Baked Falafel with Roasted Tomato Sauce
Naturally vegan, and wheat-free, this recipe takes all of the hard work and mess out of making your own falafel at home.
Serve up these falafel patties with sliced cucumber (try a simple lemon, salt and chili powder dressing), tomatoes, avocado, good black olives, and sauce of your choice. Pickles or pickled vegetables are also traditional sides.
Top with a traditional Tahini sauce (tahini, lemon, garlic) or Tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber & dill). Hummus and roasted eggplant also go well with falafel to make a Middle Eastern feast. I make a plate for myself and serve my husband’s with pitas or tortillas.
I avoid nuts/seeds and dairy, and my husband doesn’t want raw garlic (which rules out the aforementioned sauces). So I make a light roasted tomato sauce instead. It goes great with falafel; and tastes like it has cream in it, though it doesn’t. :)
These falafel patties turn out both tender and crispy and can also be used in place of veggie burgers. Check out the recipe below to see how easy and healthy this meal is. (It’s also delicious… and impressive: It’s one of those meals that seems like a lot of work went into it, though it didn’t!)
This meal is going to be a regular at our table.
Recipe for Vegan Baked Falafel with Roasted Tomato Herb Sauce
Makes 8 palm sized patties. Feel free to double recipe or make 16 smaller balls. You can place these almost touching on your baking sheet.
Only about 25 minutes active time involved, and an hour total start to finish if you are a good multitasker.
1 cup dried/raw chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)- soaked 8-12 hours (do not use canned or cooked)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (2-3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional, if you like a little kick)
1 small onion- roughly chopped (size of a woman’s fist or smaller)
3 cloves garlic peeled & roughly chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leafed parsley (large stems removed)
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro (large stems removed)
Roasted Tomato Sauce-
2 cups whole cherry tomatoes
salt, pepper & olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional, or herbs of choice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
The following is how I multi-task to make the falafels and sauce with maximum efficiency. If you plan to make a different sauce, just skip that step.
Soak the chickpeas-
In the morning, place the dried chickpeas in a pot. Pick over as needed to remove any debris, stones, etc. Cover with twice as much water as beans. Put the top on the pot and set aside for 8-12 hours, or until ready to make dinner that evening.
Heat oven to 400F (200C).
Place the whole cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and olive oil. Shake the pan to coat well. To keep the mess while cooking to a minimum, lie a loose sheet of aluminum foil on top of the pan.
Roast the tomatoes in the hot oven for 10 minutes.
(Meanwhile, you can start preparing the falafel below.)
Toss well and roast the tomatoes another 10 minutes.
Wash the cilantro, remove any large stems, spin, and finely chop.
Remove tomatoes from the oven and let cool enough to handle.
Blend the tomatoes well with the cilantro, olive oil, salt, pepper and optional red pepper flakes. I use a hand stick/immersion blender.
Set aside until ready to use. This makes enough sauce for 16-20 falafels. Leftover sauce refrigerates well and goes great with almost anything.
As soon as the tomatoes are done roasting for the sauce (above) turn the oven down to 350F (175C). Or just preheat the oven to 350 to begin.
In a food processor, blend all of the ingredients from olive oil to garlic until the onion and garlic are finely minced and well combined with the other ingredients. Add the fresh herbs and process to combine again. Add the soaked and drained chickpeas and process until as smooth as possible.
Double grease a large baking sheet. I use an even layer of coconut oil followed by a good drizzle of olive oil on top of that. You can use any combination of cooking fats you prefer.
Form small patties with your hands and place on the baking sheet. They can be almost touching since they won’t spread as they bake.
Bake 20 minutes then flip with a spatula. You can reform them a little at this point, if you need to tuck in the edges of the second side.
Bake another 15-20 minutes until nicely browned on both sides.
Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.
Serve with the roasted herb tomato sauce and additional sides/toppings of choice. (See introductory notes for ideas.)
Ask me anything or leave a comment here.