I don’t know about you, but when I’m craving falafel goodness I don’t want to wait 24 hours to soak dried chickpeas. Unfortunately, that’s the process required for making falafel the traditional way, and canned chickpeas tend to be too mushy to use as a time-saving substitute.
That’s why I’m so grateful that Caitlin Weeks, co-author of Mediterranean Paleo Cooking, shared her super easy recipe for falafel when she visited my family’s farm in Nashville years ago. They’re crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside – kind of like hush puppies, but better – only they’re made with a cauliflower base instead of chickpeas.
Now, I’m not a “hide veggies in random recipes” kind of mom – we eat veggies at every meal including breakfast. That said, if something legitimately works and tastes amazing, I’m all for getting more servings on my family’s plate. (Hello cauliflower pizza and spaghetti squash alfredo.)
Over the years I’ve tinkered a bit with Caitlin’s recipe to suit my family’s preferences – adding in more fresh herbs and spices along with a bit of arrowroot to help all the extras hold together. We love it with this lemony tahini sauce and a side of tabbouleh, or a part of a larger mezze (appetizer) platter with hummus, gluten-free flatbread, tzatziki, olives and veggies. I hope your family loves it, too.
Easy Paleo Falafel Recipe
- 1 head of cauliflower
- ½ cup almond flour
- 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1 cup finely minced fresh parsley (I mince mine in my food processor)
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1½ tsp onion powder
- 1½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp baking powder (Here's how to make your own)
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1 cup coconut oil
- extra chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish (optional)
- Cut the cauliflower into florets.
- Chop the cauliflower in the food processor until it resembles the texture of rice. Measure out 4 cups and place in a large bowl.
- Add the almond flour, arrowroot, parsley, cumin, coriander, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and baking powder to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Once the cauliflower is ready, add it to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the whisked egg and stir again until well combined.
- Scoop out 2 tablespoons of the falafel mixture, form a pattie, and place it on a plate. Repeat the process until you’ve used all the mixture.
- In a small skillet (mine is 8 inches), heat oil over medium/high heat. I set mine just a smidge past the exact medium mark.
- Carefully drop a few of the patties into the oil, taking care not to crowd the pan. I’m usually able to fry 3-4 at a time.
- Cook the patties, flipping as needed, until they’re deep golden brown on each side.
- Remove the cookedfalafel patties and place them on a plate lined with a paper towel. Continue working in batches until all the falafel is cooked.
- Serve with tahini sauce.
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Was the cauliflower supposed to be cooked? You said to put it in a bowl and add the other ingredients, then said to add the cauliflower and set it aside to cool. I’m confused.
Thank you so much for catching that! I actually tried this recipe with many variations, including steaming and/or sauteeing the rice cauliflower before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. In the end we all thought that pre-cooking made the falafel too mushy, which is just fine with me because it means I can skip that step. Apparently I forgot to edit out that part of the instructions, though. Just corrected the recipe. 🙂
Anxious to try this recipe! I am going to use the flaxseed or chia seed mixture for the egg substitute! Should work fine as I’ve used this substitute in meatloaf and other baked items. Had falafels long time ago when visiting in Seattle.,. they were so good! Glad you shared this recipe for a paleo version of falafels!!!!!
Just wondering what to sub for the arrowroot powder. I’m low carb and arrowroot is not on my list of ok ingredients…
Thanks, looking forward to trying this.
These are great! I made them into a Greek salad with Romaine, arugula, tahini dressing, sautéed chicken and topped with sesame seeds! However, I would like to add a pro tip if your cauliflower was a little wet like mine and you didn’t want to hassle with drying it all in a towel. I used a metal circle cutter, placed it in a cast iron skillet, added oil to the ring and pressed a couple spoonful’s into the center, repeating until my skillet was full. I then used a fish spatula to flip them, and they stayed together very nicely. The recipe was too big for me to eat them all in one night, so I saved the rest in the fridge, then cooked the following night. They are definitely best when served fresh first time, but for me, I didn’t mind eating them all week long so as I didn’t have to actually prepare a new meal for myself. I cook professionally for others and my kitchen is very tiny to cook/wash up in! I will definitely be making them again!
This Easy Paleo Falafel is a great appetizer and easy to make.
I am going to make this tonight with a nice salad, sounds delish!