I love falafel, and recently, I ate a falafel burger at a local vegan restaurant near our home. Although it was fabulous, the restaurant version wasn't as healthy as I would make at home. So, I took my Air Fried Falafel recipe and made oil-free falafel burgers at home.
Topped with my Vegan Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt Sauce), my falafel burgers are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. And, WOW! These falafel burgers turned out better than I possibly imagined.
I buy my beans, legumes, and chickpeas on Amazon in bulk. This is because they are cheaper and store well. Buying food like this (especially if you are an Amazon Prime member) is excellent, because there isn’t any shipping cost, and it arrives in a day.
THE TRICK IS TO USE DRIED CHICKPEAS INSTEAD OF CANNED ONES!
One of the biggest mistakes trying to make my falafel at home was using canned chickpeas. What I didn't know then, which I learned since, is authentic falafel is made by soaking dried chickpeas and NEVER cooking them. Instead, the soaked chickpeas cook for the first time when baking or air-frying the falafel dough.
First of all, dried chickpeas absorb a lot of water. One cup of dried chickpeas, for instance, will expand 3 times its size, yielding 3 cups of chickpeas. So, when soaking chickpeas, always use a bowl three times the size and add 3 times the amount of water to cover the chickpeas. Then, soak the chickpeas overnight.
The trick, however, is you don’t ever cook the chickpeas for baked falafel. Instead, the chickpeas are drained and then rinsed a second time before making the falafel dough.
Then, rinse the chickpeas before you plan to make the falafel mixture in a food processor. My Kitchen-Aid food processor is a sizeable 9-cup variety so that the falafel mix can be made in one batch. If you have a smaller food processor, I suggest making the falafel dough in batches.
WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE NEEDED FOR FALAFEL BURGERS?
- Dry chickpeas or garbanzo beans; soaked overnight
- White onion, diced
- Red onion, diced
- Ground pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Lemon juice
- Chickpea flour (or flour of choice)
USE A FOOD PROCESSOR FOR FALAFEL BURGER DOUGH
Once the soaked chickpeas are soaked and rinsed, it’s time to make the air-fry the falafel burgers. But, first, you need to use a food processor to grind the chickpeas and make the falafel dough.
Next, you add all the ingredients to the ground chickpeas and process them on high until you achieve a grainy dough.
Then, transfer the dough to a bowl, cover it, and place it in the refrigerator for about an hour before making the burger patties.
One of my favorite veggie burger tools is my Cuisinart Burger Press. Once the falafel dough is chilled, I form the patties using the burger press.
HOW TO COOK AIR-FRIED FALAFEL RECIPE IN AN AIR-FRIER…A FEW LITTLE HELPFUL TRICKS
There are a few other tricks to make oil-free falafel burgers that taste great.
For instance, pulse the mixture in the food processor rather than processing on high. And it is necessary to refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour to have it set up before forming the patties.
Since the falafel dough is a bit sticky, I suggest forming the patties and placing them in the freezer for 15 minutes before placing them in the air-fryer. As a result, the falafel burgers are firmer and less likely to stick.
Another helpful suggestion is to flip the falafel burgers halfway through cooking with a spatula so they cook evenly on both sides.
FREEZING AND REHEATING AIR-FRIED FALAFEL BURGERS
Since falafel burgers take only 20 minutes to cook, it's a quick and easy meal once the dough is made ahead of time. Also, if you plan to freeze extra burgers, cook them first. Reheating is simple!
If you have leftover falafel burgers, place them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Similarly, air-fried falafel burgers can be stored in a freezer in a ziplock bag.
I recommend cooking in a 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes for reheating. Or, you can also reheat air-fried falafel burgers in a microwave for 5-7 minutes.
FALAFEL BURGER TOPPINGS...KEEPING IT GREEK
Because I love the Mediterranean flavors of falafel, I kept in tradition by using traditional falafel toppings rather than typical burger toppings.
My Vegan Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt Sauce), for example, is the perfect topping. Also, I added cucumber slices and tomato slices as well.
I served garlic roasted potatoes and grilled corn on the cob I marinated in greek dressing as side dishes.
Falafel burgers taste fantastic, but they are also men-approved, which in my house is always a vegan win!
Also Read: Are There Vegan Options at Five Guys?
DO YOU LOVE MEDITERRANEAN FLAVORS? CHECK OUT THESE RECIPES
- Greek Nachos
- Greek Wrap
- Healthy Greek Pasta Salad
- Avocado Hummus
- Greek Orzo Salad
- Vegan Layered Greek Dip
- Greek Quinoa Bowl
- Quinoa Greek Salad with OMG Oil-Free Dressing
- Vegan Greek Spinach Pie
- Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- Mediterranean Salad
- Tabouli Salad
- Mediterranean Vegan Quiche
- 2 cups dry chickpeas or garbanzo beans; soaked overnight
- ½ red onion diced
- ½ white onion diced
- ¼ cup parsley
- ¼ cup dill
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons chickpea flour
- 2 Tablespoons Tahini
- Burger Buns of Choice Gluten-free or While-grain oil free or without a bun (try lettuce)
- [Vegan tzatziki]
- Cucumber slices
- Tomato Slices
MAKING THE FALAFEL DOUGH
- Soak dried chickpeas overnight; make sure you cover the chickpeas with at least three times the amount of water since the chickpeas absorb a lot of water.
- Rinse and drain the chickpeas and transfer them to a food processor with a large blade.
- Process on high until the chickpeas are ground up
- Then, add all the other ingredients.
- Pulse until all ingredients are combined; you may need to scrape down the sides to ensure all ingredients are included.
- Transfer the falafel dough to a bowl and cover for at least one hour before forming falafel balls.
- Once chilled, remove the dough from the refrigerator and form individual falafel burger patties using a burger press or your hands.
- Place the burger patties on a baking sheet and cover. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before air-frying.
- Once all patties are similar-sized patties, you are ready to cook in the air-fryer in batches. I cooked two at a time.
- Remove burger patties from the freezer and cook 2 at a time in the air fryer.
- Place 2 patties in the base of the air-fry pan, making sure not to overlap falafel patties.
- Cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping over each falafel patty at 10 minutes and then cooking the other side for the remaining 10 minutes.
- Remove air-fried falafel burgers and place them on a cooking sheet and place it in a warm oven to keep warm if making more burgers.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂