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Ultimate Vegan Air Fryer Falafel Recipe – Crispy & Delicious!

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Crispy on the outside and tender within, these Vegan Air Fryer Falafel Recipe embody a delightful blend of chickpeas, herbs, and spices. Each bite offers a crunch, unveiling an herb-infused, aromatic interior. Perfect for health-conscious gourmets, they’re a testament to how air frying can achieve deep-fried textures without the oil. They’re a versatile, nutritious choice in wraps or atop salads.

Why Does It Work?

  • Incorporates fresh herbs and spices, enhancing flavor without added fats.
  • The air frying technique yields a crispy exterior while keeping the inside moist.
  • Avoids deep frying, making it a healthier, low-fat option.
  • Quick and easy, using simple ingredients for a homemade, gourmet experience.
  • Versatile, serving as a delightful addition to salads, wraps, or a standalone snack.

Don’t have time to read the full blog post? JUMP TO THE RECIPE HERE!

Finding a delicious, healthy meal that satisfies taste and nutritional needs can often feel like a culinary quest. Enter the Vegan Air Fryer Falafel Recipe, a game-changer in my kitchen. Initially skeptical about achieving the perfect crunch without deep frying, I was pleasantly surprised.

The constant struggle with oily, heavy meals had me searching for lighter yet equally satisfying alternatives. That’s when I discovered the power of the air fryer. By opting for this recipe, I journeyed towards guilt-free, flavorful meals.

The result? Crispy, golden falafels that are as nourishing as they are delightful. This vegan air fryer falafel recipe caters to health-conscious individuals and promises a taste that makes you forget it’s good for you.

vegan air fryer falafel recipe

What Is Vegan Air Fryer Falafel?

Vegan air fryer falafel is a plant-based twist on the classic Middle Eastern dish. Made from ground chickpeas mixed with herbs, spices, and sometimes vegetables, they’re shaped into small balls or patties. The key difference lies in the cooking method.

Instead of traditional deep frying, these falafels are cooked in an air fryer, using hot air to achieve a crispy exterior while keeping the inside soft and moist. This technique significantly reduces oil usage, making them a healthier option. Perfect for vegans and health enthusiasts, they offer a delicious, guilt-free addition to any meal.

Quick Tip– To prevent your falafel from sticking to the air fryer basket, ensure it’s well sprayed with cooking spray and avoid overcrowding for even cooking.

vegan air fryer falafel

Recipe Directions

  • Soak the Chickpeas: In a medium saucepan, cover the dried chickpeas with water by at least 3 inches. Heat over medium-high until bubbles form. Turn off the heat and let sit overnight or for at least 12 hours. The chickpeas will double in size.
  • Drain and Rinse: Drain the chickpeas and rinse them in a colander. Pat dry if necessary. Transfer to a large food processor with the salt. Pulse until coarsely ground but not mushy. Move half to a large bowl.
  • Add Flavor: In the food processor, add the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cayenne, and turmeric (if using) to the remaining chickpeas. Process until fine. Transfer to the bowl with the first batch of chickpeas and mix well.
  • Refrigerate: Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.
  • Prepare for Cooking: Sprinkle the baking powder over the mixture and fold it evenly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Shape: Using a #16 ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measure, shape the mixture into patties. Arrange on the prepared sheet. Lightly spray both sides with cooking spray. Also, spray the air fryer basket.
  • Air Fry: Heat the air fryer to 400°F. Cook the falafels for about 20 minutes until golden and crispy, flipping halfway through. If necessary, cook in batches to avoid overcrowding.
  • Oven Baking Option: Alternatively, bake at 375°F for about 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes, until golden and crispy. For the best results, lightly spray both sides of the falafels with cooking spray before baking.

Recipe Directions

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Variations

  • Herbs and Spices: Add herbs like cilantro or mint for a fresh twist. You can also spice it up with cumin, coriander, or cayenne pepper.
  • Beans: While chickpeas are traditional, you can experiment with other fava or black beans for a different flavor profile.

Add-Ons

  • Vegetables: Incorporate finely chopped spinach, kale, or shredded carrots to sneak in extra nutrients.
  • Grains: Add cooked quinoa or bulgur to the mixture for a crunchier texture.

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Toppings

  • Sauces: Tahini sauce is a classic, but you can also explore it with spicy mayo, vegan yogurt sauces, or a squeeze of lemon for added zest.
  • Fresh Veggies: For freshness, top your falafel with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, or pickled red onions.
  • Herbs: A fresh parsley or dill sprinkle can elevate the flavors beautifully.

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Vegetable Substitutions 

  • Sweet Potatoes: A sweet twist that adds moisture and a vibrant color.
  • Zucchini: Grated zucchini offers a lighter, juicier falafel with subtle flavors.
  • Beets: Grated beets contribute a deep, earthy taste and a striking reddish hue.
  • Carrots: Finely shredded carrots introduce a slight sweetness and extra crunch.
  • Spinach: Chopped spinach gives a green speckle, adding vitamins and a mild taste.
  • Cauliflower: Processed cauliflower rice can be used for a unique, grainy texture and mild flavor.

Quick Tip– Add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast for an extra flavor kick to your vegan air fryer falafel. It enhances the taste with a cheesy, nutty richness.

Vegetable Substitutions 

Best Side Dishes 

  1. Tabbouleh A refreshing parsley and bulgur wheat salad, perfect for a light, nutritious side.
  2. Hummus Creamy and rich, it’s ideal for dipping your falafels.
  3. Baba Ganoush A smoky eggplant dip that adds a delightful contrast to the falafels’ crispiness.
  4. Cucumber Yogurt Sauce A cool, tangy sauce that balances the falafel spices.
  5. Pita Bread Warm and soft, perfect for wrapping or dipping.
  6. Pickled Vegetables Adds a crunchy, vinegary bite to each mouthful.
  7. Quinoa Salad A hearty, protein-packed option that complements the lightness of the falafels.
  8. Roasted Vegetables Seasonal vegetables, roasted to perfection, offer a sweet and savory side.

Best Side Dishes 

How To Serve?

  • Falafel Wrap: Wrap them in a warm pita with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a drizzle of tahini sauce.
  • Falafel Bowl: Place falafels atop a bed of mixed greens, quinoa, avocado, and a generous dollop of hummus.
  • Falafel Salad: Toss falafels with chopped salad greens, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and a lemon-olive oil dressing.
  • Falafel Sandwich: Stuff falafels into a baguette with vegan tzatziki, pickles, and shredded cabbage.
  • With Dips: Serve them as an appetizer with a selection of dips like baba ganoush, tahini, and spicy vegan mayo.
  • Falafel Platter: Arrange falafels with grilled vegetables, olives, and pita bread for a mezze-style platter.
  • Snack Plate: Enjoy falafels as a quick snack, accompanied by sliced cucumbers, carrots, and your favorite sauce.

Quick Tip– To ensure your vegan air fryer falafels are extra crispy, lightly spray them with olive oil before air frying. This mimics the deep-fried texture without the excess oil.

How To Serve

Storage & Make Ahead 

  • Refrigeration: Store cooked falafel in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, freeze falafel on a baking sheet, then transfer it to a freezer bag. They keep well for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: To maintain crispiness, reheat falafel in the air fryer at 350°F for about 5 minutes or until heated.
  • Make Ahead: Shape the falafel mixture into balls or patties and refrigerate overnight. This enhances flavors and texture, making cooking quicker and easier.
  • Batter Storage: Uncooked falafel batter can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before cooking.

Fact– Did you know? Traditional falafel recipes often include baking soda, which lightens the texture. This ensures the inside stays fluffy while the outside crisps beautifully in the air fryer.

Storage & Make Ahead 

Time-Saving Tips

  1. Prep in Advance: Soak your chickpeas overnight or even 24 hours ahead. You can also advance chop your onions, garlic, parsley, and cilantro and store them in the fridge.
  2. Use a Food Processor: A food processor does the job quickly and efficiently when mixing your falafel ingredients. It’s perfect for getting the right texture without manual chopping.
  3. Batch Prep: Prepare a large batch of falafel mixture and freeze what you don’t use. Shape the falafels and freeze them on a tray before transferring them to a freezer bag. When needed, they can go straight from the freezer to the air fryer.
  4. Air Fryer Batching: If you have a smaller air fryer, cook falafels in batches to save time. While one batch cooks, you can shape the next batch or prepare sides.
  5. Simplify Sides: Choose simple, no-cook sides like fresh vegetables, hummus, or a quick salad. This reduces overall meal prep time and complements the falafels nicely.
  6. Clean as You Go: To avoid a big cleanup at the end, wash utensils, and bowls while your falafels are cooking. This keeps your kitchen tidy and maximizes your time efficiently.
Ultimate Vegan Air Fryer Falafel Recipe - Crispy & Delicious!

Ultimate Vegan Air Fryer Falafel Recipe – Crispy & Delicious!

Recipe by Julia

Vegan air fryer falafel offers a delightful twist on a classic, combining health-conscious cooking with traditional flavors. This method ensures a crispy exterior and tender interior, using minimal oil for a guilt-free experience. Perfect for wraps, salads, or as a snack, these falafels are easy to make, satisfying, and versatile, appealing to vegans and non-vegans alike.

Course: Snacks
0 from 0 votes
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

300

kcal
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredient List

  • 2 Cups 2 Dried Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans

  • 1 ½ Tsp 1 ½ Salt

  • 1 Small 1 Yellow or Red Onion, quartered

  • 2 Cloves 2 Garlic, minced or pressed

  • 1 Cup 1 Fresh Parsley

  • ¾ Cup ¾ Fresh Cilantro

  • 2 Tsp 2 Ground Cumin

  • 2 Tsp 2 Ground Coriander

  • 1 Tsp 1 Black Pepper

  • ½ Tsp ½ Cayenne Pepper (optional)

  • ½ Tsp ½ Turmeric (optional for color)

  • 1 Tsp 1 Baking Powder

  • as needed as needed Cooking Spray

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Soak the Chickpeas: Place dried chickpeas in a medium saucepan. Cover with water by at least 3 inches. Heat over medium-high until a gentle simmer forms. Turn off the heat and set aside for at least 12 hours. Chickpeas should double in size.
    vegan air fryer falafel recipe 1
  • Prepare Chickpeas: Drain and rinse chickpeas in a colander. Pat dry if wet. Transfer to a large food processor with salt. Pulse until coarsely ground, not mushy. Move half to a large bowl.
  • Add Flavors: Add the remaining chickpeas to the food processor, along with the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cayenne, and turmeric (if using). Process until fine. Transfer to the bowl with the chickpeas. Mix until combined.
    vegan air fryer falafel recipe 2
  • Chill: Refrigerate the mixture for at least 45 minutes.
  • Prepare for Cooking: Sprinkle baking powder over the falafel mixture. Fold in evenly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Shape Falafels: Measure using a #16 ice cream scoop or ¼ cups. Shape into patties. Place on the baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray on both sides. Spray the air fryer basket to prevent sticking.
  • Cook: Heat the air fryer to 400°F. Cook the falafels for 20 minutes or until golden and crispy, flipping after 10 minutes. If necessary, cook in batches to avoid overcrowding.
    vegan air fryer falafel recipe 3
  • For Oven Baking: Alternatively, bake at 375°F for 30 minutes or until golden and crispy, flipping halfway through. For best results, lightly spray with cooking spray before baking.
  • Equipment List
  • Air Fryer
  • Food Processor
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Spatula
  • Kitchen Scale (optional)
  • Parchment Paper (optional)

Notes

  • Soaking chickpeas overnight is crucial for the right texture.

  • Do not use canned chickpeas; they’re too moist for this recipe.

  • Grinding chickpeas coarsely prevents the falafel from becoming too dense.

  • Refrigerating the mixture helps the flavors meld, and the patties hold their shape.

  • Lightly spraying falafel with cooking spray enhances crispiness.

  • Cook in batches to ensure even airflow and crispiness in the air fryer.

  • Flipping is key to achieving an all-around golden crust for a baking option.

vegan air fryer falafel recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Canned Chickpeas Instead Of Dried Chickpeas?

It’s best to use something other than canned chickpeas because they have a higher moisture content, which can result in too soft or mushy falafel. Dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, provide falafel’s ideal texture and consistency.

Why Do I Need To Refrigerate The Falafel Mixture Before Cooking?

Refrigerating the mixture helps the flavors to meld together and allows the mixture to firm up, making it easier to shape the falafels. This step is crucial for achieving the perfect texture and ensuring the falafels don’t fall apart during cooking.

vegan air fryer falafel recipe

Can I Bake The Falafel Instead Of Using An Air Fryer?

Yes, you can bake the falafel in the oven. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375°F for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden and crispy. For best results, lightly spray them with cooking spray before baking to achieve a similar crispy texture to air frying.

How Can I Make My Falafel More Flavorful?

To enhance the flavor of your falafel, consider adding more spices like cumin, coriander, garlic, and fresh herbs such as parsley and cilantro. Adjusting these ingredients to taste can elevate the flavor profile. Additionally, soaking the dried chickpeas with a piece of kombu (seaweed) can add depth and umami to the falafel.

Is This Falafel Recipe Gluten-Free?

Yes, this vegan air fryer falafel recipe is naturally gluten-free as it uses chickpeas as the base and does not require breadcrumbs or flour as binders. However, always check the labels of your spices and baking powder to ensure they’re certified gluten-free if you’re particularly sensitive to gluten.

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VIE DE LA VEGAN!

Greetings from the heart of Vie De La Vegan, where each dish we share is a chapter in a larger story of discovery, wellness, and the transformative power of a plant-based diet. My name is Julia, and I am thrilled to be your guide on this delightful culinary adventure.

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