Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing

I’ve loved falafel ever since my aunt Annie introduced me to it as a kid. She took me to a Middle Eastern restaurant outside Montreal and ordered me a plate of vegetarian goodness, including tabouli, hummus, and falafel. At the time, I wasn’t even sure exactly what I was eating, and it wasn’t until years later, when I was in NYC for the first time, that I had falafel again and remembered what it was and how much I loved it.

Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

My mom also loves falafel, so she saved this recipe from her local newspaper. She made it for me when I was home for Easter and it was really great. I’m including the recipe below, because it’s delicious and really easy to make vegan:

Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)My mom made the following changes to the recipe:

  • She  lightly fried the onions before adding them to the mixture
  • She used gluten-free bread to make the breadcrumbs (she’s gluten-sensitive)
  • She used vegan sour cream (Tofutti) instead of the yogurt for the cucumber sauce

Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

The falafel were so good that I was craving them at lunch today. I decided to substitute the breadcrumbs with quinoa for an extra protein boost…

Chickpeas Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

… I also didn’t have any parsley on hand, so I decided to use cilantro (fresh coriander) instead…

Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free) Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

… and with that came the idea serving it with an avocado-tahini dressing!

Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

I did a test-run of one of the quinoa falafel balls and found that it crumbled quite a bit during the frying stage. So, I added 2 vegan eggs worth of EnerG egg replacer to the rest of the mixture, and that really helped to keep the patties from falling apart.

Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

These aren’t your typical hard round falafel patties – they’re soft and light…

Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Serve them straight-up – as an appetizer or a main – or in pita bread sandwich. You could also make the patties bigger to make falafel burgers. Mmm!

Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Updates

March 3, 2014 – This recipe (along with my Quick & Easy Indian Curry Quinoa) was featured in the March/April 2014 issue of Go Gluten Free Magazine. It’s so cool to see my humble little recipes in print :)

Go Gluten Free Magazine - March/April 2014
5.0 from 16 reviews

Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Falafel made with canned chickpeas and quinoa for a big taste and protein boost, topped with a creamy avocado dressing. Vegan and Gluten-Free
Author:
Recipe type: Appetiser, Main, Entree
Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Southwest
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 540 mL can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbsp cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 vegan “eggs” (such as Ener-G Egg Replacer)
Avocado Tahini Dressing
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ¼ c tahini
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice (about ½ lime)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. Blend all dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender. Set aside.
  2. Pulse the chickpeas in a food processor until no more whole chickpeas remain.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan on medium heat and fry the onions and garlic until soft.
  4. Combine chickpeas, onion mixture, quinoa, cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper, and vegan “egg” mixture.
  5. Form the mixture into 12 balls, and flatten them slightly.
  6. Heat a couple tablespoons vegetable oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the falafel patties and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.
  7. Serve with dressing, either straight-up, or in pita bread with lettuce, tomato, etc.

Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)Quinoa Falafel with Avocado Tahini Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

71 Comments

  1. Dan says:

    What a great recipe! Those look so good, that I will definitely make them this coming week.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks! Let me know what you think of them :)

      Reply
  2. Jules says:

    Do you have the nutritional facts for your recipes?

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Sorry, it’s not something I’ve integrated into the site at this time, but it’s on my “To Do” list. Thanks for stopping by :)

      Reply
      • Susie says:

        Love your site! I’m currently making a slow transition in to a vegan lifestyle and it’s great to find so many recipes to spice it up!

        http://www.myfitnesspal.com has a recipe building function on it that will give you the nutritional break-down of all your favorite recipes. It takes a bit of time to enter everything in…but it’s totally worth it!

        Reply
        • vegangela says:

          Congrats on your move towards a vegan lifestyle! Glad my recipes are helping. Thanks for the tip about myfitnesspal – I’ll check it out :)

          Reply
  3. The dressing sounds delicious!!! Have to give it a try. Love the pics :) Greetings from Amsterdam!!!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thank you!! Let me know what you think of it :)

      Reply
  4. These are so cute & fun! These would make a great small meal snack too — which is something I’m on the hunt for right now. :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yes, exactly! I included them in my “snacks” category as well. Thanks for visiting & commenting – I owe you a visit!

      Reply
  5. These look exceptional, but the dressing in particular! I had to share on my Facebook page – such a nice, fresh, spring recipe! I can’t wait to give it a go. Thank you :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for sharing it! I’ll check out your blog when I get a moment – it sounds delicious :)

      Reply
  6. Stacey says:

    I tried these today Angela, with sprouted and cooked chickpeas. Didn’t have fresh coriander (cilantro) but used ground coriander with the cumin and it was still delish. Looking forward to trying them when I have fresh coriander. Thanks for sharing… The quinoa is a great addition.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Glad you liked it. I need to try it with sprouted chickpeas – what a great idea.

      Reply
  7. Hyun Kim says:

    I tried the recipe tonight and it was a great hit. The avocado sauce is such a good complement to falafel. The mixture for falafel seemed little watery so I added some corn mill. Healthy and easy recipe!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’m glad you liked the falafel and the sauce. Sorry to hear it was watery, but good idea with the corn meal. Thanks for writing!

      Reply
  8. sabrina says:

    hi there! I love this recipe and couldn’t wait to try it ! I’m in the process of making them right now, actually! anyway , I was wondering , are they suppose to be soft on the inside ? I wasn’t sure if I just didn’t cook them enough or they were suppose to be that way, because they look amazing on the outside! :D

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Sabrina – Yes, I would say that they’re rather soft on the inside and not firm like regular falafel. Hope you still liked them!

      Reply
  9. Yuuum! These felafel sound so delicious! Love the idea of adding quinoa for both added nutrition and texture. You’re right – traditional felafel is often so dense and heavy, despite being yummy. Your version sounds perfect! Thanks for sharing… and I love your blog. Definitely bookmarking it! x

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thank you! Let me know if you try them :)

      Reply
  10. This looks amazing, especially the dressing

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks very much!

      Reply
  11. Clau says:

    Loved it!! I’m not vegan so I didnt have EnerG and was out of eggs, tried to make it without it and it was falling apart. Tried to substitue it with mayo and it didnt work but the mayo added a nice touch. I also used parsley instead of coriander, and added some breadcrumbs. Yum yum

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for commenting – glad they worked out with all those changes!

      Reply
  12. melissa rogers says:

    these look amazing!! i am starving. will make them for my family tomorrow. will let you know how they come out. your pictures are beautiful!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks! Let me know what your family thought of them :)

      Reply
  13. Kate says:

    Wow! I made these last night and was blown away by the flavour. Perfect hot or cold. This will become a firm favourite at home :) Thanks for the great recipes, very inspiring!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      You’re so welcome – thanks for taking the time to comment!

      Reply
  14. Malin says:

    Hi Angela!

    Just found your blog and I absolutely love it! Made the falafels yesterday and they were the best I’ve ever made:) I’m celebrating a year as a vegetarian soon and are starting to cook more vegan food, friends and family say that I wont get all the protein I need from eating vegan but I don’t believe them! Thanks for inspirations and delicious recipes! Love from sweden

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Malin – Thanks for trying the recipe and taking the time to comment :) You can definitely get enough protein. The trick is to sneak a good amount in at breakfast, so you don’t have to try as hard the rest of the day. A smoothie with a high-quality protein (I use raw hemp powder) is a great option. Good luck!

      Reply
  15. Hi Angela,

    How have you been? The quinoa falafel looks amazing, and I must try this avocado tahini dressing! We recently bought tahini, so it would be a great ingredient for many dressings and sauces. Thanks for sharing and I hope you guys are healthy.

    Hugs,

    ♡ rika, vegan miam
    http://www.veganmiam.com
    ★ we travel + eat vegan blog ★

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’ve been great, but so busy as I guess you can tell. I’m finally catching up with your comments. I felt like I couldn’t respond until I acknowledged the award you nominated me for. I hope you’ve been well – your blog and photos are looking amazing!

      Reply
  16. Fabienne says:

    Hi Angela!

    I just stumbled upon your website when looking for some new recipes to try and I am super excited to try a lot of yours. I’m trying this one tonight, though I don’t have regular quinoa only red quinoa so I’m going to try it.. hope it won’t mess up the recipe!

    Also looking forward to trying the puffed quinoa peanut balls!

    Thanks

    Fabienne

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Did you like the quinoa falafels? Did you try the quinoa peanut butter balls? Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  17. Katie says:

    Hi Angela,

    I love your blog! I don’t have egg replacer at home, but I do have ground flaxseed and was hoping I might be able to skip a trip to the store. :) Do you think 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed mixed with about 6 tbsp of water could also do the trick as an egg substitute? Thank you thank you!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Katie – I’m so sorry for the delay! Yes, that should work. Let me know how it turned/turns out for you, and I’ll update the recipe. Thanks!

      Reply
  18. Regina says:

    I didn’t think I would ever get my boyfriend to eat a vegan meal. usually I cook two dishes for dinner – one for me and one for him, but he really liked those falafel with the Tahini. I’ve tried more of your recipes and he enjoyed all of them. Thank you very much, it safes me a lot of time just cooking one dinner!!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Regina – Thanks for taking the time to comment, it made my day!!

      Reply
  19. Lesley says:

    These are so good! Thank you so much for this!! :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      You’re welcome!

      Reply
  20. Steph says:

    Theses are amazing! So easy and cheap ad delicious! Thanks.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      You’re welcome, glad you like ‘em!

      Reply
  21. Shannon says:

    These look downright delicious – they might just get a test run to be our burgers for camping!

    Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
  22. Ruth says:

    Can I substitute cannelli beans for the chickpeas? I am not fond of the flavor or texture of chickpeas.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Ruth! I don’t see why not? Can you please let me know if you do? I’d love to update the recipe for my readers :)

      Reply
      • Ruth says:

        They turned out good. I also added a seeded chopped cucumber to the dressing to make it more like tzatziki. Even my omnivore hubby liked it. He had seconds and didn’t eat any meat last night. Woo Hoo!!

        Reply
  23. suz says:

    just found this recipe a little bit ago … already soaking the chickpeas tonight to cook in the morning… and then we’ll make this!! YUM!!! i love love love falafel!!! can’t not wait to make these!!

    Reply
  24. suz says:

    so hubs and i made these! but didn’t have ingredients for dressing.

    i love falafel so much that i usually eat it just plain, anyway … no dressing. (next time, we’ll make it since it sounds fabulous and looks luscious in your pix!)

    these were so tasty, tho we added a LOT more herbs, spices and salt (and Braggs aminos, too.)

    now, i may have had more chickpeas cuz i used dried ones that i soaked overnight, then cooked in crockpot for several hours. it was hard to find out how much 540 mL would be in cooked peas. so i used a generous 2 1/2+ cups… maybe a little more than would be in the can you use? about 1/3 to 1/2 c quinoa.

    added fresh flat leaf parsley from kitchen herb garden… and fresh cilantro … about 3 big cloves of garlic :D … plenty of fresh cracked pepper, some spicy paprika. threw in about 3 T of vegan egg replacer (it’s in a jar in freezer and i can’t remember if it’s Ener-G or a different one.) worked great!!

    this is a wonderful recipe to play with. adding the quinoa is absolutely ingenious! such a nice texture it gives. we cooked in coconut oil… and they were simply scrumptious!!

    thank you for sharing your brilliance, Angela!! new treat for us vegan foodies!! :D

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Suz! I’m so glad that you liked these – I bet they were even better with all your additional ingredients! Thanks so much for taking the time to write :)

      Reply
  25. Eva says:

    I made these last night & they were so good!! I loved them with the dressing!

    My only issue was that they kept falling apart when I tried to keep them together while frying, etc. For the most part it was fine, but that was my only hiccup.

    Delicious! Thank you!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Eva – Sorry to hear that. They’re certainly fragile, but should have held together enough to fry them. Did you use the egg replacer?

      Reply
  26. Lindsay says:

    This recipe is on my “to-do” list ASAP. It looks delicious and must taste great with all of the possible reviews. I will try it with a flax egg since I do not have the EnerG. My question is…do you think that I can bake these? I’m thinking that they might not be as crispy on the outside but, otherwise, what do you think?
    Thanks for your recipe inspiration!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Lindsay – I think baking will work. If you try it, can you please comment and let me know? Thanks!

      Reply
  27. Stephanie says:

    These look delicious and look to be gluten free. I have celiac disease and I am going to try them. I love that they’re made with quinoa instead of bread crumbs! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      You’re so welcome – please let me know if you try them :)

      Reply
  28. Ozzy says:

    This is an amazing recipe. I often make this falafels as I make some of your other recipes..

    Reply
  29. Denise says:

    My family and I have been trying to transition to a vegetarian diet. I have been trying many things and new recipes. Many have been ok at best. Tonight I was very discouraged at trying another vegetarian recipe to only throw it away. Normally I would double a recipe like this for my family, but figured I better not in case it’s another disappointment. I found this recipe pretty quick and had all the ingredients for it except limes. I substituted fresh lemon juice instead. What a pleasant surprise! We have never eaten falafel at all so I didn’t know what to expect. My biggest critic, my 12 year old son, loved them! Everyone wished there was more! The dressing complimented the falafel so well! I added dill to it and some garlic for more flavor. This recipe is in my book as a keeper now. I will try baking these also sometime to cut back on the fat. I will be searching this website for more delicious recipes! Thanks for helping to encourage this vegetarian journey! Was feeling like giving up!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Denise! Thank you for taking the time to write such a heartfelt comment. I can’t begin to tell you how good it made me feel to read it. I’m so happy to know that my humble recipe may have saved you from going off the vegetarian deep-end :) I hate that all of your other attempts were such flops, but I hope that you’ll find a few more favorites on my site, and eventually fill your own recipe box full of easy and delicious vegetarian recipes. Again, thanks for the kind words and good luck to you!

      Reply
  30. Michelle M. says:

    How much chickpeas would I need if I’m boiling them myself?

    Can I use flax eggs to substitute?

    Do you know if they freeze well?

    Thanks!! :D :D

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Michelle! You may want to Google and confirm it, but I believe that 1/3 cup of dried chickpeas should do it. The flax egg will work and I’m not sure about the freezing yet, sorry!

      Reply
  31. Jodi says:

    Agree with some of the above comments – they were a little more soft/moist in the middle than I was expecting but they tasted great! Also next time I will put the batter in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before molding into patties, I think it will help keep them together when in the pan. Off to make the sauce now and eat the rest…. :)

    Reply
  32. Jenna says:

    Love this recipe, although my daughters have a soy and sesame sensitivity so I make my own tahini with roasted sunflower seeds instead of sesame, it actually tastes very similar, still very yummy! Slowly trying to change to a vegan lifestyle but my husband and girls are a little more picky when it comes to more vegetables and no meat/dairy, but this was a hit with them, thank you!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’m so glad to hear that this was a hit with your family. Love the idea of using sunflower butter instead of sesame. I will definitely try that. Thanks!

      Reply
  33. Alice says:

    Hello, I wanted to substitute the vegan eggs for soft tofu. How would I go about doing this? Can’t wait to make these! They look delicious!

    Reply
  34. Elaine says:

    Hi Angela!thanks for your wonderful blog! How much, or what was the size of the avocado you used? here in Puerto Rico we have some eeally small and other very large, larger than my hand, for example…. Im not sure how much to use.

    Reply
    • A medium-sized avocado is fine. Let me know how you like it :)

      Reply
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