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The Perfect Air Fryer Falafel

Our favorite vegan fast food item is made even healthier by air frying.

By now, everyone and their mom knows and loves falafel. And what's not to love? It's the crispiest, yummiest nugget of true vegan goodness (it ain't no meat imitation!), striking the balance of fast food that's good for you. It's primarily made up of chickpeas, aka legumes that are one of the best vegan protein sources on the planet.

As with most air fryer recipes, falafel is a food that's instantly made healthier when air fried instead of deep fried in a ton of oil. It will retain its crispy outside, soft inside texture and come out perfectly cooked.

To serve, put on a salad or over chopped vegetables, or stuff inside a hot pita. When it comes to sauces and dips, falafel goes with everything from creamy, cool tzatziki to a spicy harissa dressing. Even aioli! But you already know this.

Pro tip: This recipe works best if you rinse and drain canned chickpeas and refrigerate uncovered for several hours. This slightly dries out the chickpeas, making the falafel mix less mushy. You can actually make the mix a few days ahead of time and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Want to make these gluten free? Swap flour for chickpea flour or another alternative.

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Serves 2


One 15-oz can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1/4 medium white onion, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 1/2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
Fourth and Heart Ghee Spray or other high heat cooking spray

How to Make It

  1. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, onion, parsley, flour, lemon juice, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, and salt. Pulse about 15 times to create a rough mixture that sticks together when pinched between two fingers.
  2. Use a scoop or two spoons to create rounds, then roll between hands and flatten slightly to make discs. Make sure you don't overwork the mix with your hands, or the falafels will become too dense.
  3. Set the air fryer to 350°F. Spray the falafels with cooking spray and place them in the air fryer in a single layer, working in batches if needed. Fry them for about 10 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown.
  4. They are ready when golden brown and crisp on the outside.

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Carlene Thomas, RDN
Carlene Thomas RDN, LD is a registered dietitian, nutritionist, and culinary creator. Read more