FREEZER MEALS! Y’all. Freezer meals are my jam. Especially freezer jams 🤣. And especially this vegan falafel! With two kiddos (admittedly, one of them doesn’t eat people food quite yet) at home and a work from home hubby I am all about freezer foods lately. Let’s just say, lunchtime has gotten a little hectic around here. As has breakfast. And dinner. We live in a madhouse. It’s fine. Everything’s fine. We’re fine…
But, anytime I can make food ahead, pop it in the freezer, and then surprise my family with a delicious meal without losing my mind – it’s a BIG win. And that is exactly what you can do with this vegan falafel. You can cook it as soon as its prepared, or you can shape, flash freeze, store, and then pop tiny little discs of deliciousness out whenever you need a quick, healthy-ish meal. And I am so in love with how easy it is 💚.
Another big win for this falafel: it’s toddler approved. Granted, I have a 🦄 of a toddler who will eat just about anything (including salad, one of his favorites 🤷🏻♀️). But still. Try it – let your kiddo explore and play with it and you might just be surprised at how much he/she likes it!
I tested this recipe with cooked chickpeas and canned chickpeas and honestly both worked great and we could not tell a difference. I know there are some recipes out there that call for cooked chickpeas and I am sure they are more authentic, but let’s be honest. Who has time for that??
Some recipe notes for the vegan falafel:
- Like I said above, feel free to use canned or cooked chickpeas (3 cups of cooked chickpeas for 2 cans)
- The dough works best if you allow it to rest in the fridge for 1 hour – and hey, if the vegan falafel dough gets to rest for 1 hour then so should you! But, if you don’t have time for that no worries. It might be a little trickier to form into patties, but it is totally doable.
- We love this plain but it is especially yummy in a wrap – ingredients to make your own wrap like the ones in the photos are included, along with a delicious sauce that we eat on everything
- We tried and tried and tried to cook our vegan falafel straight from the freezer to make life even easier. It just didn’t work out for us. It definitely cooks and tastes fine and in a pinch it would work, but part of what makes this falafel so yummy is how crispy it gets so the best way to enjoy it is to allow the frozen patties to thaw and then lightly fry them
- To make a GF version sub in chickpea flour and GF breadcrumbs
- Don’t skip the sauce – its amazing and we put it on EVERYTHING
- 2 15 oz cans chickepeas rinsed and drained, or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 shallot chopped
- 1/2 c fresh parsley roughly chopped
- 7 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 c pumpkin seeds
- 2 t salt
- 2 t cumin
- 2 t dried oregano OR 1 T fresh
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/2 c flour OR 1/2 c chickpea flour for GF option
- 1/2 c panko breadcrumbs OR GF breadcrumbs
- 1/4 to 1/2 c EVOO oil for frying
For the Falafel Wraps – Optional
- 1 cucumber sliced
- grape or regular tomatoes sliced or diced
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1/2 red or sweet onion sliced
- 4 pieces of lavash or pita bread
Vegan Greek Yogurt Sauce – Optional
- 1 c yogurt I like almond yogurt for this
- 1/4 c milk
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 t garlic powder
- 1 t oregano
- 1/2 t lemon pepper
- salt and white pepper to taste
- In a large food processor combine the chickpeas, shallot, parsley, garlic, pumpkin seeds, salt, cumin, oregano, baking powder, and flour. Process just until a dough forms about 45 seconds to 1 minute.
- OPTIONAL STEP: Cover the falafel dough and place in fridge for an hour. Remove dough from fridge and proceed with recipe.Either while dough is resting in the fridge for 1 hour, or just resting on your countertop for a few minutes, mix up the sauce and prep the ingredients for wrap if you are eating one.TO MAKE THE SAUCE: Combine yogurt and next 6 ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. Whisk together until smooth. Store in fridge until you are ready to use. Will store in fridge for up to 5 days.
- If you plan to cook the falafel immediately, begin heating oil in a large skillet on the cooktop over medium-low heat. Prepare a plate with paper towels and set aside.Prepare a baking pan with wax or parchment paper on it, set aside. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.
- Using a cookie scoop (or scoop up dough in a heaping tablespoon), scoop out dough into balls. Slightly flatten the balls in your hands and press gently into the breadcrumbs to coat both sides. Place the falafel patty on the prepared baking sheet and continue making the patties until all the dough has been used.
- To cook immediately: Once the oil is hot and shimmery and a piece of breadcrumb fries in it, place the falafel patties in the pan to fry, being careful not to overcrowd the pan (you will most likely have to cook the patties in batches). Fry for about 2 minutes per side then drain on the paper towel lined plate. Continue cooking until all patties are done. Serve immediately as is or in a Greek wrap with sauce and enjoy!
- To freeze for later: Flash-freeze uncooked falafel patties for 1 hour and then place in a freezer safe container and store for up to 6 months.To cook: Remove falafel patties and allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge, or defrost them in the microwave just until thawed (defrost times will vary depending on your microwave). Alternatively, you can thaw the falafel patties on the counter for about 30 minutes. Proceed to cook falafel as described above and enjoy!
- NOTE: To make a GF version replace the flour with chickpea flour and use GF breadcrumbs.
- NOTE: We tried cooking previously frozen patties directly from the freezer and we tried baking them (both thawed and from the freezer) – neither method turned out as well as thawing and lightly frying them. You absolutely can bake frozen or thawed patties in your oven at 375 for 20 to 30 minutes (flipping halfway through), BUT they won't be as crispy.
A crispy little falafel hug from me to you 🤗
If you make this vegan falafel…
Please share your results – leave a comment below and post a photo on Instagram with #braisedinakitch for a chance to be featured in my Instagram stories!