After an intense craving for beet falafel, I felt drawn to the kitchen to play around with a way to infuse this incredibly nourishing vegetable into falafel.
The result was a vibrant-colored, magenta falafel that was garlicky, zesty, crispy, and incredibly delicious. Plus, just 8 ingredients and simple methods required!
Origins of Falafel
The origin of falafel is an ongoing and heated debate. Some would say it’s a quintessential Israeli food, while Palestinians claim its Arab roots, and still others claim it originated in Egypt, Lebanon, or Yemen.
While we claim no expertise on the origins of falafel, we do know we absolutely love its crispy texture and rich flavor. Falafel is traditionally a fried ball or patty made from fava beans, chickpeas, or both. What’s not to love?
Those looking for a deeper dive into the much-debated history of falafel can find more information here and here.
Our inspired version uses chickpeas as a base and includes shredded beet for color and added nutrition. For a more traditional version of falafel, check out this recipe from Tori Avey, or this recipe from The Kat Chef.
How to Make Beet Falafel
This recipe starts with baking the chickpeas for 10-12 minutes to dry them out and yield crispy falafel! This a trick I learned from a friend years ago, and it’s yielded delicious vegan sausage, burgers, falafel, and more!
Next, shredded beets and baked chickpeas are added to a food processor along with garlic for zing, parsley for a fresh and herby flavor, cumin for smokiness, and sea salt for overall flavor.
Tahini and lemon juice add a little liquid to help everything blend into a tacky dough. But be careful not to over-mix as you’re not looking for a purée. See photo below for reference.
If the falafel dough is too dry, you can add more tahini or lemon juice. And if it is too wet, you can add some oat flour or gluten-free flour.
When the falafel is the right consistency, scoop out 1 ½-tablespoon portions and use your hands to form them into little patties (about 1/2-inch thick).
For cooking, you have a few options:
- Bake – this option uses less (or no) oil and is mostly hands-off.
- Pan Fry – this method is ideal for crispy falafel or if making just a few at a time.
- Pan Fry, then Bake – for even crispier falafel, you can pan fry them for a crispy exterior and then bake for 5-15 minutes for even firmer / crispier texture.
You can freeze uncooked falafel between layers of parchment paper. Then, when ready, just thaw and cook as instructed.
We hope you LOVE these beet falafel! They’re:
While delicious on their own, these falafel are elevated by the addition of hummus, (dairy-free) yogurt sauce, or tahini sauce. They would make a great snack, appetizer, or light meal. Or for a more filling meal, serve in a pita, on a salad, or in a bowl such as our Mediterranean Bowl.
Easy Beet Falafel
Beautiful bright pink beet falafel made with 8 simple, wholesome ingredients including raw beets, chickpeas, parsley, and tahini. A plant-based, gluten-free falafel perfect for wraps, salads, bowls, and more!
PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOK TIME 40 minutes
TOTAL TIME 50 minutes
Course Entrée or Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mediterranean-Inspired, Middle Eastern-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (~1 ½ cups as recipe is written)
- 1 ½ cups shredded raw beets
- 4 cloves garlic, skins removed (4 large cloves yield ~2 Tbsp or 12 g)
- 1 ½ cups loosely packed chopped parsley (some stems okay)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 – 3/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 Tbsp tahini
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1-3 Tbsp oat flour (or chickpea flour or GF flour) (optional)
- 1-3 Tbsp avocado or olive oil (for cooking) (optional)
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add rinsed and drained chickpeas to the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until slightly cracked and dried out. Set aside. NOTE: Keep oven on if baking falafel or you want crispier edges!
- Shred beet using a box grater or grater attachment on the food processor, transfer to a bowl, and set aside.
- To food processor add garlic and parsley and pulse to chop into small bits. Then add baked chickpeas, 1 ½ cups shredded beets (as original recipe is written), cumin, salt, tahini, and lemon juice, and pulse for about 15-30 seconds. Be careful not to overmix — the mixture shouldn’t be puréed, just a tacky texture that forms easily when squeezed between your fingers. If too wet, you can dry it out with some oat flour (but we didn’t find it necessary). If too dry, add more tahini or lemon juice.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as desired, adding more salt to taste, cumin for smokiness, or lemon for acidity (just be careful not to add too much lemon or the falafel will become too wet).
- Scoop out heaping 1 ½-Tbsp portions of falafel dough (we like this scoop), and use your hands to form them into approximately 1/2-inch thick patties. As written, recipe makes ~16 small falafel or 8-10 larger falafel.
- NOTE: If not cooking all of the falafel right away, FREEZE uncooked falafel between layers of parchment paper and store in a container in the freezer up to 1 month. Then just thaw and cook as instructed!
- TO BAKE: Arrange falafel on the parchment-lined baking sheet from earlier. Spritz or brush with oil for crispier texture (optional), and bake for 20-30 minutes or until crispy on the outside.
- TO PAN FRY: Heat a large skillet over medium / medium-high heat. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp oil (or lesser end of range if adjusting batch size). Swirl to coat pan. Add only as many falafel as will fit comfortably in the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until underside is browned. Then flip carefully and cook for 2-3 minutes more. If you prefer them crispier, transfer them to the oven and bake for another 5-15 minutes.
- Enjoy as is or with sauce of choice. These would be especially delicious with pita, on a salad, or in a bowl such as our Mediterranean Bowl.
- Store leftover falafel covered in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days and reheat in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven. See freezing instructions in step 6.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amounts of sea salt, oat flour, and avocado oil, and without optional ingredients.
Nutrition (1 of 16 servings)
Serving: 1 falafel Calories: 43 Carbohydrates: 5.4 g Protein: 1.6 g Fat: 0 g Saturated Fat: 0.2 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.91 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 116 mg Potassium: 85 mg Fiber: 1.5 g Sugar: 1.5 g Vitamin A: 264 IUVitamin C: 5.21 mgCalcium: 20.54 mgIron: 0.7 mg