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Oven Baked Falafel in Pita Bread

Oven Baked Falafel in Pita Bread

If there's a vegan friendly cuisine in the world I would have to say Mediterranean food takes the prize. Most of their staples are made entirely of plants, grains and ingredients like olives, olive oil, hummus, pita, chickpeas, leafy greens, bulgars, couscous, rice, mint, parsley, dill.

 All the good stuff!

Falafel is one of the many gifts Mediterranean cuisine has to offer and it's widely used among the vegan community since it's made mainly of chickpeas and spices, it's a healthy option packed with nutrients and a great source of protein. 

There are many ways to include falafel in your meals; you can add it to salads, use it as a side dish, or it can be the vehicle to get in your mouth any of the different and delicious dips and sauces Mediterranean cuisine has to offer.

One of my favourite ways to eat falafel is by putting it in a sandwich. Instead of using regular bread and to stay with the Mediterranean theme we are using pita bread cut in half so it serves as a little pocket that you can stuff with the falafel and some veggies, making it super easy to pick up with your hands and eat away!

Most recipes on the internet will have you fry the falafel but it adds a ridiculous amount of unnecessary calories. To avoid this, the health issues that come with consuming saturated fats, as well as cleaning some dirty pans, we'll be baking our falafel balls. It's the healthier option but there's some planning ahead we need to do.

For this recipe it's crucial we use dried chickpeas that have soaked for at least 12 hours, canned chickpeas won't do the trick, the falafel balls won't stick together. You might still find it a bit hard to get the mixture to stick but if you manage to get them to the baking tray in one piece they'll be fine once they're baked.

I've found that making the falafel balls on the smaller side makes the whole process a lot easier. If they are a bit smaller you can put them in your hand and easily squeeze them until they are firm enough to go in the oven. Also they will fit a lot better in the pita bread and without ripping it apart.

Aside of the falafel, we're throwing in there a few veggies; to keep it simple we're using tomatoes, cucumber and red bell pepper, this will add some nutrients and colours to our meal keeping it under 500 calories whilst getting 16g of proteins.

If you are after a side dish that complements this meal, I couldn't recommend the Baba Ganoush recipe more, an overload of eggplant and flavour!

Just as a little extra, whenever I make this recipe I have some Tahini Dressing or Coconut Yogurt Tzatziki ready, a delicious Mediterranean dip that adds flavour and a touch of freshness since it is made with cucumber and mint. 

You'll feel you are in another country! 

Ingredients
12
Prep time
10 minutes
Total time
Category: Lunch, Dinner
Serves: 4
Allergens: Cilantro, Gluten, Olives, Tomatoes

Ingredients

For the falafel

  • 1 pinch cardamon
  • 1 cup chick peas dried (soak for 12 h)
  • 14 cup fresh parsley (washed)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion (chopped)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

For the coating

  • 4 tbsps sesame seeds

For the pita

  • 4 small whole grain pita bread

For the fresh vegetables

  • 12 cherry tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 small cucumber (diced into small pieces)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper (diced into small pieces)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 degrees) and cover a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Rinse the soaked chickpeas and add them to a food processor or a blender together with the rest of the falafel ingredients.
  3. In case your blender or food processor can't deal with the amount, make it in batches and mix everything together in a bowl later.
  4. Don't puree the mixture too much, just pulse it.
  5. I used my hands to form the falafel, squeeze the mixture really hard and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
  6. Per serving you should have 4-5 falafel, depending on size.
  7. Put the falafel on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Also bake the pita bread for 10 minutes on 400 F (200 degrees).
  9. For serving add falafel to the pita bread or serve bread slices on the side together with the fresh vegetables, enjoy!

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