If you do Meatless Mondays like we do at our house then you need to have a few great (and filling!) plant burger recipes. Along with my black bean burger, this baked falafel recipe is one I make frequently. I’ve been making falafel for years actually, I just never thought about eating it as a “burger” until more recently. However, the falafel burger is definitely the preferred way to eat falafel at our house these days!
A Healthier Falafel Recipe
Although I didn’t make it into a burger, I did always bake my falafel (here is my original falafel recipe), which wasn’t the authentic way to do things. Truly authentic falafel is made with ingredients similar to the ones I used in my baked falafel burger recipe below. One big difference is that traditional falafel is typically prepared in deep fryers filled with highly refined, empty-calorie vegetable oils. If you have our Clean Cuisine book you know we are not oil-free by any means, but we always try to use the least oil we can get away with while still ensuring the food is delicious.
Oil is Always Refined…
One of the reasons we bake rather than deep-fry our falafel is because even if you use the absolute highest quality, healthy oil you can find, the oil will still be a refined food.
To maximize nutrition, we always prefer to eat whatever dietary fat we use in “whole food” form whenever reasonably possible. That means we would choose a “whole” avocado over avocado oil or “whole” walnuts over walnut oil because the “whole food” will have the most nutrition. Whenever a food is processed into oil the anti-inflammatory fiber is stripped away along with a number of other important nutrients, antioxidants and phytonutrients. (Read more about why “whole” fats are healthier than oil here.)
The Secret Ingredient to Making the Best Baked Falafel Burger
Even I admit that if I fried my falafel burger it would surely taste even better. But the one big change I have made to my falafel burger recipe that I think improves the flavor over the traditional recipe is to swap cassava flour for the chickpea flour. The chickpea flour is actually more nutrient-dense than the cassava flour BUT the chickpea flour has a somewhat bitter taste that many people don’t particularly love (including me!) In fact, I would go so far as to say if you don’t like conventional falafel it’s probably because of the chickpea flour.
If you saw my blog post on the top 10 products of 2017 to add to your clean eating grocery list, you know cassava flour is on the list. Made from a root vegetable rich in vitamin C (yucca), cassava flour is my new favorite all-purpose flour. Just like chickpea flour, cassava flour is also gluten-free and grain-free. Since I have never been a fan of falafel made with chickpea flour, even in my original recipe I actually used stoneground corn flour instead of chickpea flour. But I find the cassava flour tastes even better than the corn flour. (Learn more about cassava flour here!)
Add a Great Sauce!
Although the baked falafel burger is delicious as-is, taking a few extra minutes to make the creamy (and dairy free) dill sauce recipe is definitely worth it. Falafel is often served with a dipping sauce of some sort, usually a tahini-based creamy sauce. However, I prefer the brightness of the mildly-flavored dill sauce, even though it is not exactly a traditional falafel sauce.
Build Your Falafel Burger….
- For the bun: I like Food for Life brand sprouted whole grain English Muffins
- Toppings: Mache lettuce or baby spinach leaves, roasted red peppers and kimchi
- Condiments: Creamy Dill Sauce (see recipe below)
Ok! Let’s get cooking. And if you happen to make the burger please do drop me a note and let me know how you liked it!
For those of you with food allergies and food sensitivities, it’s helpful to know the Baked Falafel Burger and Dill Sauce recipes meet the following dietary restrictions:
Grain Free / Gluten Free / Vegetarian /Egg Free / Vegan / Dairy Free
Nobody will miss the meat with this super satisfying Baked Falafel Burger recipe. And don’t forget the dill sauce! The falafel burger is delicious as-is, but the sauce helps add richness and brightness all at once.
For the Falafel Burgers:
- 2 cans (15 ounces), chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup raw walnuts
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 large carrots
- 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup cassava flour
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- Juice from 1 whole lemon
- 1 3/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 1/4 teaspoon corriander
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the Creamy Dill Sauce
- 1/2 cup “Clean Cuisine Mayonnaise” (see store-bought recommendations below)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
For the Falafel Burgers:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put chickpeas and walnuts in a food processor and process until crumb-like. Transfer walnut-chickpea crumbs to a mixing bowl and set aside.
- Put garlic, onions, and carrots in food processor and pulse until almost minced. Add the chopped cilantro and pulse several more times until vegetables are just minced (be careful not to overly process the vegetables.)
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the minced vegetable mixture and saute 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft.
- Transfer the sauteed vegetables to the bowl with the walnut-chickpea crumbs. Add in the flour, cumin, lemon juice, salt, coriander and cayenne pepper. Mix with a spoon or your hand until fully combined. Form 8 round patties, place them on the parchment-lined baking sheet and use your palm to gently flatten them into a burger shape.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add 4 of the burgers and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes each side, until golden brown. Remove the cooked burgers and transfer back to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Wipe out the pan, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and cook the remaining 4 burgers.
- Once all of the burgers are browned, place them in the oven and bake for 15 minutes on one side, then flip and bake 15 minutes on the other side. Let burgers rest for 30 minutes before serving.
For the Creamy Dill Sauce
- Put all ingredients in a mini food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Creamy Dill Sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.
If you don’t have the time to make your own mayonnaise you can always use Primal Kitchen store-bought brand mayonnaise with avocado oil. To date, Primal Kitchen is the only store-bought brand we recommend.