This crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside vegan delights are my family’s Egyptian falafel recipe with one minor adjustment. I finish them in the oven for a light and easy twist on the traditional fried falafel. Don't forget to soak the chickpeas overnight–and avoid any temptation to use canned! An overnight soak is all you need to tenderize the chickpeas and make the crispiest baked falafel with very little effort.
The day before: soak the chickpeas. Place the dried chickpeas and baking soda in a large bowl. Cover with at least 2 inches of water. Soak overnight until the chickpeas have softened (at least 18 hours).
Process the falafel mixture. When a chickpea easily breaks apart when you squeeze it, drain and pat them dry. Transfer to a large bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Add the chickpea flour, baking powder, parsley, cilantro, dill, onion, and garlic. Season with the black pepper, cumin, coriander, cayenne (optionally), and a generous pinch of salt. Run the food processor, pulsing for 40 seconds each time until everything is well combined.
Chill. Transfer the falafel mixture to a container and cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours).
Get ready. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a sheet pan. Just before baking, stir in the sesame seeds until incorporated.
Make the falafel. Form the falafel mixture into balls that are about ½-inch thick (about 1 tablespoon each). Wet your hands as you go to prevent sticking. Transfer to the oiled sheet pan, and brush the tops of the falafel with a thin layer of olive oil.
Bake the falafel. Bake for 8 minutes. Flip, then bake until they’re golden brown and cooked through, about 7-12 minutes longer.
Serve. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve the falafel hot, next to other small plates. Or, assemble the falafel patties in pita bread with Tahini Sauce or Hummus, arugula, and Mediterranean Cucumber Tomato Salad. Enjoy!
Avoid any temptation to use canned chickpeas (very important!). For the best texture and flavor, you need to start with dry chickpeas. Many falafel recipes use canned chickpeas which is not authentic and will often result in patties that crumble apart when you cook them.
You can buy already toasted sesame seeds. Or, toast sesame seeds in a dry pan on low heat, swirling until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
You can find chickpea flour online or in the baking section of your grocery store. Use any remaining to make farinata, an Italian chickpea pancake!
To Freeze: To make ahead and freeze, place the uncooked patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. When they harden, transfer them to a freezer bag and freeze them for up to one month. Bake from frozen, adding 5 or so minutes to the cook time.