Crunchy on the outside and tender in the center, this traditional gluten free falafel recipe is perfect on its own or served inside a gluten free pita. This gluten free falafel recipe is naturally vegan.
A recipe for tahini dip, also known as tartoor sauce, is included.
Gluten Free Falafel Recipe
I have several friends who have been looking for a good gluten free falafel recipe.
One that’s authentic, full of flavor, and doesn’t fall apart when frying.
This gluten free falafel recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients and it includes tips and tricks so your falafel gluten free turns out perfect each time.
Looking for another crispy, fried meal? Make Gluten Free Chicken Tenders.
What is Falafel?
Falafel are fried balls made out of chickpeas. They are made with spices and deep fried until they outer layer is crispy.
There are different variations of falafels online and in the stores, but this recipe is authentic and it doesn’t use any flour (more traditional).
Is Falafel Gluten Free?
People new to a gluten free diet often ask, is falafel gluten free? Traditional falafel is made from gluten free ingredients and is gluten-free.
If you see a store-bough gluten free falafel label that reads, “Falafel, Gluten Free” make sure to check the manufacturing disclaimers to make sure it wasn’t processed in a facility or fried in oil that also fried gluten foods.
Some recipes call for flour. This recipe doesn’t use flour.
Ingredients in Gluten Free Falafel
Dried Chickpeas - Soaked in water overnight. Do not use canned or cooked chickpeas.
Onion – White or yellow onion both work in this gluten free falafel recipe.
Garlic – Fresh garlic works best, but you can used pre-minced garlic if needed.
Green Chile Pepper – Both jalapenos and serranos work. This is optional and adds flavor.
Fresh parsley – Make sure you grab parsley at the store and not cilantro (my husband has accidently done this before). If you like cilantro, you can add ¼ cup of fresh cilantro in addition to the parsley.
Ground Cumin – For flavor.
Ground Coriander – Optional but adds to the authentic flavor profile.
Salt – Enhances the other flavors and, who doesn’t like a little salt with their fried gluten free falafels?
Black Pepper – Adds flavor.
Baking Soda or Baking Powder - Helps the gluten free falafel become airy and soft rather than tough and dense.
Oil – For frying. Use a high smoke point oil like avocado oil or vegetable oil.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.
Canned and Cooked Chickpeas Don’t Work
To make falafel, you need to use dried chickpeas that have been soaked in water for at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight.
Canned and cooked chickpeas don’t work. The structure of chickpeas breads down with you process or cook them.
Your gluten free falafel will fall apart when you fry it if you use cooked or canned chickpeas.
When Gluten Free Falafel Falls Apart
If your gluten free falafel fell apart during frying it’s usually because of one of two things.
First, did you make sure to soak DRIED chickpeas overnight? They need to be soaked for at least eight hours.
Also, they should have been dried chickpeas, not cooked or canned chickpeas.
Second, if the oil isn’t’ hot enough, they won’t do what I call “flash fry” and they will start to dissolved before the oil has had time to create the crunchy outer layer.
Tips for making Gluten Free Falafel
Canned or cooked chickpeas do not work in this recipe. So, the night before, soak the dried chickpeas in plenty of water as they will expand. Drain and rinse them before you add them to the food processor.
It is important that your oil is hot enough for frying (340-355°F). If the oil is not hot enough, the falafel balls will break apart as they’re being fried. If it’s too hot, they will brown too quickly and will be raw on the inside.
Feel free to also add ¼ cup of fresh cilantro leaves to the mixture for extra flavor and color.
Choose oil with a high smoke-point such as canola, corn, vegetable, or sunflower oil.
Serve with a simple cucumber tomato salad, tahini sauce, and gluten-free pita bread.
You can freeze the mixture for up to 3 months, skip the baking soda and only add it to the mixture right before frying.
I’ve included a recipe for Tahini sauce. You can either dip the gluten free falafel in the tahini sauce or you can drizzle the tahini sauce over the falafel before serving.
If I don’t use gluten free hummus to make wraps with gluten free falafel and gluten free pita bread, I’ll spread the pita bread with the tahini sauce.
Can you store leftover falafel?
Falafel is best when served warm and fresh. Leftover falafel tends to dry out a bit. If you have any leftovers, I recommend only keeping them for a day or two in the refrigerator. Reheat before serving.
Did you make this gluten free falafel? Please leave me a comment below letting me know what you thought.
For the gluten free falafel:
- 1 cup (8oz) dried chickpeas - soaked in water overnight (do not use canned or cooked chickpeas)
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 green chile pepper (jalapeno or serrano), optional
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- ½ tablespoon ground coriander, optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon baking soda or baking powder
- oil for frying
For the tahini sauce:
- ¼ cup tahini paste
- ¼ cup water (cold or at room temperature)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- To the bowl of a food processor, add chickpeas, onion, garlic, chile pepper (optional), parsley, cumin, salt, pepper, and baking soda. Run the food processor until everything is well combined and you get a coarse falafel mixture, about 1 minute.
- Fill a saucepan with about 2-3 inches of oil, and heat it to 340-355°F.
- Using a small cookie scoop, or your hands, form falafel balls and drop them in hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan.
- Fry for 3-5 minutes or until they’re crispy and brown in color.
- Place the falafel on a plate lined with paper towels, to drain. Repeat until all the falafel mixer us cooked.
- To make the tahini sauce: In a small bowl, whisk the tahini paste with water and lemon juice. The mixture will thicken, then it will become loose as you continue to whisk it. Season with salt. If it’s too thick, thin it out with a little bit of water.
- Drizzle gluten free falafel with tahini sauce, and serve warm.
- Canned or cooked chickpeas do not work in this recipe. So the night before, soak the dried chickpeas in plenty of water as they will expand. Drain and rinse them before you add them to the food processor.
- It is important that your oil is hot enough for frying (340-355°F). If the oil is not hot enough, the falafel balls will break apart as they’re being fried. If it’s too hot, they will brown too quickly and will be raw on the inside.
- Feel free to also add ¼ cup of fresh cilantro leaves to the mixture for extra flavor and color.
- Choose oil with a high smoke-point such as canola, corn, vegetable, or sunflower oil.
- Serve with a simple cucumber tomato salad, tahini sauce, and gluten-free pita bread.
- You can freeze the mixture for up to 3 months, skip the baking soda and only add it to the mixture right before frying.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 53Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 274mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g
This nutrition info is based on the exact ingredients and brands that I used a the time. It may not be 100% accurate. Please check your ingredients nutrition labels.