The best way to make baked falafel?

Best baked falafel

Until this post I’ve never made proper falafel before!  There I’ve said it!  It seemed crazy trying to come up with my own falafel recipe if I hadn’t actually made anyone else’s ever. As we follow an oil-free vegan diet I searched for great oil free falafel recipes, which only used traditional ingredients and they seemed quite difficult to find.  

So I decided to try converting two popular falafel recipes to baked to find what I was looking for….

The recipes I chose for my experiment

Many of the high ranking baked falafel recipes I found suggested brushing with oil or added other things like oats to the mixture, which meant they weren’t close to classic falafel.  So I decided to try two popular fried recipes:

Upfront I have to say neither of these recipes were created for baking.  Therefore my assessment is based on the transfer-ability of these recipes from fried to baked.  Not on the actual overall merits of the recipes – as fried versions I am certain they are incredibly popular for a reason.

To assist the conversion from fried to baked I added tahini to each mixture to aid moisture and assist with browning.

  • Tori Avey’s recipe I added 4 tbsp tahini (it makes a larger batch)
  • Minimalist Baker’s recipe I added 2 tbsp’s

Both recipes essentially involved placing ingredients into a food processor and pulsing to the required consistency and rolling into balls or small patties.  Instead of frying them,  I placed them onto a parchment lined tray and baked both recipes in my oven 180ºc / 160ºc / 356ºf for about 45 minutes, turning them at the 20 minute mark so it browned on both sides.

So which one converted most successfully?

The Verdict

Tori Avey’s recipe

Pros

  • The resulting baked falafel had a lovely crunchy outside and chunky interior and were very close to their deep fried cousins in overall texture
  • The flavour was good, although I would have liked a bit more spicing, so next time I make these I will definitely amp things up a little
  • The addition of the tahini worked well and did not detract from the flavour
  • Once the mixture was made these were ready to be baked, no waiting
  • These kept well in the fridge and stayed moist for 3 days

Cons

  • Soaking the chickpeas overnight was easy, but it’s something that’s easily forgotten and requires a little planning, so not so convenient
  • Rolling the balls required you to pat the mixture and your hands got very messy, not a pleasant sensation!

Minimalist Baker’s recipe

Pros

  • No pfaff with soaking chickpeas and easy to make, so incredibly convenient
  • Lovely flavour, the spicing was spot on
  • No messy hands, the balls rolled easily and my (sensitive LOL) hands were clean
  • The addition of the tahini did not affect the flavour, but may have affected the texture
  • These kept well in the fridge and stayed moist for 3 days

Cons

  • My tinned chickpeas were very soft and it was easy to over process the mixture (which I did unfortunately).  Therefore needed firmer cooked chickpeas to make this work and really light processing
  • The texture was nowhere near as bitey as the soaked chickpeas, so these came out a bit like potato cakes in terms of texture
  • The addition of the tahini may have affected the texture and therefore this recipe is not so easily translated to a baked version
  • The mixture had to be put in the fridge for an hour, so extended the making time
Baked falafel serving suggestion
I tested 2 fried falafel recipes to see how easily they would convert to oil-free versions.

Overall

As I don’t have a problem remembering to soak beans overnight, I would definitely make the Tori Avey version as a baked falafel again.  That said, I enjoyed the flavour of the Minimalist Baker recipe and may use the spicing for the next batch I make.

This was a fun experiment, and hopefully one of many to come!

Did you find this helpful?  Do you have any tips you could share?

Watch the test:

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