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Vegan and Gluten-Free Baked Falafel makes the perfect snack, appetizer or entree for those keeping a vegan and/or gluten-free diet — and even those without dietary restrictions will love it just as much!
2018 is alive and well, and along with it, has come some new eating habits for me. After taking a blood test for food sensitivities, I found out that I have a strong reaction to cow’s milk dairy, eggs and gluten (among other things…), so I’ve adopted a primarily vegan and gluten-free diet, with the exception of seafood. Thankfully, I have no sensitivities to fish or shellfish. Whew! It’s been interesting, to say the least, but I’m having a lot of fun researching new products and brands to purchase and new recipes to try. I spent about two hours in Whole Foods the other day, just browsing through the aisles reading nutrition labels and ingredient lists. Yes, this is how I chose to spend my afternoon — and I enjoyed it!
I’ve been wanting to experiment with homemade falafel, and now seemed as good a time as any to go for it. Typically, falafel is deep-fried, and flour may be used in the mixture for binding. You could use gluten-free flour if needed, but I found that the balls still kept their shape without it. I pan-fried the falafel for a couple minutes on both sides to achieve a crispy edge using a vegan, soy-free “butter” spread, but the majority of the cooking was done in the oven.
This traditional Middle Eastern food can be stuffed into pita, wrapped in flatbread, topped with salads, pickled veggies, sauces and more. They are also often served as part of a mezze platter, an assortment of Mediterranean appetizers such as hummus, baba ghanoush, grape leaves, etc. I love Mediterranean food, especially falafel — and since chickpeas and sesame are both good for my new diet, I couldn’t wait to come up with my own recipe! To keep this baked falafel vegan, refrain from serving with yogurt-based tzatziki sauce. I served mine with a basil-pea puree made simply from fresh basil leaves, sweet peas and a little extra virgin olive oil, whipped together in the food processor.
The options are endless when it comes to making Vegan and Gluten-Free Baked Falafel. I’d love to hear how YOU would serves yours! Leave a comment and let me know what you would serve with your Vegan and Gluten-Free Baked Falafel.
- (1) 19 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup packed fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
- 2-3 tablespoons tahini
- Earth Balance Soy Free Spread, as needed for pan-frying
- Combine chickpeas, cilantro, cumin, chipotle and tahini in the bowl of a large food processor and mix well.
- Use a rubber spatula to grab excess mixture from the sides of the bowl and continue to pulse until the entire mixture is well combined.
- Form balls out of the mixture using a spoon or cookie scoop (mixture should make approximately 12 balls), arrange on a plate and place in the refrigerator to set for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
- Add Earth Balance spread to a pan and heat on the stove at medium-high heat.
- Place the prepared balls into the pan and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes or until browned.
- Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.
- Serve immediately, or place in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.