These vegan and oil free Spinach falafel croquettes are so tasty and healthier than the popular deep fried version. Made with canned chickpeas for convenience, they are perfectly crispy on the outside and savory and soft on the inside. It's also a perfect finger food for kids!
Falafel reminds me of my university years spent in Montreal. Like any other young adult in their 20's, I would frequently go out and one of the most popular finishing place was at a gyro place at the corner of St-Denis. Oh Montreal, how much do I miss you.
I remember very clearly the warm thick wrap filled with fried crispy falafel balls and topped with a garlicky cream sauce. It was always a successful end to our nights.
Well, these years are long gone, but I'm still craving falafel regularly. These little bites are such a delicious way to eat more beans and they are very easy to make at home!
Why you will love these spinach falafel croquettes:
- Healthier: Keep your deep fryer hiding away! This no oil recipe proves that falafel can be extra delicious even when oven baked. Also packed with spinach to get an extra dose of greens.
- Crispy texture: To make these, you will cover the chickpea mixture with a breading before cooking. This is not part of a typical falafel recipe, I know, but doing this will help get that crispy surrounding even though the falafel is not fried.
- Kid friendly: These are the perfect finger food even for picky eaters! You will enjoy watching them gobbling up healthy chickpeas and spinach and they won't even know about it.
- Versatile: Every time I make these falafel balls, I serve them differently. They can stuff sandwiches, make it in a salad bowl, as an appetizer or even as a burger patty!
How to make these spinach falafel balls:
1- Make the chickpea mixture (canned chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic and dill). Then, add wilted spinach and mix well.
2- Using about 2 packed tablespoons, make a ball shape out of the chickpea mixture, cover it with the breading and transfer it on a baking sheet. Keep going until you used all the mixture. The balls, after breading, should be about the size of a large lime.
3- Press gently with a fork to form a patty shape. It's fine if there are a few crackings on the edge when pressing. The patties should be about ½ to ¾ of an inch thick, so do not press too much.
4- Cook in the oven and voilà!
How to eat these Spinach falafel balls
- These vegan falafel croquettes are delicious simply dipped into a sauce, especially this tzatziki or this vegan ranch dip. Or if you love spicy food, then try dipping them in this vegan buffalo sauce.
- Make a colorful bowl: Start with a base of brown rice and spinach, then top with falafel along with diced cucumber, tomato and kalamata olives. Add a sauce like a tzatziki or a tahini based sauce.
- Add them in a pita wrap just like you would for a Gyros (with tomatoes, crunchy lettuce, onion, pickles, etc) or pile them in a regular sandwich. I like to make my own vegan tortillas and stuff them with these falafel.
How to store them
I have stored them in a air-tight container for up to 4 days in the fridge. They will lose some of their crispiness after being stored though!
So here is what I do: when freshly made, we eat them as finger food dipped in a sauce. After being stored in the fridge, I use them to stuff sandwiches or wraps for our lunches.
I hope you will love this spinach falafel as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let us know how it was.
Spinach falafel - Vegan and Oven baked
- Food processor
For the breading:
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 3 tbsp flax meal (ground flax seeds)
- ¾ cup water
- 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
To make the falafel:
- 2 x 15.5 oz canned chickpeas - drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 2 tsp garlic - crushed
- 2 packed tbsp fresh dill
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 packed cup fresh spinach
- Pre-heat the oven at 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a first medium size shallow bowl, add the whole wheat flour with some salt and pepper and mix.
- In a second medium size shallow bowl, combine the flax meal with the water and mix well to remove all the clumps. Let sit until ready to use, for about 10 minutes. The texture will be very slimy like beaten eggs.
- In a third medium size shallow bowl, add the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper to taste. Mix.
- In a food processor, add the chickpeas (dry them as much as you can before), lemon juice, tahini, garlic, dill, salt and pepper. Process until you reach a very smooth texture. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- In a large pan, cook the spinach at low-medium heat until wilted (it should take about 5 minutes). Add a tablespoon or 2 of water so it doesn't burn and watch carefully while mixing constantly. Transfer to a cutting board, pat dry with paper towel if you added water and chop the cooked spinach in small pieces. Then, transfer to the chickpea mixture and mix well.
- Mesure about 2 packed tbsp of the chickpea mixture and form a ball rolling it in between your hands.
- First, completely cover the ball with the whole wheat flour. Then cover the balls with the flax seed mixture. Finally, cover the ball with the breadcrumb mix making sure it's covering its complete surface. The balls will be soft at this point and they will lose on their perfect round shape a bit, just try to be gentle. I usually roughly re-shape them while covering with the breadcrumb mix in the last step. Transfer the ball on the parchement paper and keep going until you used all the chickpea dough. After the breading, the balls should roughly be about the size of a large lime.
- Press gently on the balls with a fork to form a small patty shape as shown in the picture (the croquettes will be cracking on the edges, but that's fine!). The patty should be about ½ to ¾ of an inch thick, so do not press too much.
- Cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, flip the falafel with a spatula (they will still be soft at this point) and cook for 15 more minutes. Let sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before eating.
- Serve while still warm with this tzatziki or the sauce of your choice.
- You can store the falafel in the fridge for about 3-4 days, but they will lose on their crispiness after storage.