Baked Falafel

I hail from the city of San Jose, California, which other than being home to one million people and the birthplace of all things tech, has nothing that remarkable about it compared to it’s San Francisco neighbor. EXCEPT. For the best. Falafel. Drive in. Ever. 5 stars and 929 reviews on Yelp can’t be wrong. It was

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even featured on an episode of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri. Nestled between a run down neighborhood and a luxury shopping mall, it’s easy to miss. Falafel Drive-In is a restaurant food-shack that almost always has a line snaking around the building from the order window that’s well worth the wait for out-of-this-world falafel sandwiches. Wait, where was I going with this? Oh yeah. So since I moved away from San Jose and from my beloved Falafel

Drive-In, I’ve been on a hunt to find delicious falafel sandwiches elsewhere in the Bay Area. There are some good ones here and there, but so far, none compare to the greatness of the Falafel Drive-In. So, I decided to make my own. Still not quite as good, but much better than some of the other ones I’ve had. And better yet, it’s baked instead of deep-fried (fried vegetables and sweets are every vegetarian’s weakness), which means I can let myself have falafel sandwiches whenever I want now. Enjoy! (Images from Washington Times and CityVoter) See all photos here » Recipe from ChowVegan »

Update: December 25, 2010 I have to be honest, the falafel was good, but not great. So, I’m still on a mission to come up with a recipe for delicious baked falafel balls. I’ll repost a new entry once I figure this out, but the recipe I used is below.

I normally stay away from 1) beans and 2) canned vegetables, but I’ll make the exception for homemade falafel.

The recipe asks for mashing the garbanzo beans with a fork, but I went ahead and used my food processor. It didn’t make that much of a difference in my opinion.

Canned veggies are better when paired with fresh ones! There’s lots of fresh parsley, cilantro, onion, and garlic in this recipe.

Dried coriander, cumin, and red pepper flakes for a kick.

The falafel mix, ready to be shaped into individual pieces. A little bit on the gooey side, but the flour holds it together well.

Because this is baked rather than fried, the falafel balls need to be flattened so that there is more surface area touching the hot cookie sheet – this is what makes them crispy.

Meanwhile, I made a sauce using Greek yogurt as the base, lots of mashed garlic, juice from one lemon, chopped dill, a drizzle of olive oil, and dash of paprika.

I ate my falafel balls in a pita pocket with
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cucumbers, sprouts, hot sauce, and the yogurt sauce.


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courtesy of ChowVegan…since my falafel sandwich never made it to the photo shoot. Sorry, guys.

Baked Falafel Recipe from ChowVegan | Makes about 21 balls

1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans 1 small onion, finely chopped 2-3 garlic

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cloves, finely chopped 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 teaspoon coriander 1 teaspoon cumin 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes 2 tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon baking powder Salt and pepper to taste Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Put in a medium sized bowl and smash with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Form into small balls, about 1 1/2? in diameter and slightly flatten. Place onto an oiled baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes on each side, until nicely browned (since it’s baked,

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only the part actually touching the pan will be browned and crispy). Serve with mini pita pockets, hummus, tahini sauce, tomatoes, lettuce and/or cucumber.

See all photos here » Recipe from ChowVegan »


Got something to say? Feel free, I want to hear from you! Leave a Comment

  1. Mike says:

    Next time…let’s make 3 or 4 dozen!

  2. TJ says:

    Aw… that’s one of the few things I miss about the South Bay, Falafel Drive In. Next time you’re in Berkeley try out Holy Land Restaurant on College, that place is pretty good too.

  3. Paula says: (Author)


    Oooh, I’ll have to try that.

  4. Sarah Lynn says:

    These look delicious! I’m going to try out your pesto recipe tomorrow. I found some fresh basil at the farmers market the other day. Love your blog!

  5. Valerie says:

    I made these last night and they turned out so yummy. I think I may have left out an ingredient because my mixture did not look near as gooey as yours. Either way, they turned out great and I will be making these again soon. Thank you for sharing your culinary delights.

  6. Paula says: (Author)


    No problem, I’m glad you liked them too :)

  7. elizabeth says:

    I found your bog searching for a perfect biscotti recipe – I haven’t tried your yet but will. It was an added bonus to find the post on baked falefel – but no recipe! How’s the perfecting of that coming? Maybe you could post the recipe with your notes as to what you feel needs improving and your blog crowd could help…

    Enjoying your blog but need falafel (too far from CA to visit the drive in, sadly.)


    • Anonymous says: (Author)

      You bring up a great point. I posted the recipe that I used, and I’ll let you know if I come up with a better version. The problem was that it was too dry. However, I’m convinced that the biscotti recipe is perfect – so try it out when you can!

  8. Howdy! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
    I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform.

    I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  9. Terri says:

    I lived most of my life in SJ, and there is just NO other falafel joint like Falafel Drive-In!! I am making the recipe from Diners Drive-Ins & Dives right now, but I’m going to bake them according to your recipe instructions rather than frying them. One of the things that (in my opinion) makes theirs so fabulous is their spicy red sauce. I can’t find any “copycat” recipes for this sauce online. Anyone ever found one or made anything similar?

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