This air-fried lemony falafel recipe is incredibly easy and quick to make. They make rich, tasty snacks alongside some dipping sauces, fresh crudites, and vegetable skewers.
Falafels are a healthy plant-based source of protein and a fantastic source of fiber. And because we are air-frying them, you are also not ingesting all those unhealthy fats!
And don’t forget to go check out my many other vegan recipes as well!
What Are Falafels?
Many people have come across falafel at least once in their life. However, most people don’t know what this delicious Middle Eastern snack is.
Basically, it’s a deep-fried fritter made from a combination of blended chickpeas or broad beans with various herbs, spices, and aromatics.
There isn’t a set combination of flavorings that are used. That means you can get creative! As long as the flavors pair well with chickpeas, they will make amazing falafels.
Most falafel recipes contain toasted cumin and coriander seeds. Garlic is another staple accompanied by a little bit of onion.
Today’s air-fried lemony falafel recipe is a little bit different from traditional falafels. First of all, they will be air-fried, not deep-fried in oil. This makes these lemony falafels a lot healthier in comparison!
Then, I’ve also only used chickpeas, as many falafel recipes do. I added some fresh parsley and coriander for a refreshing herbaceous undertone and, of course, a lot of fresh lemon juice for that lemony flavor.
The flour in this recipe is essential as it helps combine all of the ingredients.
Once they are blended and shaped into bite-sized snack balls, you can place them in the air-fryer and leave them to bake until they are crispy.
Is Falafels Healthy?
It’s a tricky question that you need to approach from different angles. Generally, many people consider falafels to be extremely nutritious. And they are!
Falafels, including my homemade air-fried falafels, contain a ton of protein and are a great source of fiber. They also contain vitamins and minerals that offer a ton of benefits to your body.
However! Because you deep-fry the balls, you are almost completely canceling out any “benefits” you could have received from these bites.
Deep-frying food is extremely high in saturated and trans fats which can have detrimental effects on your blood pressure and overall heart health.
For that reason, I’ve decided to develop a healthy falafel recipe by air-frying them instead.
Air-fried falafels are just as crispy but lack all the bad fats. And, while the cooking times increase slightly, it’s still a relatively quick dish to make.
What Can I Serve With Air-Fried Lemony Falafel?
Falafels are traditionally served with hummus and tahini sauce. Together, Middle Eastern households refer to this combo as a “falafel plate.” It makes a fantastic protein-loaded snack for any time of the day and any occasion.
But falafels are a lot more versatile than this! Many people love serving these plant-based protein snacks in a salad, pasta, or casserole. You can also incorporate it into wraps and even blend it with other cuisines. A great example of this is falafel tacos!
I personally love serving them alongside my Kenyan Kachumbari salad (that comes with a homemade simple salad sauce) or this Smoky Red Pepper Crema.
And I also often incorporate it into this Cucumber And Onion Salad.
There are a million things you can do with falafels. You just have to experiment a little to find a serving option you love!
Tips And Tricks For This Air-Fried Falafel Recipe
- If your falafels fall apart, it means that you have too much liquid and not enough binding ingredients. It could also mean the opposite: that the mixture is too dry and doesn’t want to “stick” together. Luckily, it’s easy to fix.
- Crumbly falafels that don’t want to come together need a binding ingredient. For this air-fried lemony falafel, I would add a little bit of egg or egg whites. You can also add more chickpeas if you’d like.
- For a falafel mixture that is too runny and doesn’t want to come together, add more flour. It will absorb the liquid, form a paste-like mixture, and ultimately bind the parts together.
- You can adjust the consistency of your falafel mixture by controlling how much you blend the ingredients. I don’t love chunky falafel, so I like to blend fine into a smooth, textured mixture.
Can you freeze these air-fried lemony falafels?
Falafels are incredibly easy to make ahead and freeze for later. And because they are already so quick to make, you can make large batches!
To freeze falafels, first, leave them to freeze in a single layer on a lined baking tray. Once frozen, place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Store the falafels for up to 6 months!
How do you keep falafels crispy?
If you use an air-fryer, it’s really easy. All the falafels will stay crispy as long as they are kept dry. The oil from deep-frying falafels can often make them soggy.
If you are deep-frying falafels, make sure to drain them well and leave them on a wire rack (not paper towel). On paper towels, they will just reabsorb the oil they are sitting on.
Should you use fresh chickpeas for falafels?
Arguably fresh chickpeas will produce the best flavor. And they won’t contain as much liquid, making the falafels firmer. Canned chickpeas should work as well, although I have personally never used them. Canned chickpeas probably work best to create humus rather than falafel.
More Delicious Air Fryer Recipes
Air-Fried Lemony Falafel
- 1 tsp cumin seed
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh coriander, chopped
- 3 tbsp AP or cake flour
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp fine salt
- Cooking spray
- First, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Do not add oil.
- Add the cumin and coriander seeds to the pan. Leave them to toast for a minute or until they become fragrant. Stir them so they don't burn.
- Once the seeds have been toasted, place them into a mortar. Use the pestle to crust the toasted seeds into a powder.
- Next, place all of the ingredients (except for the cooking spray) into a blender.
- Blend the ingredients until you have a uniform, fine consistency.
- Preheat your air-fryer to 400ºF (200ºC) on the baking setting.
- Next, use your hands to shape the falafels. This falafel recipe makes at least 8 good-sized bites.
- Once they are shaped, place them into the air-fryer basket. Spray them with cooking spray.
- Allow the air-fried lemony falafels to bake for roughly 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.
- Serve them immediately with your favorite accompaniment. Alternatively, you can store and chill them for later use.
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