Easy GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN BAKED FALAFEL with sun-dried tomatoes and parsley: let’s call them Italian style baked falafel then.
Yep yep I know, you’re like me, when you want to eat, you have to eat, I totally understand! So I added the pan-fried option too 😉
If you’ve never had a falafel, you should definitely try this recipe and you will never regret it! Falafels are traditionally seasoned with Mediterranean herbs and spices such as cumin and coriander and they are classic recipe of the Middle Eastern cuisine
As I said, I made an Italian version of the recipe, with parsley instead of coriander and with the addition of sun-dried tomatoes.
Falafels are nothing more than chickpea patties which, by the way, seem to be used to replace animal proteins during fasting days. The so-called vegetable proteins ( aka chickpeas ) that everyone is talking about are not a 21st-century discovery, and we plant-eater know that, don’t we ? 😉
Falafel literally means patties made with any legume, but chickpeas are the most commonly used ( and the best, I’d add!).
Chickpeas are legumes grown mainly in India ( India? Really?) and throughout the Middle East, as well as in America.
In Italy, however, they are little used, except for a precise area called Liguria. You have no idea of the enormous quantity of chickpea flour used to make socca/ farinata that I devoured during the years I lived in Genoa!
Chickpeas are a source of vitamin B6, needed to produce melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Of course, this hormone is not able to cure insomnia, but it can be taken during the day so that the body has time to process it and absorb it. It can help your body do something that it should be able to do naturally: falling asleep!
Like other legumes, chickpeas are a significant source of fibres: 100g of dried chickens provide 14.2g of fibres, half of the recommended daily ration!
Research has shown that insoluble fibres favours peristalsis, fight constipation and also help to prevent digestive disorders. Chickpeas are also a great source of protein: 100g of dried organic chickens provide about 10g of proteins!
In addition to being a good source of iron and magnesium, chickpeas help weight loss giving a sense of satiety and reducing appetite.
So they are a great help if you want to lose weight before your vacation.
Chickpeas are ultimately considered a low-glycemic food and their antioxidant properties (they contain high levels of vitamin C) make them able to reduce the risk of developing heart disease by strengthening the blood vessels. These little amber pearls can do a lot of things, can’t they?
After this long explanation of the nutritional qualities of chickpeas, ( boring? Interesting? Let men know!) let’s talk about the recipe! Vegan baked falafel, as we said, are nothing but chickpea patties. To get the perfect falafel you have to follow only one very important rule: use dry soaked chickpeas and not the cooked ones!
The traditional recipe and the one that will give you the best result is, in fact, made with chickpeas that have been soaked at least for 12 hours. Also, changing the water to avoid numbing and removing the phytic acid will make them more digestible.
Don’t worry, you won’t be eating uncooked chickpeas because they will be baked in the oven or pan-fried!
The option of pan-fried falafel is an alternative that I often choose in summer: it’s faster and it doesn’t require me to switch on the oven! Big thumb up!
I assure you that if you do not use excessive amounts of oil (9kcal per grammes, remember it!) and a non-stick pan, your falafel will be equally healthy, crispy outside and softer on the inside. Don’t forget to pat the patties with a kitchen paper before serving them to remove the excess oil.
Serve this vegan baked falafel with a salad, my vegan tzatziki, with wraps or baked potatoes.
Try my NEW SIMPLE VEGAN FALAFEL with baked sweet potatoes and lemon-tahini sauce ( coming soon in English!)
The GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN BAKED FALAFEL recipe is
quick and easy
rich in flavour
fresh and light
has low glycemic index
tasty and also suitable for the youngest
perfect for lunch, salad bowls or in wraps
crispy outside and soft inside
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GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN BAKED FALAFEL
- 500 g / 2 14 oz cans chickpeas or 1 1/4 cup dried chickpeas
- 15 g / 1 cup parsley leaves - chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 4 sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh chives - chopped 1 tsp flax seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp rice bread crumbs
- 2 clove garlic - germ removed 1 tbsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- zest of 1/2 lemon - grated
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil - optional
- bread crumbs for breading - optional
- Preheat the oven to 400°C F
- Soak dried chickpeas for 24 hours (recommended) or overnight (or use canned or cooked chickpeas if you prefer). Drain and rinse well the chickpeas.
- Drain and pat dry sun-dried tomatoes if packed in oil and chop them.
- In a food processor, combine chickpeas, garlic, cumin, flax seeds, sesame seeds, lemon juice grated lemon zest and bread crumbs. Process til creamy and smooth.
- Add salt, oregano, parsley leaves, chives and sun-dried tomatoes and pulse for few more seconds til combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (recommended).
- Scoop out one heaping tablespoon of the mixture and shape falafel into small patties. Lightly coat each patty with the bread crumbs (optional ) and pan-fry in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. (This step is recommended for crispiness).
- Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
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