Baked Falafel with Lemon Tahini Sauce

baked falafel with lemon tahini sauce

Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern street food that has become popular in the West too. They are made with chickpeas, onion, garlic and spices and usually served with sauces such as hot sauce or tahini-based sauces, pickles and vegetables. They are commonly stuffed into or wrapped in pita breads to make a sandwich.

I've long been a fan of falafel and have made them before at home on a few occasions, but not since I started this chronicle of my cooking adventures. In the past, I have deep fried them, but frying is messy and oily. An alternative solution is to bake them, as I have done here. My recipe is also not traditional as usually the chickpeas aren't cooked but instead are soaked for at least 12 hours and then ground up and formed into patties or balls before frying.

I was more than satisfied with the results. While they were not as crispy as the fried version, I dare say they were even better and reminded me very much of one of favorite recipes for Indian baked koftas.

I found the sauce was an essential accompaniment for a more authentic falafel taste experience. That said, to make the meal suitable for vegans, omit the yogurt sauce and serve with other accompaniments and/or come up with your own tahini sauce.

falafel sandwich

Notes: The falafel I made were roughly 1 1/2 inches in diameter. You can make them smaller if you want a greater number. I ended up with about 12 and found two served in a pita pocket with tomato, chopped dill pickle and smothered with sauce made for a satisfying meal. You might want to consider serving them with a side salad as well.

If you make them ahead of time, you can wrap them in foil and reheat them in a preheated 325° oven until warmed throughout.

Baked Falafel with Lemon Tahini SauceBaked Falafel with Lemon Tahini Sauce
Recipe by
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Published on January 27, 2014

Soft, spicy and savory baked chickpea falafels served with a simple tangy lemon, tahini and yogurt sauce

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (3 cups cooked or 2 14 oz cans)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 fresh red or green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons chickpea flour or other flour
  • 1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight in several inches of water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium-large saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Drain and transfer to a food processor.

  • Add the cilantro, parsley, cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne and salt and pulse until blended but not puréed. If necessary, add a bit of sesame oil to get the process going. Add the onion, garlic, chilies and baking powder along with a few tablespoons of flour, and pulse until a dough forms that is not too sticky. Add more flour as necessary if the mixture is too moist.

  • Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with oil. Preheat an oven to 375°.

  • Shape the mixture into small patties, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes on each side until golden-brown on both sides.

  • To make the sauce, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Makes 12 falafels or 4 to 6 servings


Other little bites of bliss you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Chickpea Potato Koftas with Ricotta
Vegetarian Samosa Cake with Tamarind Chutney
Brown Rice Quinoa Cakes with Parmesan
Coleslaw Bites with Jalapeno Dip


Stephanie said...

Hi Lisa, that sounds like a delicious recipe for falafel. I have never made it with baking powder. I do like to bake my falafel, so much less mess and fuss than frying. Thanks! Peace, Stephanie

Lisa Turner said...

Thanks for stopping by Stephanie. This recipe is a keeper and I can't wait to make it again.

BoyerBlog said...

I have the mixture in the fridge chilling right now...but wasn't sure how long to bake them? Maybe I am just not seeing it in the recipe. Please let me know! Thanks!!

Lisa Turner said...

Corrected! My apologies. Hope you enjoy and thanks for letting me know my brain went on vacation for a few minutes.

Amy said...

This looks delicious - I love falafel but rarely eat/make it because of all the oil. I'm definitely going to give this healthier version a try!

Joanne said...

I love falafel but hate frying, so these are looking super to me right now!

Unknown said...

They look big, crisp and juicy, lovely x

Πί.. said...

Hi Lisa, I'm making falafel but with raw chickpeas, not boiled. They are not oily at all but I would to try the baked version..Do you think that I could bake them also instead of frying them? Thanks..

Lisa Turner said...

I think you could bake them. If you try the recipe using raw soaked chickpeas, let me know how it turns out for you.