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Baked Falafels with Labneh Tahini Sauce

Bake a batch of homemade chickpea falafels (naturally gluten-free and vegan) and serve with an array of accompaniments to make your wraps or breakfast bowl or salad bowl. I have included a quick labneh tahini dip recipe along with a vegan version too. In this post, I will be sharing only how to bake falafels, for the recipe to make falafel patties from scratch, do check the linked posts in this article. 
Baked Falafels served with accompaniments

Why bake falafels?

Apart from the fact that baking falafels are much easier and less messy than deep frying, the number one reason would be - low calorie than deep-fried. Yes, you can bake falafels and Baked falafel is a healthier option than deep-fried falafel. Baked to golden brown and crispy on the outside with the tender delicious herby inside, these falafels contain significantly less fat than the fried version. Falafels, being naturally gluten-free, vegan and protein-rich food option, only gets better by baking instead of frying for those on diet or not. 

How to make the best Homemade Baked Falafels?

Make a batch of my winning, reader's favourite deep-fried Falafels and ensure to shape them into patties instead of balls. Freeze until hardens. Line a baking tray with foil and brush the falafels individually with olive oil or any cooking oil of your choice. Bake in the middle rack of a preheated oven turning sides and brushing midway. Bake until golden and crispy edges. Check below for a detailed recipe.

These steps apply to both frozen or freshly made falafels. In these images, I have used my homemade frozen falafels. If using frozen falafels, do not thaw. 

Frozen Falafels ready to be baked
Frozen not thawed homemade falafel patties

Falafels ready to be baked
Brushed both sides with oil

half baked falafels
Half baked

half baked Falafels turned and brushed with oil
Flipped

Baked falafels out of oven
Fully baked falafels

Baked falafels
Baked Falafels

Baked Falafel Serving Suggestions

You can easily serve falafel as an appetizer along with yoghurt or tahini-based dip. You can use them in a pita wrap or sandwich, or crumble and add to salads, or make a bowl of your own falafel salad ditching the pita for a low-carb version. 

Falafels pairs well with any of the following ingredients:
  • Pita (khubz)
  • Boiled eggs 
  • Arugula (gerger leaves)
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Pickled veggies like cucumbers
  • Red onion
  • Yoghurt based sauce or dips (like labneh, tahini, olive oil)
Baked Falafels served with accompaniments

I cannot think of Falafel wraps without boiled eggs. That is how our go-to cafeteria back in Yanbu used to serve in the morning. Fridays in Yanbu always began with a takeaway of fresh falafel wraps with egg for me and a chicken liver sandwich for him. We eat in the car while driving to one of our usual spots - either the waterfront corniche or the sunrise spot at Yanbu Al Nakhl. So, boiled eggs will always be part of my falafel spread. :-) Funny, I still reminisce Yanbu days even after 2 years of UAE life. 

How to make falafel wraps?

I learnt recently to wrap shawarma and falafel neatly without any mess and guess who taught me? The Mr F :-) 
  1. Take a pita bread and carefully tear it open until you can open but the two sides are still attached.
  2. Place it flat on the board and spread the labneh tahini sauce that you have prepared on one side. 
  3. Tuck the thinly sliced pickled cucumbers, leaves, crumbled falafels and spread them along the length, place sliced tomatoes and boiled egg wedges, bell peppers, etc. 
  4. Take the other side of the pita bread and tuck it to cover all the stuffings and carefully roll to finish the wrap. (I hope to make a video and share next time I make it, insha'Allah! )
I always get dm questions asking why can't we use canned chickpeas for falafel? or Can you make falafels with canned chickpeas? Like I mentioned in my Falafel recipe post, it is not a good option to use canned or boiled chickpeas to fry falafels but you may try baking. But I have not tested as I always used dried chickpeas for my cooking. So if you baked falafels with canned chickpeas and it turned out good, please do leave a comment so others can benefit from your experience.

If you do have only canned chickpeas and want to try a middle eastern recipe, then go ahead and make my Fatteh Hummus! You will not regret it! 

The main difference between a baked falafel vs fried is the fat content from oil therefore the total calorie. So, it is safe to say it is better to bake falafel.  Serve baked falafel with some cauliflower rice inspired tabbouleh and tahini sauce. Oven-baked falafels follow a similar process of baking samosas. Prepare the tahini sauce with or without labneh (refer to recipe notes) close to serving time to keep the taste fresh and not bitter. 

Baked Falafels Recipe with Tahini Sauce

INGREDIENTS

For baking falafels:
  1. Falafel patties* 
  2. any cooking oil (olive oil, sunflower oil, melted ghee or butter etc.)
* Assuming you already have prepared the falafels or have a stash of frozen ones, here is how I bake my homemade falafels that are frozen or chilled. 

For Labneh Tahini Sauce:
  • 1 cup labneh or greek yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon tahini or to taste
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Juice of lemon to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
For a salad bowl or wraps:
  • Arugula leaves
  • Red onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Pickled cucumbers
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • a drizzle of sauce

METHOD

For baking falafels:
  1. Preheat your oven to 200℃ Hot air and line a baking tray with foil or baking paper.
  2. Place the frozen or chilled falafels on the foil and start brushing both sides with your choice of cooking oil.
  3. Put the tray in the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for a total of 25 minutes flipping halfway through.  Brush more oil if required and bake again for the remaining minutes or until you see the edges brown.
  4. Take the time to prepare your assortments of sliced pickled cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onion, arugula, sliced hard-boiled eggs, and a bowl of labneh dip.
  5. Remove baked falafels from the oven and transfer them to a serving platter and serve as part of the mezze along with tahini sauce and salad.
For Labneh Tahini Sauce:
  1. Add the labneh to a bowl and give it a good whisk to smoothen.
  2. Add tahini, minced garlic, lemon juice and salt and whisk well to combine. Taste and add more tahini or lime juice or salt as required.
  3. Stir in the extra virgin olive oil. Add water if you want a runny sauce. Serve immediately.
  4. For the vegan tahini sauce, skip the labneh or yoghurt and increase tahini. Whisk tahini with lime juice until thick and fluffy. Stir in cold water to dilute. Add garlic and salt to taste. Keep the sauce thick for wraps and thin for salads. Here is an approx recipe - 3 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 cup tahini, 1/4 cup cold water, 1 clove of garlic and salt to taste.
PS: For non-vegans, if you don't like tahini, then you can always use garlic infused mayo dip!

Baked Falafels served with accompaniments


TRIED THIS RECIPE? I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then please do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then please do share the recipe with your friends and family on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Please do follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchaiblog so that I can see your creations!

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