Falafels are one of my favourite Middle Eastern foods, and although I enjoy the real thing from time to time, I’ve always wanted to make a more paleo-friendly version without the legumes. To all falafel purists out there…I know this is not a real falafel. I could call these ‘cauliflower, tahini and cashew patties’…but where is the fun in that?
These lovely patties are fluffy and soft, and moister than the traditional falafels. I actually find some deep-fried falafels, especially store-bought, too dry and course.
I love eating paleo falafels simply dipped in a little spicy dipping sauce, chilli aioli or babaganush dip, or wrapped in lettuce leaves with some kimchi or sauerkraut. You can use them to top a salad or serve as a side dish with meat, fish and vegetables.
By the way, kids won’t even know they’ve got veggies inside.
Tahini is a little bit like peanut butter but made from sesame seeds. You can usually find it in most supermarkets and health food stores. I used the ‘hulled’ sesame tahini, which is lighter in colour.
Tapioca flour/starch or coconut flour can be used to bind the mixture together and to give it some density. You can find these flours in most health food stores and online (see notes below). Arrowroot flour or cassava flour can be used instead of tapioca, or even some buckwheat or quinoa flour or almond meal.
I baked these falafel balls but you can also pan-fry them in a little coconut oil or avocado oil.
Shop for key ingredients on Amazon: cashew nuts, tahini, tapioca flour, coconut flour.
Baked Paleo Falafels with Fiery Dipping Sauce
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 50 mins
- Yield: 3 1x
- Category: Vegetarian
For the falafels
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in warm water for 1 hour (at least 20 mins)
- 2 large cauliflower florets or 4-5 smaller ones (see picture)
- 4 broccoli florets
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 small red onion or young white onion
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini paste
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed powder
- 2/3 teaspoon coriander seed powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 tsp celery seeds (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- Handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour (or 1 tablespoon coconut flour)
- 1 teaspoon ghee and 1 teaspoon coconut oil (or 2 teaspoons of either)
For the dipping sauce
- 1 teaspoon tahini
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce/chilli sauce or chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 200 °C / 400 °F. Grease a sheet of baking paper with some ghee or coconut oil.
- Place all ingredients, except for tapioca/coconut flour, in a food processor. Grind and process everything into fine crumbs, until the mixture starts coming together (coming away from the sides and wrapping into itself). It should take about 2 minutes, including scraping off the sides as you go along. If you find that the vegetables are not grinding properly, I suggest to do this in two batches and then mix and process two batches together again once you have smaller crumbs. As you’re grinding the mixture, it will produce some moisture, so don’t rush to add any water or think it’s too dry.
- Transfer the mixture into a large bowl and sprinkle with tapioca and coconut flours. Mix well together allowing the flours to soak up some of the moisture and make the mixture more sticky.
- Scoop 1 tablespoon of the mixture and shape it into a small ball in your hands. Use the spoon to help you shape and flatten the ball slightly. Place on the baking sheet lined oven tray. Continue with the rest of the mixture.
- Melt about a teaspoon of each ghee and coconut oil in a little saucepan or microwave. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, coat the top of the falafels with a thin layer of melted oil.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the tray and turn the falafels over very gently. Place back in the oven for 15 minutes and reduce the heat to 180 °C/360 °F. Once the time is up, remove from the oven and cool slightly before transferring to a plate.
- To make the dipping sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Serve on the side.
Serving size: 5 falafels
Calories per serving: 280
Per serving: total carbs 24g (net 20g), fibre 4g, sugar 3.3g, protein 7.5g, fat 19.5g.
Hi! You have a red onion in the image but not in the ingredients list, should I include one?
Making these for dinner tonight, yum!
Ah well spotted! Yes, it’s supposed to be in there, although it would work without as well. I will add to ingredients, left out accidentally.
They look amazing Irena!! Probably up there with your meatballs recipe I made before! Will have to try 🙂
I hope you enjoy them 🙂
Hello! This looks wonderful. I would really like to make these for my mom, but she recently discovered she cannot have sesame. Do you have any suggestions for a tahini substitute? I was thinking cashew butter might work.
Hi Claire, I think either cashew or almond butter will work well. Just add a little more garlic and cumin powder for flavour as tahini does give it that real ‘falafel’ flavour. They will still be yummy though.
Thanks so much!
These look great! Can they be frozen or stored in the fridge for a couple of days?
I would probably recommend them fresh or you can keep them in the fridge for a couple of days, but not freezer.
Hi, thank you so much for the recipe. I made these baked falafels and they are awesome! I’m making this every week now. These are much healthier than the real thing too, and I actually liked these better than the bad ones. These definitely satisfy my craving for mediterranean food. Thanks again for sharing.
Thank you for such a lovely comment. I am glad these have become a regular on the menu. x
Love Middle Eastern foods and falafel is one of my favorite as well. It looks super yummy in those pictures. Planning to make it this weekend.
Thank you. Let me know how it goes and if you liked them.
SO GLAD I FOUND THIS RECIPE!!! I love falafels but have recently figured out I’m highly intolerant / allerigic to all legumes 🙁 I’m slightly devastated but also relieved as the majority of my intense gut pain is gone. These remind me of the fresh Israeli falafels I used to get in Northcote. Thanks so much! Kids won’t eat them but hubby is a fan – still winning!
Thanks, Sab. Glad you discovered this recipe then. I get a bit of indigestion from legumes as well, so I feel your pain.