The last round falafel I ate, not made by my own hand, was at Shaya in New Orleans. They were fried, globular delights with a cool, creamy cucumber sauce. They were the best falafel I’ve ever tried. They were––pardon my teenager-y vernacular––the bomb (dot com? Is that what kids are saying these days? Anyways…). That evening was such an exceptional dining experience, it felt like a celebration just for me. Alas, I don’t live anywhere near Shaya, nor do I own a deep frier (cue the tiny violins), but I do have a celebration-just-for-me to mark and an oven (cue the high fives!).
So, what’s so special about these falafel? They can be frozen, which is a great make ahead feature––something that seems to be more and more popular (and necessary) these days for all of us. And, I think they’d make a great spring appetizer after a winter full of grey, maybe even for this holiday weekend. I bet you have carrots! I bet you have chickpeas! Maybe you don’t have chickpea flour, but you could head to your bulk food store and get some.
Furthermore, this baked falafel recipe is versatile. Imagine them nestled in a pita with a cucumber salad and some tomatoes. Imagine them on top of a crispy green salad. Imagine them hanging out in the middle of toasted baby burger buns. Imagine eating them piping hot straight off the tray and dipping them into your blender to get the last bit of tahini out (wait…).
These felt special-occasion to me, a touch snazzier than what I usually make for the blog (but still very simple). I baked them up instead of baking a cake (not that I don’t love cake) for an upcoming one-year anniversary of mine. This anniversary is better than any birthday, and it’s something I’m able to celebrate with my closest pals: my dog and my falafel. This is an anniversary unlike most, and will be enjoyed quietly on the couch with good falafel, Netflix, a dog as a foot warmer, and track pants. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my good health.
Whether you make these delectable baked falafel for a special occasion, a celebration, a holiday, or just for a Tuesday night simply because you want to feed yourself a tray of falafel––they’ll deliver. Special occasions can come in all shapes and forms, and the shape and form I prefer is circular, crispy, and topped with a psychedelic tahini dressing.
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ pound (8 ounces, about 2) carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- ⅓ cup chickpea flour
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
- ⅓ cup water
- ½ bunch fresh parsley or cilantro, stems included (about 2 heaping cups)
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- Make the Baked Carrot Falafel: Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; grease with oil.
In a food processor, pulse garlic until minced. Add carrots, pulse until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until fully combined; scrape down sides and bottom, and pulse again. Rest dough for 30 minutes.
Scoop dough into 3 tablespoon- to ¼ cup-sized portions and form into patties. Bake for 25 minutes (bottom side will be presentation side, as it browns).
- Make the Green Tahini: Add all tahini ingredients to a blender or food processor in order listed. Blend until combined.
- To Serve: Flip falafel over to browned bottom side (for presentation) and top with tahini or serve on the side for dipping. Can be eaten warm, room temperature, or chilled.
Green Tahini: 2 days, refrigerated.
Baked Carrot Falafel: 5 days, refrigerated; 2 months, frozen.
Allergy Information: Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free (falafel only), Vegan