Allergen Friendly Falafel are an easy protein packed dish with oven, air fryer, and oil frying methods. This recipe is gluten, dairy, and top 8 allergen free as well as vegan.
- Why We Like This Recipe
- The Ingredient Low Down
- Instructions/ Directions and Tips
- How to Cook Gluten Free Falafels in the Oven, Instead of Frying
- How to Cook Falafels in the Air Fryer
- Meal Prepping Allergen Friendly Falafel
- Variations /Adaptations
- Storage and Reheating Instructions
- Top Tip
- What To Serve With
- Other Recipes You May Enjoy
- 📖 Recipe
- Food Safety
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Why We Like This Recipe
We love this recipe because it is a great way to feed our large family who have many food restrictions on a tight budget. The dried chickpeas/ garbanzo beans are an excellent source of protein and iron and are currently cheaper than meat. This is one way our family can stretch our money, enjoy a variety of foods, and get a well rounded diet.
This is not a traditional recipe for falafels, it is our take on what we remember falafels to be and simplified. We have made our recipe top 8 allergen free and safe for us to use and quick for us to make. Regular falafels are usually not gluten free as a binder like flour is used to make them.
- Dried Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
- Baking Soda
- White Onion
- Ground Cumin
- Gluten Free Rice Flour
- Baking Powder
- Neutral Oil
See recipe card for quantities.
The Ingredient Low Down
Dried Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
The two most common names for the main ingredient of this falafel gluten free recipe are referred to as chickpeas or garbanzo beans. They are the same thing but called different names depending on where you are in the world.This recipe must be made with dried chickpeas and not canned chickpeas.
The firmness of the dried chickpea is needed in this recipe for the falafels to hold together. If canned chickpeas are used once the patties hit the oil they will disintegrate into pieces.
Baking Soda and Baking Powder
Make sure they are gluten, wheat, and top 8 allergen free, some are not. Baking soda is used to help soften the chickpeas whilst they soak.
Yellow onion or shallots can be used instead of white. Red onions can be used as well but they may change the colour of the falafels and have a stronger onion flavour.
Fresh is best in this recipe. This recipe is great as the stems can be used as well as the leaves as they are going to be finely chopped by the food processor.
Always check spices for cross contact with allergens. Many are processed in plants with top allergens.
Gluten Free Rice Flour
A finely ground rice flour works fabulously in this recipe. Check our substitutions section for notes on using other gluten free flours.
Use one like canola or another suitable for frying oil that is safe for your allergies.
Instructions/ Directions and Tips
The night before making the falafels (18 hours before cooking the recipe) soak the dried chickpeas in enough water so they are covered by 2-3 inches with room to expand in the soaking container. Mix in the baking soda to the soaking water and then pour in the chickpeas. The chickpeas will expand considerably in size so bear this in mind when choosing a dish to soak them in. They will double their size at the least.
The next day, drain the chickpeas from the water using a colander. Rinse the chickpeas and then pat dry on a clean large kitchen towel. The soaking water for the chickpeas is not aquafaba, when using dried chickpeas it is water they are boiled in and then reduced by further boiling the boiling water. This recipe doesn’t boil the chickpeas so no aquafaba is made here. This water can be discarded without worry it could be used in other recipes.
In a food processor combine the drained chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Process the ingredients until combined. There should still be a bit of chunk left to the ingredients. It may take running the mix in batches through the food processor. Ours is on the smaller size so we usually have to split the ingredients to maintain the proper flavouring and run a batch or run through ingredients and mix them again in a large bowl.
To the food processor add the rice flour and baking powder. Continue the mixing in the processor until it is soft and stays together when pressed.
Using a 2-2.5 Tablespoon scoop, spoon out a bit of the mix into wet hands and roll the mix between your palms to form a ball. Gently flatten the ball in the centre to form small patties. The rolled falafel balls before pressing flat should be the size of a golf ball. The gluten free falafels can be kept rolled or cooked flat. The balls will take longer to cook, whereas a patty will cook quicker due to a spread out surface area in the oil.
Place the formed falafels on a plate and make them all before frying them. They can be chilled here if making them ahead of time for up to 24 hours. Chilling the falafels and letting them sit formed in patties will help to keep them together.
In a pan with deep sides, heat 1 inch of neutral oil to approximately 355F over medium/high heat on the stove. It will be ready to fry when a test bit of falafel mix bubbles in the oil.
Carefully place the falafels in the pan no more than a few at a time. Crowding the pan will cool off the oil and they will not cook properly. Each side should take 2-3 mins, or until golden. Turn with care and fry each patty on the other side 1-2 minutes, or until golden.
Remove the allergen friendly falafel from the oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
Hint: To form the falafels wet hands are the best way to stop the mixture from sticking to the hands. When frying flip with care as this is when they are most likely to fall apart.
How to Cook Gluten Free Falafels in the Oven, Instead of Frying
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray or brush the patties with a neutral oil like canola or olive oil. Place the patties on the paper and bake at 350F for 10 mins. Flip the patties and respray with oil, if needed. Continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.
How to Cook Falafels in the Air Fryer
Spray the Falafels with high heat safe oil and place in the basket of a preheated air fryer. Cook at 400F for 6 minutes and flip the patties. Spray the patties with a bit more oil and air fry for another 6 minutes. Remove with a very thin silicone lifter and place on paper towel to drain any excess oil from them.
Meal Prepping Allergen Friendly Falafel
Since the patties can be stored in the fridge or freezer uncooked or cooked this recipe lends really well to meal prepping. This is where the week’s meals are all prepped one day ahead of time and either frozen or kept in the fridge. The falafels are also great for making ahead for buffets and parties.
- Cilantro - instead of cilantro use fresh parsley.
- Lentils and Beans - Other dried lentils or beans can be soaked and used in this recipe in place of chickpeas but that will make this more of a bean or lentil ball/patty than a falafel.
- Rice Flour - a blended 1 to 1 gluten free flour can be used instead. Both with and without xanthan gum work to bind the patty. If rice isn't safe and you try a starch like corn, arrowroot, or tapioca please let us know as we haven’t tried them and would love to hear how well they bind the mix.
- Spicy - add a small fresh chilli stripped of seeds to the food processor for a spicy falafel patty. Adding ¼-1/2 teaspoon of cayenne with the cumin will also add a great flavour.
- Larger Patties - to make a veggie style burger use a gluten free floured burger press or form a burger sized patty.
- Authentic - our recipe is not an authentic recipe. To make it more authentic add dill, parsley, ground coriander, and sesame seeds. We simplified the ingredients we use.
- Large Bowl or Pot for soaking the chickpeas with enough room for them to double in size.
- Colander to drain the chickpeas.
- Food Processor to mince and combine the ingredients.
- Knife and Cutting Board to chop the onions.
- Pan for frying with deep sides.
- A high heat spatula or a Spider strainer frying tool to flip and remove the falafels from the hot oil.
- Paper towels for draining the balls and patties.
- Plates for laying out the falafels before and after frying.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
Falafels are great as they can be stored before or after frying. This means they are a fabulous meal to do most of the work ahead of time or for meal prep days.
In a sealed container the falafels will keep for 3 days in the fridge once cooked. They can also be stored for 1-2 days before cooking after being formed into patties.
In a sealed container stack patties with a piece of parchment paper in between each patty. The falafels can be stored before frying or after, once cooled. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Falafels are best reheated after thawing though they can be cooked from frozen, it will just take longer. The reheating instructions are for if the patties were stored already fried. To cook if not yet fried, let the falafels thaw completely and follow the recipe directions for frying.
To reheat if thawed, pop in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350 for 10-15 mins or until warmed through. To reheat if frozen, place the falafels in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350F for 15-20 mins or until warmed through.
On a microwave safe plate microwave the falafels for 30 seconds and then flip and microwave for another 15 seconds. Check they are warmed through, if not cook for an additional 15 seconds, as needed.
Soak dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans for at least 18 hours and up to 24 hours for the best results. We use baking soda in the soaking to help soften the dried garbanzo beans. Canned chickpeas will not hold the patty or ball form and will fall apart in the cooking process.
Check with the manufacturer of the dried chickpeas to ensure that there was no cross contact with allergens. Many dried beans, peas, and lentils are processed in plants and on machinery that may also process allergens and the processing varies from plant to plant.
What To Serve With
Looking to serve finger foods at a party or large gathering? Try falafel patties with a dollop of our dairy free tzatziki. On a vegan or allergen safe charcuterie board as a protein packed option.
There are a number of sauces that work well with falafels. For a traditional take, use tahini (contains sesame seeds) and hot sauce. Hummus and tzatziki are also excellent dips and sauces for falafel. The hummus recipe we love to make is an authentic one from The Mediterranean Dish.
They also are amazing in a wrap with lettuce, pickles, onions, and tomatoes. Using a gluten free wrap or flatbread. If good quality gluten free wraps are hard to come by in your area, serve the falafels with a salad.
Make and use a larger falafel patty as a burger patty for a bit of a change. Prep ahead, make and freeze the patty then cook from frozen on the BBQ to reheat as a burger would.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
Allergen Friendly Falafel - GF/DF, Vegan, Top 8 Free
- Large Bowl or Pot for soaking
- Food Processor
- Knife and Cutting Board
- Deep Sided Pan
- High Heat Spatula or Frying Utensil
- Paper towels
- 2 C Dried Chickpeas
- Water enough to cover the chickpeas by
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ C White Onion medium chopped
- 4 Cloves Garlic trimmed and peeled
- ¼ C Cilantro fresh
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsps Gluten Free Rice Flour
- ¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 inch in a deep sides pan Neutral Oil like canola
- The night before making the falafels (18 hours before cooking the recipe)
- Soak the dried chickpeas in enough water so they are covered by 2-3 inches with room to expand in the soaking container. Mix in the baking soda to the soaking water and then pour in the chickpeas.
- The next day, drain the chickpeas from the water using a colander. Rinse the chickpeas and then pat dry on a clean large kitchen towel.
- In a food processor combine the drained chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Process the ingredients until combined. There should still be a bit of chunk left to the ingredients.
- To the food processor add the rice flour and baking powder. Continue the mixing in the processor until it is soft and stays together when pressed.
- Using a 2.5 Tablespoon scoop (approx 2 oz), spoon out a bit of the mix into wet hands and roll the mix between your palms to form a ball. Gently flatten the ball in the centre to form small patties ½ an inch thick.
- Place the formed falafels on a plate and make them all before frying them. They can be chilled here if making them ahead of time for up to 24 hours.
- In a pan with deep sides, heat ¼-½ an inch of neutral oil to approximately 355F over medium/high heat on the stove. It will be ready to fry when a test bit of falafel mix bubbles in the oil.
- Carefully place the falafels in the pan a few at a time. Crowding the pan will cool off the oil and they will not cook properly. Each side should take 5 mins, or until golden. Turn with care and fry each patty on the other side 4-5 minutes, or until golden.
- Remove the falafels from the oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Contact the manufacturer of products, regarding cross contact and ingredients, to ensure they are safe for you
- Always check ingredients for allergens
- Do not use the same utensils on allergen free food, that previously touched allergens
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Use extra care when frying foods in oil, never put water in hot oil
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove