January 11, 2021

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel is a healthier, yet still authentic version of traditional falafel. This easy vegan falafel is a delicious mix of chickpeas, herbs, and spices. Gluten-free and air fryer options included!

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel balls on a plate surrounded by pitas.

Is anyone else absolutely obsessed with falafel? I LOVE falafel and I feel no shame about ordering it whenever I find myself at a Mediterranean restaurant.

There's something about fried chickpeas that is just incredible! And yes, I will eat fried food as a treat, but I don't want to make it a part of my regular routine. Hence, this tasty oil free falafel recipe was born. It's just as delicious as traditional fried falafel, but it's baked instead.

No oil falafel - it's so much better for you!

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel with a bite taken out and a drizzle of tahini.

Why I love this oil free falafel

  • Dietary needs — this recipe is dairy-free, plant-based, oil-free, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free
  • Perfect main dish or appetizer— falafel makes a great main dish, serve alongside some grilled veggies or on a salad; you can also eat a few balls as a fun appetizer
  • Twist on a classic — the falafel is baked instead of fried, but still features all the ingredients found in traditional falafel
  • Easy Vegan Falafel — while there are quite a few ingredients, this falafel is actually really easy to make. All the ingredients go in your food processor. You'll have falafel in no time!
  • Air Fryer Friendly — I love putting these falafel in the air fryer. They get that perfect crispy on the outside, moist on the inside combo

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel balls piled on a plate with parsley.

The secret to good falafel

I'm going to tell you a secret: the reason your falafel has never worked before is that you used canned chickpeas.

For the best falafel use dry chickpeas!!

I give instructions for using canned chickpeas below, but I don't recommend doing this. Canned chickpeas are too soft and will create a mushy mess that won't form into balls. Instead, buy a bag of dry chickpeas (it's cheaper, too).

When you use dry chickpeas you get a more crunchy bean that holds up much better in the falafel. It also has a fresh taste that you simply won't get with canned beans.

If you've never worked with dry chickpeas, don't worry! Literally all you have to do is soak them overnight. There is nothing complicated or tricky about working with dry chickpeas. You've got this!

Gluten free falafel balls on a plate, with a bite taken.

Ingredient Notes

  • Dry Chickpeas: see above. Dry chickpeas are a must for this recipe.
  • Baking Soda: We'll soak the chickpeas in water with a bit of baking soda. This helps infuse the soda into the beans, creating the lightest possible texture.
  • Herbs: Parsley, cilantro, dill. These are the classic herbs found in falafel. Using fresh parsley and cilantro is essential for a fresh flavor. Dried dill is fine.
  • Red Onion:
  • Garlic
  • Spices: Kosher Salt, pepper, cumin coriander, cayenne. Besides the dried chickpeas, these spices are what makes the falafel super flavorful. A pinch of cayenne adds that extra edge to the flavor profile.
  • Baking Powder: baking powder helps create a light and definitely NOT dense falafel
  • Sesame Seeds: these are optional but I love having the extra texture and hint of sesame flavor
  • Oat Flour: The mixture will be a bit wet when it's first mixed - we'll use oat flour to thicken up the falafel mixture so it can be easily rolled into balls. When using dry chickpeas you will only need a bit of flour, making this recipe perfect for those who are gluten-free

Ingredients for Vegan Oil-Free Falafel

How to make Vegan Oil-Free Falafel

Step 1. The day before you want to make falafel, soak the chickpeas and baking soda in lukewarm water. The beans will expand as they soak, so make sure to cover them in several inches of water.

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel Step 1 - soak the chickpeas.

Step 2. In the morning, drain the chickpeas.

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel Step 2 - drain the chickpeas.

Step 3. Add the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, dill, onions, garlic, and spices to a food processor. Blend/pulse until mostly smooth. Don't over mix.

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel Step 3 - process all the ingredients.

Step 4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for an hour, up to overnight. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel Step 4 - transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.

Step 5. Remove the falafel mixture from the fridge. Stir in the sesame seeds, baking powder, and oat flour.

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel Step 5 - stir in oat flour.

Step 6. Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon measure to scoop 2-tablespoon sized balls. Roll into spheres or flatten into patties.

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel Step 6 - shape into balls.

Step 7. Bake for 15-20 minutes. If you made patties, flip the patties halfway through.

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel Step 7 - baked falafel.

Step 8. Serve with tzatziki, pita, and tahini. Enjoy!

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel Step 8 - falafel with tahini drizzle.

How to eat falafel

This falafel is fabulous. But it tastes even better with a good sauce! Try my plant-based tzatziki sauce. You can whip it up in just a few minutes while your falafel is in the oven.

You can also serve falafel with a drizzle of tahini. Or some (oil-free) homemade hummus.

Serve falafel with or in a pita. And add your favorite toppings like lettuce, tomato, and onions.

Or make a falafel salad and serve the falafel on top of greens! So good.

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel being drizzled with tahini

Expert Tips & FAQ

Is falafel always vegan?

Falafel is almost always vegan. It usually isn't oil-free though. Typically, falafel is deep fried, not baked.

Is falafel gluten free?

Falafel is gluten free when it's made without white flour.

This recipe is gluten-free because it's made with oat flour. If you are celiac, be sure to use certified gluten-free oats to avoid possible cross contamination.

How to stop falafel from falling apart

The best way to do this is to use dry chickpeas. Canned chickpeas will create a more mushy texture and won't hold together as well.

If your falafel is not holding together, you can add some more oat flour 1/4 cup at a time until the mixture sticks together.

Can I use canned chickpeas?

I don't recommend using canned chickpeas, but it is possible.

You'll need two cans. Start by draining and rinsing the chickpeas well. Try to remove as much liquid as possible.

Then proceed with the recipe as written, starting with step 3. You will need to add some more flour in step 5.

The falafel will turn out, but may be more dense than the dry chickpea version.

Balls or patties?

Falafel balls are easier to make, especially if you use a cookie scoop.

But, most Mediterranean restaurants I've been to make some sort of patty.

The shape is up to you!

Pan fry instead

If you want to pan fry your falafel, I recommend shaping the balls into small patties instead.

To pan cook, heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Cook the patties for 3-5 minutes per side, until golden.

You will need to cook the patties in several batches so they can be spaced evenly in the pan.

Storing and Reheating

Store any leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge.

To reheat place the falafel them in the oven at 350°F for 5-10 minutes until they are warmed. Or pop them in the air fryer at 350°F for 5 minutes.

Avoid the microwave - this will create soggy falafel.

Can you freeze falafel?

Yes! To freeze, place the falafel balls in a freezer safe zip top bag. Remove any air and store in a deep freezer. The falafel will last for 6 months.

To reheat, follow the reheating instructions above.

Make vegan air fryer falafel balls

This recipe is absolutely delicious in the air fryer!

Simply follow the instructions as written, then air fry the falafel balls at 375°F for 10-13 minutes. The falafel will get nice and crispy on the outside while staying and soft and moist on the inside.

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel in a bowl.

Recipe Prayer

Thank you God for giving us food to enjoy. We are so grateful that you provide for us. Amen.

Related Recipes

Love falafel? I know you'll love some of my vegan Mediterranean recipes:

Tried this recipe?

Please leave a review in the comments section below and post on Instagram tagging me @elizabeths_table. You can also stay in touch with me on social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok or by subscribing to my newsletter.

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Vegan Oil-Free Falafel

Vegan Oil-Free Falafel is a healthier, yet still authentic version of traditional falafel. This easy vegan falafel is a delicious mix of chickpeas, herbs, and spices. Gluten-free and air fryer options included!















  • 1 Pound Dry Chickpeas
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Cup Fresh Cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Dill
  • 1 Small Red Onion, quartered
  • 8 Cloves Garlic
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Coriander
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Oat Flour


  1. The day before you want to make falafel, soak the chickpeas and baking soda in lukewarm water. The beans will expand as they soak, so make sure to cover them in several inches of water.
  2. In the morning, drain the chickpeas.
  3. Add the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, dill, onions, garlic, and spices to a food processor. Blend/pulse until mostly smooth. Don't over mix.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for an hour, up to overnight. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Remove the falafel mixture from the fridge. Stir in the sesame seeds, baking powder, and oat flour.
  6. Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon measure to scoop 2-tablespoon sized balls. Roll into spheres or flatten into patties.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes. If you made patties, flip the patties halfway through.
  8. Serve with tzatziki, pita, and tahini. Enjoy!
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March 28, 2023
Made these today and they’re delicious. Easy to make and didn’t take long to bake in convection oven. Thanks for your creativity. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes.
Hi Paula - Thanks so much for your comment :) So glad to hear that you tried the nuggets and enjoyed them! Can't wait to hear how it goes with other recipes you try!
March 17, 2023
thanks for ginger tea recipe it's really good remedy for cold and flu.
January 15, 2023
I really appreciated your ginger tea recipe. I also read it is great for morning also.
December 3, 2022
I made one like this a few years ago. Super yummy! Now I need to try some of your recipes. But where to start???🤷‍♀️💕💕
November 21, 2022
Virginia Sparks
I was in the middle of making your Tempeh Swiss Chard recipe and noticed you never mentioned how much Swiss Chard to add. I just added the sautéed tempeh towards the end and mixed it all together. I also reduced the amount of red pepper flakes.
Hi Jenny - so sorry about that! It should be one bunch. I've updated the recipe to include the correct information. Thanks!
November 20, 2022
This looks fantastic! Do you think we could substitute butternut squash for the acorn squash?
Hi Elissa - you can definitely use butternut squash. In terms of texture, the pie will be exactly the same with either squash. I'd recommend using the volume measurement instead of the weight measurement, since the density of butternut squash isn't exactly the same as acorn squash. Also, the flavor of the butternut squash might come through in the end pie a bit more prominently than acorn squash does, but I don't think it will be too noticeable. Let me know how it goes if you try with the butternut squash. I'd love to hear!
November 8, 2022
Gerry rauch
October 31, 2022
Debbie G.
Hi Elizabeth!Love your recipe prayer! I've never seen anyone else include a prayer with their recipes. Nicely done and to God be all the Glory!Blessings,Debbie
October 8, 2022
Just made a half batch of these and they came out really good! I learned I don’t know how to work with melted chocolate yet haha but I got it done!
Hi Noam - Glad you liked these bars! And I feel ya on the chocolate - somehow it is always a messy process. Thanks so much for sharing!
September 5, 2022
I get most of my recipes from youtube. I would love to see you on there. I didn't see a link for a youtube channel, just wanted to ask to be sure. God bless hon and thanks for this tasty recipe.
Hi Sara - thanks so much for your kind words. I am starting to post more on YouTube (I currently only have a few videos posted) but here's the link to my channel if you'd like to check it out: -Elizabeth
August 17, 2022
Hi Katherine - yes, I did use fire-roasted tomatoes when I photographed this recipe. I don't call for fire roasted in the recipe because it's intended to be a basic, use-in-anything type recipe. But it does taste delicious with the fire roasted tomatoes! -- Elizabeth
August 15, 2022
Cat Lewis
Hello - Is there a way to PIN this recipe? Thanks.
Hi Cat - yes, I just fixed an error on the site. You should be able to see a button above the very first image on the page that will allow you to pin the recipe. Let me know if you're still having trouble.
August 12, 2022
Allison Macfarlane
As someone who has pretty much never successfully scrambled tofu - this was the best scrambled breakfast dish I've ever had - better than eggs and the seasoning is truly delicious!!
Oh, amazing! So glad to hear it went well :) This is definitely one of my favorites - thanks for sharing your kind words! -- Elizabeth
August 4, 2022
Mary Merkelhess
The pesto is lovely! So happy to avoid the cheese and oil.
Hi Mary - So glad you like the pesto! I'm also happy to avoid the cheese and oil :) Thanks so much for your kind words!
July 21, 2022
I enjoy reading through your recipes and will be trying a few later in the week. I especially like the prayers at the end of each recipe. It reminds me to be grateful God provides me with so many beautiful and nourishing fruits and veggies.
Hi Debra - thank you so much for your kind words! I can't wait to hear how it goes when you try some of the recipes :)
June 22, 2022
I really enjoyed this recipe. Fits PERFECTLY in my allergy to foods world. I used Ripple milk and no sugar added SunButter. Was truly surprised at how quickly the recipe came together! Thank you!
Hi Vickie - I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe and that it works with your allergies. Thanks so much for leaving a comment with your kind words!
June 21, 2022
Linda Casados
It's close to my bedtime, but I've been thinking about making this recipe all day, so I made it just now. After all, it only takes 15 minutes! I used what I had, so I made a few minor substitutions...white beans for cannellini, purple basil from my garden, red onion for more color, and date syrup for maple. I took a bite before putting it in the fridge for tomorrow, and oh my! It's delightfully flavorful, light, and fresh-tasting. Thanks for sharing your recipe!
Hi Linda - I'm so glad you liked the recipe - and your substitutions sound great (wish I was growing purple basil in my garden!) Thanks so much for sharing!
June 18, 2022
Hi, is this ice cream soft to scoop out? I always find my ice creams are hard.
Hi Carol - yes, this ice cream is soft if you let it thaw a few minutes after you take it out from the freezer. It can become pretty solid if it's in a deep freezer, but still thaws quickly on the counter. Hope this helps!
June 18, 2022
Sonia Hope St Claire
thank you for the recipe.
June 13, 2022
I made this pie for my friend who recently discovered she has severe allergies to egg whites, gluten, and dairy. Her favorite pie is sweet potato pie :) She loved it and so did I!
Hi Alexandra - so great to hear from you!! I'm so happy you tried this pie and I'm glad you enjoyed it! It is seriously one of my favorite recipes :) -- Elizabeth
June 7, 2022
Harriett Whited
Love it!!! Wonderful!
Thanks for your feedback! Glad you love this recipe :)
June 7, 2022
Hi Elizabeth! I found you by searching for plant based Catholics! There are very few of us! Thank you for your site and sharing recipes!! I look forward to trying these muffins! Can sugar be reduced safely in most of your recipes? -JMJ-
Hi Katherine, Thanks so much for reaching out! Glad to meet another plant-based Catholic - agree, there are so few of us. As for sugar, I never use white granulated sugar in any of my recipes. Most use maple syrup or date sugar/date syrup. I'm not sure if this is what you mean, or if you're asking about reducing the amount of date sugar that the recipe calls for. If that's the case, it really depends on the recipe. A lot of the baking recipes have specific ratios of flour to sugar and wet to dry, so it may not go well if you change the amount of sugar. I hope this helps, but if I didn't answer your question, please let me know. Also happy to advise on a particular recipe if you're looking to change it. Let me know how I can help :) Elizabeth
June 2, 2022
Love this vegan lentil/mushroom stew! For some odd reason, I had never thought to put mushrooms into my lentil stew. Thank you for a wonderful addition to my recipe box!
Hi Sharon - I'm so glad you are enjoying this recipe (mushrooms are so good!!). Thank you for taking the time to share :) Elizabeth
May 23, 2022
Hello, I found you on FB and really enjoy your Catholic Plant Based GF information & recipes. About the Chickpea beet burgers: if the beans are dried and not cooked, do you think it is enough cooking for the beans? If beans are not cooked completely I have read they are toxic with phytic acid & also cause digestive problems. I am just wondering and will leave it to you to decide/research. To be safe I am toasting canned garbanzos and trying that way out. God Bless
Hi Geraldine, Thanks so much for reaching out. In the beet burgers, the beans do get cooked when the burgers are cooked. You soak them first and then incorporate the beans into the burger patty, then cook the patty. I find that this is the best way to achieve the proper burger texture - if you use pre-cooked beans or canned beans the burgers are mushy and don't get crisp. Your solution of toasting the beans sounds like a great idea to completely ensure the beans are cooked fully - I hope that it worked for you and your burgers turned out well! -- Elizabeth
May 18, 2022
viki avgen (i am israel)
hi,thank you for the recepie of the banana.Iam diebetik and i would love any recepies without sugar. thank you
Hi Viki - thanks so much for your kind words! Several of my other dessert recipes are only sweetened with fruit - you can find them on my Desserts page. If you have any specific requests, please let me know! -- Elizabeth
April 28, 2022
Jean Mastin
Elizabeth: Thank you so much for making my meal times wonderful again. I am 86 yrs plus, and was finding eating dull and dreary. Now it is " scrum delicious time to eat". . Blessings de Jean
Hi Jean - Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm so glad you are enjoying my recipes. Please let me know if you ever have recipe requests or if there's anything else I can do to keep your meals delicious!
April 9, 2022
Can you leave nutritional info for your recipes? Serving size/calories would be so helpful! Trying mushroom lentil stew tonight! and looking forward to crispy chickpea stuffed sweet potatoes very soon. Thanks for creating healthy, attractive recipes!
Hi Katie - so excited to hear that you are trying some of my recipes! I'd love to hear how they go. I haven't posted nutritional information for my recipes because I know it can be difficult for some people with disordered eating to see nutrition facts. I've gotten a lot of requests to add them recently, so I'm working on a solution that can provide information for those who want it but not be triggering for others. In the meantime, if you're curious about the nutrient info about a particular recipe, I recommend using Cronometer. It's a website/app to track and understand nutrient info and I think it does a great job of emphasizing all the nutrients (not just macros). I hope this helps! Please let me know if I can help in any other way.
April 9, 2022
U mentioned date sugar on this recipe but it’s not in the instructions. I know u add it but just in case u wanna add to instructions. Love ur recipes! Thank u. I’m thinking of going to vegan a little nervous tho lol
Hi Vickey - thanks so much for catching that! I am updating the post now. So happy to hear you enjoy my recipes. And exciting that you are thinking about going vegan!! If there's anything that I can do to help, please let me know.
March 28, 2022
Sr Maureen Egan
I'd love to try this soup. What are the nutritional values, like how much fat does it contain, carbs, etc.
Hi Sr Maureen - I usually don't post macronutrient information because I know each person has their own goals and I don't want to encourage or discourage anyone's specific goals. But I often use Cronometer as a tool to understand the nutritional profile of my recipes. I plugged the ingredient information for this recipe into Cronometer and got the following nutrient information per serving: 521 calories, 44g fat, 23g carbs, 16g protein. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions and if you try the recipe!
March 26, 2022
Margareta Ahle
This curry is absolutely delicious.
Thank you so much! It's one of my favorites :)
March 23, 2022
Martha maloney
Thank you I have been doing the fruit and oatmeal, etc for years and I love it. I will try the pears. I refrigerate my left over oatmeal and with a touch of milk or fruit juice liquid it’s fine the next day. Just a warning about tofu; it interferes with some medicines especially Thyroid medicine. Thank you for the short prayers, there are lovely.
Hi Martha - thank you so much for your kind words. I'm glad you like the prayers! As someone who doesn't take any medications I have no issues with eating tofu and encouraging others to eat it too (it's a great source of protein!). That said, you should always consult with your doctor about possible interactions with medications. I have plenty of recipes without tofu, so hopefully you can find things that work for you!
March 3, 2022
Susan Cunningham
I made this for Ash Wednesday and it was delicious. It was also simple and not much work time once the mushrooms and onions were cut.
Hi Susan - I'm so glad you liked it!
March 1, 2022
When you say shape into a rectangular loaf, what dimensions? 1/2 thick by 8 inches long or?
My loaf was about 7" long and 4" wide with about 1" of height. Then I sliced it 1/2" thick along the long end to get 12ish biscotti. I will clarify this in the post! Let me know if this makes sense and if you have any other questions.
January 16, 2022
Tracy Henry
Made this tonight. Absolutely delicious Elizabeth. You got this one just right!
Oh yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)
January 16, 2022
L Collins
Hi Could you please confirm two things:1. The amount of salt. Seems like too much. 2. The directions say there is lemon juice in the dressing but it’s not listed under ingredients. ThanksL.
Hi there! Confirming that the two teaspoons of salt in the dressing is correct. I didn't salt the cauliflower when roasting it or the salad after it was done, so this amount of salt was perfect. If you're concerned about it you can decrease the amount of salt in the dressing and then add more at the end if you need it. As for the lemon juice, SO sorry about that! It was a typo in my directions and I've removed it now. Hope this helps :)
December 20, 2021
This looks lovely! Do you have a recipe for the red pepper hummus also? Thank you!
Hi Martha! I don't have a recipe for red pepper hummus on my site. I suggest taking a traditional hummus recipe and blending in roasted red pepper.
November 22, 2021
Amanda J Lehmann
I tried these and they were delicious! A bit dense but flavorful and the "buckeye" blend of peanut and chocolate was on point! Recommend!
Yay! I'm so glad you liked them! -- Elizabeth
December 6, 2021
Hi, these look amazing. I was wondering, could I used powdered peanut butter in place of creamy for the recipe? thanks
Hi Grace! There is already some powdered peanut butter in this recipe, so adding more might make the texture more gluey. Also, the real peanut butter adds some fat, which helps create flavor. That said, if you want to use powdered peanut butter, I would suggest mixing it with a high-fat liquid like coconut cream and then measuring out 2/3 cup. Hope this helps! Let me know how it goes :) -- Elizabeth
November 15, 2021
You mention using vegetable broth in your introduction but it isn’t included in the recipe
Hi Becky - thanks for pointing this out. I have removed mention of vegetable broth from this post. You do not need any vegetable broth. The mushrooms will release natural liquid which will prevent any sticking. -- Elizabeth
September 23, 2021
Tracy Henry
Hi Elizabeth, LOVE you recipes. Please keep them coming. :)I was wondering, can you share what is the vegan chocolate bar you used in this recipe?
August 28, 2021
Henry (Hank) Mader
thank you for the oil free recipe. I'm getting introduced to wild Bolete mushrooms here in Colorado, and everyone sautes Bolete's in butter or olive oil. I'm on a veggie, oil free regimen for heart health reasons. and your recipe suggestion may fill the bill. I can't wait to give it a try.
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This is so fun! Loving your creamy photography :)
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This looks incredible! So yummy and pretty photography