Air Fryer Falafel

This easy Falafel recipe is made quicker and healthier in the air fryer with canned chickpeas – no deep frying!

Air Fryer Falafel

Falafel is a delicious Middle-Eastern vegetarian dish made with chickpeas, a mix of onions and different herbs and spices. They are shaped like meatballs, but there’s no meat in them. I wanted to create a falafel recipe that was quick and easy, made from canned chickpeas and didn’t require frying. Solution, air fryer to the rescue! You can see more air fryer recipes here!

Protein packed, nutritious and light – these un-fried falafels will delight your palate. Perfect on days you want to go meatless or just include more plant based foods in your diet. Serve them in a pita, over hummus, with couscous, or over rice – you decide! Also great for meal prep!

What are falafels made out of?

Falafel balls are usually made out of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), but you can find other variations depending on where you buy your falafel. The chickpeas are usually soaked, then ground up, and seasoned with herbs, spices and aromatics.

Because they are usually made from soaking dried chickpeas, they can be quite time consuming to make. I wanted a speedy recipe because I never have time for that so rather than starting with dry garbanzo beans, I created this quicker version with canned garbanzo beans instead.

The challenge using canned chickpeas is the inside comes out too soft, almost like a mashed potato texture. So I reworked the recipe a few times to get them just right. The trick is to blend all your other ingredients first so you don’t over-process the chickpeas and just pulse them a few times at the end. A few spritzes of olive oil before air frying makes them crisp on the outside and tender inside.

What is traditionally served with falafel?

The traditional way of serving it is to stuff two or three pieces in a pita, along with lettuce, cucumber, tomato and a dollop of tahini. But it can also be eaten – hot or cold – as an appetizer or as part of a main course salad. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Serve them in a hollow pita. That’s pretty obvious, here in NY most street carts that sell them, they come in a pita with tomatoes, red onion and even pickles. Falafel is commonly accompanied by tahini or a spicy harissa hot sauce.
  • Serve them over hummus. That’s my favorite way to eat them, topped with cucumbers, red onion and tomatoes. A few pieces of toasted pita wedges on the side. Also great to pack for lunch!
  • Make a platter. Serve them over couscous or basmati rice with tomatoes and cucumbers.
  • Lettuce wraps. Not traditional but you can keep it light and serve them in lettuce wraps. The outer leaves of a head of iceberg lettuce, in my opinion make the best “wrap” because they are larger and easier to fold.

Are falafels vegan or vegetarian?

Yes, falafel is both vegetarian and vegan. They are made from 100% plant-based ingredients—chickpeas, herbs, spices, and onions. It’s typically served with other vegan-friendly foods such as pita bread, salad, and pickled vegetables.

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Air Fryer Falafel

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Refrigerate Time: 2 hrs

Total Time: 2 hrs 45 mins

This easy Falafel recipe is made quicker and healthier in the air fryer with canned chickpeas – no deep frying!

  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons AP flour, plus more for dusting
  • olive oil spray

Optional for serving:

  • hummus, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, thinly sliced red onion, pita, tahini, etc
  • Dry the chickpeas on paper towels.

  • Place the onions and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, scallions, cilantro, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes.

  • Process until blended 30 to 60 seconds, then add the chickpeas and pulse 2 to 3 times until just blended, but not pureed.

  • Sprinkle in the baking powder and the flour, scape the sides of the bowl down with a spatula and pulse 2 to 3 times.

  • Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate, covered, 2 to 3 hours.

  • Form the falafel mixture into 12 balls, if it’s too sticky add some flour to your hands and your work surface.

  • Preheat the air fryer 350F.

  • Spray the falafel with oil. Cook 14 minutes, in batches until golden brown, turning halfway.

Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Freeze uncooked balls for up to 6 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before air frying.

Serving: 3falafel balls, Calories: 134kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 2g, Sodium: 403mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g

Blue Smart Points: 1

Green Smart Points: 5

Purple Smart Points: 1

Keywords: Air fryer falafel, Easy falafel recipe, falafel, Falafel recipe canned chickpeas