This crispy Air Fryer Falafel recipe creates healthy falafel that’s lower in fat and perfect for a plant-based Mediterranean diet! It’s easy to make air fried falafel and this post will show you how. See post tips for making vegan gluten free falafel.
Small town girl goes Mediterranean! You won’t believe this, but I’ve actually been to Greece and Turkey. It was an amazing trip, with several days in Athens and a cruise of several of the islands, including Crete, Mykonos, Patmos, and Turkey.
However, I’m embarrassed to say that I was not a fan of the food. I was in my early 20’s and had spent most of my life in a small — I mean very small — rural Missouri town. I wasn’t up for experimenting and that left me with a very limited palate. So sad!
I hope someday to go back and right that wrong. In the meantime, I’m making my own home the source of some great vegan Mediterranean food. Besides, we know that the Mediterranean Diet is one of the healthiest ways to eat and it is primarily a plant-based diet!
How to Make Air Fryer Falafel
I love making falafel and this air fryer falafel recipe is simply a different way of cooking it. A falafel is a very flavorful morsel that is typically served as little patties.
I’ve had these at restaurants and enjoy them, but usually didn’t feel great afterwards because they’re too greasy. Too much oil! These air fried falafel solves that problem entirely!
Step One: Make the Batter
The first step to make a delicious vegan falafel is to make the batter. We’re combining canned chickpeas (drained), with lots of herbs and spices, including cumin. You can get by with dried cumin, but you have to go fresh with the parsley and cilantro. It’s what gives a falafel it’s amazing test and bright color!
Step Two: Chill the Dough
Cover and refrigerate the falafel batter for at least one hour, although longer is even better. This lets the ingredients get to know each other and firms up the batter so you can more easily roll it into balls. I have even left the covered dish in the fridge up to 3 days before forming the balls.
Step Three: Roll and Air Fry
Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge and roll the dough into balls. I used a cookie dough dispenser to create evenly-sized dough balls. Typically, you would flatten a falafel to make a patty. However, with the air fryer, I like the idea of making them round so that each part of the surface area gets browned.
How to cook falafel in air fryer. Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray and then roll each ball in a little bit of olive oil before placing it in the bottom of the basket.
Then preheat the air fryer to 375°F and place the basket in the air fryer. You’re going to cook these for a total of 12 – 15 minutes, but remove the basket once or twice and use tongs to turn the falafel. Once the balls are firm you can simply shake the basket.
Can you make oil free falafel? Sure! Simply skip rolling the falafel balls in olive oil. That said, I would give them a quick spray with vegetable spray to help them not stick and to create a crispier crust.
Can you freeze falafel?
You can freeze falafel by placing them in a freezer-safe container or bag and placing them in the freezer. They will keep up to 3 months when properly stored in the freezer.
How Long to Cook Frozen Falafel in an Air Fryer?
To cook frozen falafel in an air fryer, spray the air fryer basket with vegetable spray and then preheat to 375°F. Place frozen falafel in the air fryer basket and cook for 5 – 7 minutes, until heated through. Remove the basket at least once during the cooking process and shake to turn the falafel.
Air Fried Falafel Calories
This recipe makes 18 – 20 falafel with vegan creamy tahini sauce. The nutritional analysis estimates around 46 calories for each falafel dipped in the tahini sauce. Each falafel has 6 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fiber, for a net carb total of 5 grams each. Not too bad!
Store any leftover falafel by placing them in a sealed container. They will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. See above for freezing tips. To reheat falafel, place in a toaster oven for several minutes, or use the air fryer to reheat. Either the air fryer or the toaster oven helps to recreate that crispy coating.
The falafel turn a beautiful shade of golden brown when they’re done!
Did you know there are more ways to cook chickpeas in an air fryer? Try these Air Fryer Chickpeas for a real change of pace!
Make the Vegan Tahini Sauce
It’s easy to make the tahini sauce. Simply combine plain vegan yogurt with some tahini and lemon juice in a bowl. I have the hardest time finding tahini at my local grocery store. If this happens for you, you can buy Tahini online or substitute almond butter (unsweetened of course).
How to Serve Air Fried Falafel
There are several ways to serve air fried falafel:
- Serve a Falafel Appetizer by displaying them like an appetizer on a tray with the tahini sauce. Dip each individual ball in the sauce and enjoy!
- Make a tasty Falafel Salad. Fill a salad bowl with healthy greens like crispy romaine and leafy watercress and top with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and, of course, 3 – 4 falafel.
- Enjoy a Falafel Sandwich by lightly toasting a pita, then cut it in half and open up the pocket. Fill it with sliced romaine lettuce, chopped cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, and 3 – 4 falafel. Don’t forget to drizzle with the tahini sauce!
If you’d like something a little different, try oven Baked Falafel!
That’s it for learning how to cook falafel balls in air fryers! I hope you agree, this is an easy way to make healthy falafel.
I hope you love this recipe as we do! Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!
Vegan Falafel with Tahini Sauce
For the Falafel
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas , drained
- 1 cup chopped white onion
- 6 small cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh dill leaves
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup flour (either all-purpose flour or 1:1 gluten free flour)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil for sauteing
For the Vegan Tahini Sauce
- 1 cup vegan plain yogurt (not vanilla flavored)
- 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste – see notes for substitutes)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Add chickpeas, onion, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, cilantro, flour, baking powder, cumin, and salt to a food processor. Pulse until a coarse crumb texture is formed. Stop to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Pour mixture into a container, cover and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, up to 2 hours.
- Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to 2 days before air frying).
- While the falafel mixture sets, prepare the vegan tahini sauce. Whisk together the vegan yogurt, tahini and lemon juice until combined. Add salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until time to serve.
- Once the falafel mixture is chilled, use a spoon or cookie dough scooper to measure out 1 tablespoon of the dough. Form into balls. Place falafel balls on a plate. Repeat until all the batter has been used.
- Spray the air fryer basket with vegetable cooking spray. Preheat air fryer to 375°F.
- Use tongs to place raw falafel in the basket, arranging them on the bottom of the basket. Return basket to air fryer and cook for 15 minutes, removing the basket and using tongs to turn falafel once or twice during cooking time. Once done, remove falafel from the air fryer basket. Allow them to cool slightly.
- To serve, place falafel on a plate and serve with tahini sauce for dipping. Or add 3 – 4 falafel inside a halved, pita along with hummus, chopped romaine lettuce, and chopped onions. Drizzle with the tahini sauce.