25g | Fiber: 8.5g | Sugar: 5g
healthy baked falafel. quick easy recipes, healthy food for picky kids, healthy food for picky husband, healthy tasty food, healthy food on a budget
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.Place all ingredients forfalafel(except for the pitas and nonstick spray) in a large bowl, and give them a good stir. Using a potato masher, mash well. Mixture should remain slightly chunky, not smooth.Spray a baking sheet thoroughly with a 2-second spray of olive oil nonstick spray.One at a time, take spoonfuls of mixture in your hands and form 15 balls, each about the size of a ping pong ball, and gently place them on the baking sheet. Spray the top of each ball with olive oil nonstick spray, for a total of about a 2-second spray.Bake in the ove n for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for dip in a blender or food processor, and pulse until just blended. Season to taste with black pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve.Remove baking sheet from the oven, and carefully turn each ball over, gently reshaping if the bottoms have flattened. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes, until golden brown and slightly crispy. Allow to cool and set for at least 5 minutes.Cut the whole pitas into halves, toast or warm all pita halves slightly, and then fill each with threefalafelballs and 3 tbsp. dip. Enjoy!

Posted In…

Entrees ·

From healthy versions of favorites to cozy curries, these main courses are sure to bring some new recipes to your family’s table.

142 responses to “Healthy Baked Falafel”

  1. I love falafel I am so excited to try your version its baked and not fried. My mouth is already watering…. Thank you so much for this recipe and wonderful idea. Bravo!!!!

  2. These were awesome. My husband’s response when I told him I was making a healthier version of falafel-“and what will I be having for dinner?” After the first bite, “I’m pleasantly surprised,” at the end of the meal, “you should definitely make that again.” And he usually doesn’t consider a meal without meat a meal!

    • Yay! That is so awesome Charlene! I’m so happy your husband enjoyed this healthy meatless recipe 🙂 Woohoo!!

  3. Wow! I randomly googled “healthy falafel recipes” and your site was the first one and you’re from the Bay Area! How random! Loved the Falafel Drive-in! Anyway, great post. Thanks for sharing!

    • Oh wow! That’s awesome – thanks for letting me know! 🙂 Hope you like this recipe if you try it!

  4. Just discovered your recipe via Pinterest and I will be trying it tonight. I had my first falafel at the falafel drive in! I have moved away from that area but try to go there when I go home for a visit! Yum.

  5. I’ve been making this recipe for about 4 weeks now, and I absolutely love it. The only thing I do differently is I add everything, including baking powder, to the processor, and since I don’t use cooking sprays, I just brush each falafel with a bit of olive oil. Delish!! Thanks!

    • Oh that’s awesome!! Thanks for the tip btw — the way you do it probably saves a bunch of time! Oh and yes, brushing with olive oil totally works too. I’ll have to try that next time!

  6. I made this recipe last night and hubby and I loved it! I made a few adjustments though… for the two of us, I used one can of garbanzo beans and 1 medium russet potato, boiled together and mashed. I substituted whole wheat flour with 1/4 cup of chickpea flour (besan) instead. Then followed the rest of your recipe. I found that I had to cook them at 375 for about 25 minutes, and then at 425 for 8 minutes to get them crispy. Someone suggested broiling, which would have been a better solution (duh!). I didn’t have hummus so I made a thin Greek yogurt mix with dried mint and oregano to dip the pitas into. We liked it quite a bit. Will have to try the hummus trick next time.

    Oh, and I live just a few blocks from Falafel Drive-in, and it is awesome!! Thank you for this healthier version though!

    • That’s so cool that you live so close to Falafel Drive-in! And I love the modifications you made to this recipe for just two people 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing and for letting me know! So glad you liked it!

  7. Omg! I love falafels but hate to eat them too often since they are fried 🙁 I will most definitely be running to the grocery store to get the ingredients to try this out. It sounds so easy and tasty! Thanks for sharing! Great blog you have 🙂 Hope to find some more great recipes on your site.

    • I’m the same way!! I love love love falafel but it’s totally an indulgence when I’m eating the fried version. I love this recipe because it’s super guilt-free! Can’t wait to hear how you like it after you make it at home 🙂

  8. This falafel is great! To mix it up the second time I made this, I used half the amount of chickpeas and replaced that with sweet potato cooked with some indian spices. It tasted awesome!

    • Ooooh that’s a great idea! I’m definitely going to have to try that next time. So glad you liked this recipe Aalok 🙂 Hope you’re doing well!

  9. Hi
    Just wondering,if I could make this with dried chickpeas?If yes,do I have to cook them before I grind them up or just soaking would do?
    Thanks
    Geetha

    • Hi Geetha! If you make this with dried chickpeas, you will have to cook them before you grind them up – otherwise the consistency will be all off (and so will the proportions!) Hope that helps, let me know how it turns out!

  10. I made these last night and they were fantastic! My husband just raved about them, too. Thank you so much for all of these great recipes!

    • Hi Niki! Yes – these have 37g carbs per serving. I’ll add that info to the post as well. Hope it helps!

  11. Do you think it would work to freeze them before of after baking them? I love them but I am the only one in my house who eats them so I would like to freeze them instead of eating them for a few days in a row. What would you recommend?

    • I think you could definitely freeze the patties and reheat them in the oven! It’s worth a try especially if you are the only one eating them 🙂 Let me know if it works!

    • Hi Devashni! Yay! I’m sure you will love this recipe! And yes, I am vegetarian – so all of my recipes are veggie friendly!

  12. Great recipe and it is delicous. I have made this recipe several times. I did make one little adjustment though. I used two cans of Garbanzo beans but left all other measurements the same. I felt the flavors were too overwhelming with just one can of beans. Turns out perfect every time! Thank you for this great healthy version of Falafel.

    • Hi Diana! Thank you so much – I’m so glad you liked this recipe! The flavors in this recipe are definitely strong and it totally depends on your palate – so I’m glad you modified it to suit your taste! 🙂

  13. Wow, the pictures look incredible. Thanks for this great recipe… I was looking for inspiration on how to present different falafel recipes on my site and I really like the idea of a “healthy” falafel. But seeing the pictures, there’s still a lot to learn for me. Thanks again!

    • Hi Kathy! Thank you so much! I’m so glad you like my photos and this recipe 🙂 Let me know if you end up trying it and how it turns out!

  14. I am SO happy I found this blog. I made Falafel tonight for my very first time, and it turned out perfect!
    Thank you! I can’t wait to try a ton more of your recipes!

    • Yaaay!! Thanks for letting me know Betsy! I’m so glad you liked this recipe – and it’s so great to “meet” you through my blog!

  15. I’ve been looking forward to making this and I finally got to it last night! My problem: I had to use a Magic Bullet so I ended up pureeing the mixture instead of just chopping it up – whoops! I added some extra flour to try to compensate but it didn’t help much, lol! I cooked the patties anyway and, while a little mushy in the middle, they were still delicious 🙂 I’m going to try making this again once I have a better food processor. Thanks for the great recipe as always, Anjali!

    • Hi Casey! Haha oh no! I actually have made that mistake before as well 🙂 One other option – if you don’t want to get a new food processor – you can always mash these ingredients together using a potato masher. It takes a few minutes longer, but you get a really great consistency for the patties by doing that. Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply

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

Subscribe to newsletter

Copyright 2019 The Picky Eater. All rights reserved.