Baked Falafel Bites with Creamy Tahini Dressing – Gluten-free + Vegan

by Beth @ Tasty Yummies

Baked Falafel Bites with Creamy Tahini Dressing - Gluten-free + Vegan

Baked Falafel Bites with Creamy Tahini Dressing - Gluten-free + Vegan

Happy summer everyone! I know I am a few days late with my wishes but I forgot to send them your way last week. I actually welcomed the change of the seasons last Thursday night with 108 sun salutations at East Meets West Yoga. A small group of us celebrated the summer solstice by doing 108 Surya Namaskar A. The significance of the number 108 is an auspicious number, open to interpretation but it has long been considered a sacred number in Hinduism and yoga. You can read more about the importance of the number 108, here in this wonderful article by Shiva Rea. The practice was such a nice way to welcome the new season and all the change that lies ahead. I am so glad I was able to participate and experience it with some of my fellow practitioners and teachers.

This time of year, even just at the very start of the summer in the midst of the heat and humidity, I crave clever and fresh meals that don’t require a ton of prep and standing around in the hot kitchen. But you have to get creative if you want to do more than just grilling. I absolutely adore salads in the summertime! Anything I can come up with that is simple, green and not hot makes me happy as can be.

The other night I wanted something more than just a regular green salad and I had been craving falafel, but I had to figure out how I could make falafel without dying of heat. I figured the best way to have it all was to mix up the “dough” mixture for the falafel and allow it to cool and come together in the fridge, while I cut up all the veggies for the salad. Then I plated the salads, made the dressing and placed that in the fridge. When it was time to preheat the oven, I quickly rolled up the falafel got it on the pan and then went outside on the patio. While the falafel baked I enjoyed the cool breeze outside and didn’t have to deal with the heat from the oven. When the falafel were ready, I tossed a couple on the already plated salads, drizzled the dressing on top and carried our plates out onto the patio where we enjoyed a beautiful dinner while the sun set. It was perfect.

Baked Falafel Bites with Creamy Tahini Dressing - Gluten-free + Vegan

These falafel are insanely simple and so delicious. I have fresh parsley and oregano growing in my garden, so I popped out back and grabbed a bunch to add to the mixture and they brought a really nice bright fresh flavor. One of my favorite things about falafel is the spicy intense flavor from the garlic, I cannot have too much garlic in my life (although those around me probably wish I consumed less). It is so good. You can feel free to add more or less, I used 3 cloves, 2 of which were so massively sized. I served the baked falafel on top of a green salad that was a mix of local greens from the farmers market, I used a half and half mix of romaine lettuce and arugula and I topped them with grape tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers and red onions. The only thing we were both missing the minute we took a bite, were some tangy and slightly spicy peperoncini. They would have been perfect.

As any good Greek girl would, I have always absolutely loved tzatziki sauce and that is how I have always preferred my falafel to be served, but since I have stopped eating dairy, I had to get creative and come up with a new way to serve it. Since tahini pairs so well with the flavor of chickpeas, I figured a creamy tahini dressing was the way to go. The nutty flavor was perfect with the creamy vegenaise and the tangy lemon juice. Feel free to stick with classic tzatziki or whatever your favorite dressing is. And if you aren’t gluten-free (or maybe you have a good gluten-free recipe), you can stuff a sliced open pita pocket with your greens, some tomatoes and onions and whatever else you’d like and top with a couple of falafel balls. That is heaven!

On Saturday, I just picked up my first CSA share from Porter Farms and it was loaded with 4 different lettuces and a variety of other greens, so you can be sure you will be seeing more salad recipes! It’s time to get creative with my salads and their toppings.

What is your favorite way to eat a salad? What foods do you crave when it is hot out?

 

Baked Falafel Bites with Creamy Tahini Dressing - Gluten-free + Vegan

Baked Falafel Bites with Creamy Tahini Dressing - Gluten-free + Vegan

Baked Falafel Bites with Creamy Tahini Dressing - Gluten-free + Vegan

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy June 26, 2012 at 10:46 am

Wow, Beth those look deliciousssss! i love falafel too and definitely crave it at times:) 108 sun salutations! wow! i bet that was an amazing experience. Definitely a wonderful way to welcome the summer! Have a great Tues!

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2 tastyyummies June 27, 2012 at 8:41 am

Thanks Caralyn! I think I may need to make these falafel every week! Yeh the 108 sun salutations was so special and definitely an amazing experience. Hope you are having a great week!

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3 lou June 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm

i heart falafel!

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4 tastyyummies June 27, 2012 at 8:39 am

me too, lou!

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5 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm

These look beyond delicious. I was about to make them for dinner right now until I read the 30 min-1 hour chill time part but now they’re on tap for tomorrow :)

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6 tastyyummies June 27, 2012 at 8:35 am

Thanks Gina. To be totally honest with you, I am not sure what it is about recipes like soccas or these falafels, etc that use chickpea flour and/or chickpeas, that makes it better if they rest for a bit. I have definitely made a socca before where I didn’t leave it sit and it was still perfectly delicious and totally great, but there is something about letting the dough rest. You’ll have to let me know what you think of them! Thanks.

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7 Stephanie June 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Those look yummy!

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8 lisa cole June 28, 2012 at 12:39 am

can’t wait to try the falafels & dressing. vegenaise & tahini, genius! :)

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9 Caitlin June 29, 2012 at 11:37 am

wow! i am making these tonight!

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10 Rebe June 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm

This look great! But I only have spelt and oat flour on hand… could either one be substituted for the garbanzo flour or no?

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11 tastyyummies June 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Hi Rebe I don’t see why not, you are just looking for something to help bind it together. I have never used spelt flour, but I use oat flour along with almond flour in my vegan lentil loaf and vegan lentil meatballs, and it works great. Please let me know how it works out if you do. Thank you.

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12 Jessica July 1, 2012 at 12:14 am

Just wanted to let you know I made this dressing tonight and it was the bomb! I cheated and used a boxed falafel mix instead of making it from scratch. Ever since going vegan I have missed a creamy wonderful dressing on my falafels. I love lemon and this was wonderful! I will definitely take the time to try your falafel recipe too. Yum!

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13 Mandee July 1, 2012 at 6:23 am

Yummo, this looks delicious! I found your blog via your guest post at Cara’s blog, Fork and Beans :)

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14 Debi Stangeland August 19, 2012 at 5:29 pm

I tried both the falafel and the dressing. It is AWESOME! I love the dressing. I’m gonna keep that in my fridge all the time. The falafel really hits the spot for my cravings!!! Thanks. I can’t wait to tell my other GF and dairy free friends.

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15 tastyyummies August 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Awesome, I am so glad to hear you liked both of them, I need to make these again soon actually. So delicious! Thanks for spreading the word!

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16 Debi Stangeland September 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Yeah, making my third batch of these. I keep the dressing in my fridge ALL the time – I love it on everything!!! Thanks for helping to feed my addiction!! You Rock!

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17 Dixya @ Food, Pleasure and Health October 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm

oh my these look so good. I love falafal but have never made one of my own. this inspires me to go home and make it right away!!! and tahini is a match made in heaven with falafal.

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18 Uroosa @ I Dream of Falafel December 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I am just crazy about Falafel and I searched a lot for it’s recipe but all seems so complicated but this one looks simple and easy, I will surely try this at home. :-)

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19 Liz January 26, 2013 at 12:14 am

How many cups of beans is in a 25 oz can, give or take?

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20 Tina. July 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Any tips on how to make this recipe easier for those of us without a food processor? Just chop everything finely, mash the chickpeas, and mix together?

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21 Liz July 2, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Tina,
I would do exactly that. I’ve made falafel doing just what you described, and it came out perfectly. If you wanted to take an extra step to ensure homogenization and a smooth base, cook the beans past the point of doneness ’til they’re super soft, which will make them easier to mash.

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22 tastyyummies July 3, 2013 at 11:12 am

Thanks for sharing your tips Liz ;) Sorry I just now saw your question about the cups in a can, I think in a 25 oz can there are approx. 2.5 – 3 cups. Sorry for the delay.

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23 Tina. July 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Thanks, Liz!

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24 tastyyummies July 3, 2013 at 11:07 am

Hey Tina, I am pretty certain it was you that I replied to on FB, but in case it wasn’t – If you have a strong blender you can try that, otherwise just chop it and mash it up by hand, it will be a tad chunkier but should still be really good. Let me know how it works out for you. Thanks!

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25 Tina. July 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Yes, that was me. I wasn’t sure if you’ll see my question here or there first. Thanks again for your answer. I have to postpone making this for a couple of days, but I will make sure to report back on how the recipe turned out.

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26 Debi @ DebiStangeland.com July 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm

I made this AGAIN today (the dressing) and it is absolutely my G0-To dressing. I always have it in my fridge, I take it to restaurants with me and I share it with everyone. Thanks for giving me a delicious alternative to all those milk based dressings out there. You’ve saved me!!!

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27 Lisa January 19, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Everywhere I’ve gotten falafel in NY, it has been served with tahini sauce, not tzatziki. Not eating dairy, I’ve always been disappointed to not find it paired with tahini whenever I’ve traveled. I never realized tzatziki was he traditional Greek pairing for it! I guess that explains it. At home I just dilute the tahini with some lemon juice and a little water and use that. Yummy.

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28 Deb August 19, 2014 at 7:37 am

I’m making these, but had to add a whole cup of all purpose flour to make a sticky ball of dough. What did I do wrong? I did rinse and drain the chick peas. I didn’t have fresh herbs, so replace them with dried. Is this perhaps the reason?

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29 Beth @ Tasty Yummies August 19, 2014 at 10:10 am

You used 1 LARGE can of chickpeas, correct? The 25-ounce size? Did you use the food processor to mash the chickpeas? Before you added all-purpose flour, did you use the chickpea flour as the recipe calls for? Fresh herbs vs dried shouldn’t matter too much.

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30 Deb August 19, 2014 at 3:15 pm

I used the 15 oz can of chickpeas. I did use the food processor to mash the chickpeas. I didn’t have any chickpea flour (I don’t even know where to get any) so I substituted all purpose flour.

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31 Beth @ Tasty Yummies August 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm

OK so yes, that would be your two problems there, which made it a much different recipe that what is posted above. Definitely you had far too much flour to chickpeas, next time try the larger can or two smaller cans of chickpeas, also I have never tested this recipe with all-purpose flour, just chickpea flour. And I barely use 1/4 cup of the chickpea flour to a large can of chickpeas. These are VERY different flours. Sorry it didn’t work out for you, but I can promise if you make it according to the recipe, you will love them. Most Asian markets carry chickpea flour, but I have also seen it at stores like Whole Foods or other health food stores.

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