Green Falafel Bowl

Green Falafel Bowl

No surprise, the cornerstone of this recipe is little balls of spinach-flecked falafel. If you look at the photo, you'll see the pan-seared patties hanging out in the 5 o'clock position. They're crusted, golden, browned on the outside, tender and lemon-punctuated on the inside. They're also packed with good-for-you greens and chickpeas. I make them in big batches, freeze them, and eat them (allll the time) as snacks, or in bowls like these.

Spinach flecked falafel in a bowl with sides.

Falafel at the Center

If you have the falafel, you can pull together a pretty good snack or meal. It could be something along the lines of what you see here, or something different based on what you have on hand. I had some hummus in the fridge (a red beet version of this hummus), some kale, carrots, and cucumber that needed to be used, and some pita. Also, some herb stragglers. The pita and carrots went into the oven, I cooked the falafel in a skillet, and chopped up the rest. Let's say you didn't have any of that, but you did have some romaine, yogurt, and a garlic clove. You could do falafel lettuce wraps instead, smashing the garlic into a paste and adding it to the yogurt along with a bit of salt. Use that as your sauce. The name of the game here is adaptability.

Green Falafel Bowl

Cooking Methods

Once you've formed the falafel you have a range of cooking options. If you smush them a bit, and pan-fry them in a bit of oil, you'll get the best golden crust. Sometimes I bake them (450°F), also pretty-strong contender. I've even tested them in an Air Fryer, and they're one of just a handful of things to exceed my expectations in it (7 minutes at 390°F, shake the basket, and do another 7 minutes).

A Vegan Version

I'll note this in the recipe headnotes below as well. To make the falafel vegan, you can use flax "egg" (5 T. water + 2 T. ground flax seeds whisked together), and skip the cheese.

Green Falafel Bowl

Green Falafel Bowl

4.24 from 21 votes

A couple of tips! You can use frozen spinach here. Fresh is better, but frozen does work, and is fine, and you don't have to pre-wash it ;)...but use fresh spinach if you want my favorite version of these. To make the falafel vegan you can use flax "eggs" (5 T. water + 2 T. ground flax seeds whisked together), and skip the cheese. To make it gluten-free, use gluten-free oats (pulsed in a processor) in place of the breadcrumbs. One last idea, an alternative version (if you're up for an extra step) roll each ball in seasoned breadcrumbs, spritz with olive oil, and pop in the oven. So good!

Ingredients
Green Falafel:
  • 1 pound / 16 ounces spinach or kale, washed and trimmed
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup / 20g grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 + teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • zest of one lemon
Green Falafel Bowl (pictured):
  • 3-4 green falafel / beet hummus / toasted pita wedges / roasted carrots / chop salad (kale, cucumber, cilantro) tossed with a splash of olive oil & squeeze of lemon / sliced avocado
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a large skillet or pot over high heat. When hot, add the spinach, in batches if necessary. Stir until collapsed and most of the moisture has evaporated. Transfer to a cutting board, and chop well. The more chopped, the better.
  2. Combine the eggs, garlic, chickpeas, breadcrumbs, cheese, baking powder, and salt in a blender. Blend until combined. Transfer to a large bowl, add the lemon zest and chopped spinach, and stir until uniform.
  3. With your hands, form the mixture into small, 1 1/2-inch balls. You should end up with 20-30-ish balls. Place on a baking sheet, smush them down a bit, and put in the oven for 20 minutes or so, until very golden, flipping once along the way. If you don't bake all of them, freeze the remaining. Alternately, you can cook the falafel in a skillet with a splash of olive oil.
  4. Serve the falafel with a sauce, or dipping sauce, or with additional components (listed in ingredients list) as part of a falafel bowl. Enjoy!
Serves
25
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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  • Hi! Can you sub feta for parmesan? Thanks!

    Kit
  • Made the falafel with a few subs and they turned out great. Used the flax egg, threw some beet greens in with the spinach, and instead of breadcrumbs I used a cup of ground walnuts. Was a little worried they might be crumbly, but they turned out moist and held their shape beautifully after baking.

    Maya
  • Lovely! I'll be making this on the weekend. Question about freezing--would you recommend freezing only the un-baked falafel balls? Or could I bake them all and then freeze a portion of baked falafel balls for later use? Thanks so much!

    Bet
  • I never leave comments, however, this was so easy and such a huge hit! Cannot wait to make again! My son & his girlfriend are huge fans of falafel, while my husband and I are not, or should I say were not! We are hooked! These are delicious! Made them for the kids to go with chicken souvlaki, that I was already making for dinner, however we all devoured them! They are now on my need to make often list! Easy, inexpensive, but most of all, DELICIOUS!!!! Thanks for the recipe! Highly recommend

    Mateo Pedersen
  • Hi Heidi! This looks amazing (not surprising, since all of your recipes are amazing!). Silly question - but can canned chick peas work instead of cooked chickpeas? Thank you!! Marissa

    Marissa
  • This looks like such a tempting dish, I feel like presentation makes all the difference and can encourage us to eat healthier. Thanks for sharing!! :-) xx Helen

    Helen C
  • This looks delicious, but I found it under the vegan recipes. Since it uses an egg, it should not be listed as vegan. Thanks!

    Jodie Mize
    • Hi Jodie! There are instructions for the vegan version in the write-up. Using flax. Enjoy!

      Heidi Swanson
    • Hi Jodie - I've included it there because there is a vegan variation included in the post. Enjoy!

      Heidi Swanson
  • Hi Heidi, what would be a good substitute for the breadcrumbs? I am not eating wheat and would like to try this recipe. Thanks!

    HS: Hi Mercedes - you could make breadcrumbs from your favorite Wheat-free/GF toast.Or even use a crunchy puffed rice cereal or something of that sort.

    Mercedes Estevez
  • I just made this today for lunch and it was absolutely delicious! I didn’t have spinach, so I used steamed and finely chopped broccoli. I pan-fried half and baked half of the batch. Both were awesome. I usually never post comments, but these were so good I felt compelled!

    Kerry
  • Can you share how big the carrot pieces are chopped, how long you roasted them for, and the oven temp? Thanks!

    HS: Hi Danielle! The carrots were cut into bite-sized segments (1-inch-ish), tossed with a bit of olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt, and roasted at 400°F until tender and golden, 15-20 minutes. Toss once or twice along the way. Enjoy!

    Danielle
  • The falafels were really delicious however they came out dry. The only reason I could think of is that I squeezed the water out of the spinach. Could it be it?

    HS: Hi Netta - I'd perhaps start by using a larger egg, or add a bit more egg - see if that helps.

    Netta
  • Where is that beautiful bowl from?? Thx Cassie

    Hi Cassie, it is from Colleen Hennessey

    Cassie pence
  • WOW! I've gotta say, I've made dozens of recipes from this wonderful site but this is officially in the Top 5 best things I've ever made... absolutely amazing! BTW I subbed oats for the breadcrumbs and it worked out spectacularly! The beet hummus takes it over the top into something transcendent. A+!

    HS: Thanks Pat! Glad you enjoyed it.

    Pat
  • I made these falafel today, but used Swiss chard instead. They were delicious! This recipe is a keeper! Thank you for sharing!

    Lorrie
  • I thought falafels are made from soaked (not cooked) chickpeas?! Not that these are traditional in any case.. just curious and wondering if you have tried both ways? Thanks!

    NS
  • Hi Heidi! You said you can freeze remaining falafel....would you totally thaw prior to pan frying or baking? On a similar note, would you freeze your quinoa patties prior to baking? Thanks so much!

    Hi Dana, I thaw completely before pan-frying, but pop them straight into the oven (or, sometimes, the Air-fryer) straight from the freezer.

    Dana
  • Can you just chop the cooked spinach up in a food processor?

    HS: Hi Laurie - yes, absolutely!

    Laurie
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