Crispy Baked Falafel with a creamy, herby avocado sauce and za'atar roasted vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes and warm naan. This dish has got all the elements and textures to create a wonderfully YUM and healthy meal; Crispy falafel, creamy avocado sauce, carby naan, sweet sun dried tomatoes and a healthy dose of spiced root vegetables.
I'm pretty sure this is my favorite vegan recipe to date. It's just got it ALL. Right, so I don't always use vegan naan for this, and if you want to make your own, non-vegan naan, try this one! If you want it to be vegan, I can redirect you to Minimalist Baker's easy vegan naan recipe.
This recipe has a lot of steps, but most of them involve the food processor and it's all done in about 45 minutes (not including making naan). It really is a simple and fantastic dish! I adapted this recipe from Pinch of Yum.
What is falafel?
Falafel is a vegetarian patty that's often deep fried. It is usually made with chickpeas, fava beans or both. Herbs such as parsley and cilantro and spices are also usually added to the dough. Falafel is a popular dish in the Middle East and often serves as the protein in main dishes. It can be used in a variety of different dishes, such as salads, in pitas (or naan in this case!), or alone as a snack or in a meze (appetizer). In other words; falafel is a versatile veggie ball.
In all honesty, falafel is usually deep fried, but I do not see the point in that. It is beyond delicious just to bake it in the oven. Reducing both calories and clean-up. I think that is a win-win.
How To: Crispy Baked Falafel
Pre-heat oven to 200C (400F) and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse all ingredients, except for the almond flour, in a food processor until combined. The consistency you're after is a dry, crumbled dough that sticks together when you press it. Add 1 tablespoon almond flour and combine, using a spatula. You may need to add more almond flour, but do not add more than 1 tablespoon at a time. I only used 1 to get a dry enough dough to handle.
Take 1 heaping tablespoon of dough and shape it into a patty using your hands. Repeat with the rest of the dough, and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Makes about 19-20 patties.
Za'atar Roasted Vegetables
Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend consisting of sesame seeds, sumac, thyme and sea salt. I've got a recipe for za'atar right here. It is super simple to make and keeps forever in an airtight container. If you don't want to make this you could just sprinkle the vegetables with dried thyme and salt, which literally already is half of the za'atar. But I still highly recommend making it.
Cut carrots into matchsticks and broccoli head into small florets. You want them to cook at approximately the same time, so make sure it's not big differences in size. Add to a roasting pan or baking sheet and mix with the za’atar, salt, pepper and olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes, halfway through you should give the vegetables a stir.
You can serve these both hot or cold. You won't really notice they are cold if you serve them with warm naan and warm falafel. However, if you want them hot you can change the settings of the oven to fan 180 C (360F). Now you can add the baking sheet with the falafel to the lower half the oven and the baking sheet with za'atar vegetables to the upper half of the oven. Add the vegetables 5-10 minutes before you add the falafel. Make sure you check the vegetables for doneness at around 20 minutes.
Creamy, Herby Avocado Sauce and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Place all the avocado sauce ingredients, apart from the almonds, into a food processor and pulse until everything is incorporated. Add the almonds and pulse until smooth. If it’s too thick, add in more water or oil. Too thin - more almonds. Store in the refrigerator until everything is ready. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.
So the biggest hassle of this recipe is that we use the food processor in all the steps. It's easy, but you kind of need to clean it up (or rinse shh) after each step. But I'm telling you, it's worth it! For the sun-dried tomatoes - you guessed it - add them to the food processor along with the oil it comes in. Puree until it's a paste. You do not have to food process the sun dried tomatoes, but I like to so in order to evenly distribute the goodness all over the naan. I'm serious about getting the best flavor out of every bite!
Assemble The Crispy Baked Falafel
Soo, we are so ready to eat this right now. Warm some naan, and spread the sun-dried tomatoes on top. Add the za'atar roasted vegetables, top with some crispy baked falafel and then drizzle with avocado sauce. Dig in! One healthy meal that is bursting with flavor right there. You're welcome.
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