Oil-Free Baked Falafel and Tahini sauce

double batch pictured above

My first real falafel experience was growing up in San Jose, Ca. I went to a performing arts magnet in high school for a few years to develop my inner DIVA on stage. My friends and I would often leave campus at lunchtime and hit one of the best falafel joints in the WORLD! The Falafel's Drive-In. It still rocks to this day. They still serve the same "special" everyday. A large Falafel sandwich and a banana milkshake. Fast forward to today and I can live without the milkshake but not the falafel! Of course traditional falafel is deep-fried in oil which is not how I like to get my eat on these days. When my love of falafel met head on with my desire to cook oil-free many would cringe with sad mushy balls that you may remember from college dorm cooking with dry powdered falafel mixes from the bulk bin of the Arcata Co-op. 

Well homey don't play that! 

The resulting recipe is delicious and much lower in calorie while not giving up the texture and flavor I love. I like to serve them on a green salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions with tahini dressing. Of course there is the more traditional route in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, tahini sauce and chili sauce. You can also make these into large burger sized patties if you desire. Recently we made falafel pizza which rocked! We use the tahini sauce as a base then added red onions, tomatoes, and falafel balls. After it came out of the oven we topped with slices of cucumber and more tahini sauce.

Oil-Free Baked Falafel 

Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Cooking Time:  25-30 minutes
Servings:  4

2 cans/3 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1 small red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
4 Tablespoons whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (if needed)

Preheat oven to 350.
Roughly puree beans in food processor, add onions and garlic and pulse a few more times. If you have a lot of chunks and the processor is not moving at all add the optional lemon juice. I find this happens when working with dried beans rather than the canned.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix with your hands or a spoon until it forms a cookie dough type consistency.
Shape into small balls about ping-pong sized and place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes and carefully using a spatula turn them. Return to oven for an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Hint:  I use a small disher (ice cream scoop) to keep the balls a uniform size and it seems to go quicker as well.

Tahini Sauce

1/2 cup tahini paste
1/8 cup plus more, if necessary, lemon juice
1 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 to 1/2 cup water, as needed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the tahini paste, lemon juice, and garlic in a bowl and stir. Slowly add the water a little as needed to form a smooth, creamy sauce. If separation occurs keep adding more water bit by bit and stirring until the sauce comes together. Season to taste with salt and more lemon juice, if necessary.

Hint: I like to use the immersion blender with the whisk attachment for this. You can easily double this recipe and use as a base for salad dressings or other dips.


falafel pizza

falafel sandwich with tahini and chili sauce


  1. I've been checking your blog nearly every day for updates, so I'm glad your back.
    This recipe sounds delicious but I have one question: how much flour? 4 teaspoons? Or tablespoons?


    1. wow! Every day. Ok. I promise to be more regular. <My new goal will be once a week. It should have said tablespoon. Thanks for asking. I will fix it now.

  2. This looks great and I have all of the ingredients already--can you say "dinner?" Thanks for this wonderful collection of recipes and for sharing your story.

    1. No problem! I'm glad you like them. Stay tuned on Wednesdays. My goal is to have a new post each week on hump day.


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