Whether you’re on a special vegan diet or just love great food, you’re really missing out if you’ve never tried falafel. And when cooked in the air fryer, this tasty Mediterranean dish serves up all the flavor without the excess fat. So read on to find out how to cook falafel in the air fryer.
What is Falafel?
Falafel is a middle eastern dish often served inside pita bread or with rice and salad. It is a small croquette typically made of chickpeas and a variety of spices. Most restaurants serve falafel with tahini sauce or tzatziki sauce for dipping.
I first tried falafel about five years ago while having lunch with a group of ladies who were all either vegetarian or vegan. As the lone carnivore in the group, I’ll admit to my skepticism when we wound up at Safier’s Mediterranean Deli in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. With no clue what to order, one of my friends suggested a falafel platter, and I discovered that I could eat falafel every day of the week. Now, I order it from the menu any time we are eating somewhere it is served. But to this day, I’ve never had better falafel than the variety served up at Safier’s. I make a point to stop in every time I’m in Louisville, and some day, I hope to know their secret spices.
Fresh Ingredients are Key
In the meantime, I’ve been experimenting with my own falafel, opting to cook it in the air fryer, rather than the deep fryer. What I’ve discovered is that texture and fresh ingredients are the key to great falafel. First, using dried chickpeas is crucial. By soaking the dried chickpeas, you get a firmer texture, which ensures your mixture won’t be too wet. Secondly, you can add a bit of chickpea flour to the mixture if you find that it is too moist and won’t shape properly. Finally, using fresh cilantro and parsley is an absolute must! Fresh ingredients really amp up the flavor.
Adjust the Spices Accordingly
Speaking of which, the measurements of the spices in your falafel is really up to you. I included a milder version in this recipe for those who aren’t fans of cayenne pepper or other spices. However, in my opinion, bland falafel is boring falafel, so add that red pepper, crank up the cumin, and add a bit more salt.
Serve with tahini or tzatziki sauce for dipping, alongside basmati rice and salad greens. Falafel is also delicious wrapped in pita bread, a delicacy commonly known as a falafel sandwich.
- 2 Cups dried chickpeas soak for at least 24 hours
- 1 diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1-2 Tbsp. chickpea/garbanzo bean flour as needed for texture
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp corriander
- 1 tsp turmeric optional
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or 1/2 tsp, if you love spicy
- 1-2 tsp. sea salt I use more salt if serving with tzatziki sauce
Soak dried chickpeas in a large bowl of water for at least 24 hours
Add all ingredients to the food processor and blend until you reach the desired texture. It should be sticky enough to roll but wet enough to stay together.
Spritz air fryer basket with your favorite oil.
Roll into 2-inch balls and place in your air fryer basket, nine or ten at a time.
Air fry at 380 for 13-15 minutes.
Serve with tahini or tzatziki sauce, plate, and enjoy!