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Herb Falafel and Vegan Tzatziki

Dips Sauces & Dressings, Entreés, Recipes


Pictured // Herb Falafel + Tzatziki + saffron olive oil dipping

Since it’s officially spring, my mind and body instantly start to crave and gravitate towards recipes that are portable, great to share at potlucks, bring to BBQ’s, and take to picnics. Herb Falafel and Tzatziki is absolutely perfect for all of the above, but especially for sharing with friends. If you’ve never tried falafel let alone make it in your own kitchen, I promise you the name sounds a lot more fancy and intimidating than it actually is to make. I pair the fresh yet crunchy Herb Falafel with a zesty creamy vegan Tzatziki Sauce to be used as a condiment, dip or dressing.

What is falafel? Falafel (fah-la-fell) is a traditional Middle Eastern recipe made with ground fava beans and chickpeas into a flour with a mix of fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, spices formed into a patty or ball and often paired with a sauce containing tahini and wrapped in a pita/flat bread. It’s often deep-fried but can be baked, for my recipe I’m choosing to bake the falafel, which still tastes amazing! Tzatziki sauce is another traditional Middle Eastern recipe typically containing sheep’s yogurt, fresh herbs, lemon juice, spices, and seasonings to create a refreshing dressing for the falafel. Being dairy-free here on Nutrition Stripped, I’m opting to use good ole’ cashews and hemp seeds for the creamy sauce.

First things first, if you haven’t tried falafel before or are unfamiliar with it, you’re not alone- before college I had no idea what falafel was. That was until I found a local spot in Columbus, Ohio (where I went to school) and was exposed to the most delicious falafel I’ve ever tasted… that was until I started experimenting in the kitchen with making my own.

I think it was only a matter a time before I shared my beloved falafel recipe, with this summer weather, sunshine, and picnics all around the corner I couldn’t help but share! If you’re in the vegetarian or vegan community, falafel may be very familiar to you as it’s considered a great entree option or alternative to meat in sandwiches and is routinely found on most menus as a vegetarian option. If you’re not familiar with falafel or never gave it a go in the kitchen, I hope that all changes after you see how simple it is to make and how nourishing! Falafel is great for a hearty entree because it’s loaded with plant-based proteins, healthy fats, fiber, and carbohydrates. Depending on the cooking method, condiments, and how you serve the falafel (i.e. in a pita bread, on salad, or solo) this dish can be relatively low calorie, but always nutrient dense. Even some of you non-plant based eaters can thoroughly enjoy this recipe, trust me if my sweet enjoys this recipe (who is the biggest “meat and potatoes” guy I know), you will too!

TIP // This recipe makes quite a bit of falafel which is great to share, keep for later, batch cook for your busy week ahead, or freeze for another day. If freezing, simply use clear wrap to wrap the falafel balls/patties individually making it for easier thawing and reheating! I pop these into a toaster oven or oven to heat through quickly for a quick meal.

Herb Falafel and Tzatziki {vegan} // Herb Falafel and Tzatziki {vegan} //

Herb Falafel and Tzatziki {vegan} //

4.3 from 3 reviews
Herb Falafel
Recipe type: entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
A hearty, gluten free herbed falafel made with fresh herbs and served with a side of fresh tzatziki sauce. GF VGN
  • 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas (well rinsed)
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds, shelled
  • ⅓ cup red onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds (for rolling the falafel into)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, cilantro, mint each chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 juiced lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, ground
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • fresh ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Pulse sunflower seeds in a blender or a food processor for about 30 seconds or until they're roughly chopped.
  3. Add chickpeas and pulse 1 minute, if you're using canned chickpeas be sure you rinse and drain them well.
  4. Add onion and pulse.
  5. You may need to scrape down the sides of bowl, keeping pulsing until the mixture is slightly coarse and well combined.
  6. Transfer into a mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients chopped herbs, spices, flour, baking powder and stir until combined into a "dough"
  7. Using your hands, form 18 small round falafels and place on a lined baking sheet (I use parchment paper). Roll in sesame seeds.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees, turning each falafel halfway through baking, until all falafels are evenly golden brown. This takes about 25-30 minutes total.
  9. Serve with Tzatziki sauce and suggested variations in the blog post.
  10. If keeping for later, simply wrap them tightly in clear wrap or store in tupperware. Reheat by popping into the oven or toaster oven until heated through and crisp again.
  11. Enjoy!
Nutrition information is for 1 falafel, recipe makes 18. 3 falafels would be about 1 serving at (260 calories, 15g fat, 12g carbohydrates, 6g protein)

Sesame seeds are optional to roll falafel into.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Information for 1 falafel (3 for a serving) Calories: 88 Fat: 5 Carbohydrates: 4 Protein: 2

Herb Falafel and Tzatziki {vegan} //

Herb Falafel and Tzatziki {vegan} // Herb Falafel and Tzatziki {vegan} //

How to enjoy | Not that you all need much direction on how to enjoy this recipe, there are several variations on how to eat this falafel. As I mentioned above, traditional falafel is served with pita bread or in some sort of wrap; although I love this Herb Falafel wrapped in romaine lettuce, napa cabbage bowls, nori sheets, swiss chard, or even make your own gluten free pita bread! The sauces used can also be switched out to make a “new” flavor. For example, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to sauces used- I love using my Sweet Tahini Drizzle, whole grain/dijon mustard, salsa, hot sauce, or even Classic Cashew Cheese.

  • Topped on a salad
  • Wrapped in alternatives to pita: nori sheets, dark leafy greens, gluten free wraps, etc.
  • On a plate as an appetizer with fresh olives, fresh hummus, veggie sticks, and drizzled tzatziki sauce
  • Crumbled on top of Nourish Bowl
  • On a plate plain with Tzatziki sauce

Build it! Falafel is great because you can still fully enjoy the falafel patties solo, topped on a bed of greens, mixed into a salad, or you can enjoy them in a sandwich/wrapped style. All of which give you the versatility to enjoy different toppings and condiments; but for the sake of keeping some of this traditional, my favorite toppings are fresh juicy tomatoes, crispy romaine lettuce, sliced red onion, hot sauce, pickled veggies, and tzatziki sauce.

Herb Falafel and Tzatziki {vegan} //

4.3 from 3 reviews
Tzatziki {vegan}
Recipe type: sauce, dressing, dip
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
Tangy, creamy, and fresh tzatziki made with only whole food ingredients. VGN GF Raw.
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice)
  • ½ cup cucumber, diced
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh black ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. In a high speed blender combine all ingredients (except cucumbers and fresh herbs).
  2. Blend until ingredients are combined and smooth.
  3. Stir in chopped cucumbers and chopped fresh herbs until combined.
  4. Store in the fridge until used.
  5. Serve as a side dressing or dipping sauce with Herb Falafel.
  6. Enjoy!
Recipe yields about 2 cups.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 tablespoons Calories: 60 Fat: 5 Carbohydrates: 3 Protein: 2

 Nutrition information for 3 falafels + 2 tablespoons vegan Tzatziki = 320 calories, 20g fat, 8g protein, and 15g carbohydrates.

Herb Falafel and Tzatziki {vegan} // Herb Falafel and Tzatziki {vegan} //

Have you ever tried falafel before? Share below what you’re favorite way to eat falafel is! Hope you all enjoy this one and I love how you’ve all been so kind with sharing Nutrition Stripped and the recipes!

xx McKel


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Be sure to share this recipe and post with others if you love it, thank you for the support!

Share your thoughts

  • Jaime

    Yum, these look delicious! Can you think of a gluten-free substitute for the brown rice flour? Would almond meal work?

  • Can’t wait to try it 🙂 I love your website so much! everything I have tried has come out wonderful. Please never stop 🙂

    • Thank you so much Hannah, hope you love it and spread the word to others if you do! xx mh

  • The herbed falafel looks so good! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • I absolutely love falafels and I find myself eating them more than ever now that I am studying abroad. However, while they are super tasty, I find that restaurants and little take-away places make them super greasy, which I don’t like, so I can’t wait to try this at home! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  • Sophia

    This recipe looks beautiful, can you recommend and substitutions for the chickpeas they don’t agree with me 🙁 All the best.

    • Chickpeas are a traditional and essential ingredient in falafel, although you could try using it with another bean I’m sure it’ll taste awesome still 😉

  • Megan

    Hi, this recipe is exactly what I’ve been wanting; a baked gluten free falafal AND a vegan tattziki! It’s going to be a great, portable lunch for me this summer, thank you! I have one question: when you wrote about making tzatziki vegan in your introduction, you mentioned using cashews and hemp seeds, yet there are no hemp seeds in your tzatziki recipe. Are they important, or can they be left out?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Megan,
      Yes there is 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds in the tzatziki- there was a typo! These can be left out however if you don’t have them on hand. Hope you enjoy these- they’re amazing! Thanks for sharing as well with your other veg and gluten free lovers out there 😉 mh

  • I love falafel & tzatziki! Your site is new to me and I found you via Oh My Veggies.
    Love your beautiful food and images.
    If you’re ever interested in joining a vegetarian, GF group board on Pinterest, let me know.
    Thank you for all that you do!

    • Thank you so much Kristin- I’m glad you’re enjoying Nutrition Stripped! OMV is such a great site. Glad to have you here! xx mh

  • len

    You mention there being hemp seeds the tzatziki yet there is no mention of them being used in the ingredients?

  • sam

    my super old food processor finally called it quits do u think this could be made in a blentec?

    • Hi Sam,
      Yes you can make the sauce or even the falafel balls using a blender- that’s what I use!

  • How long will the tzatziki sauce stay good?

  • I made these little delicious falafels for dinner, my only substitution was chickpea flower instead of rice flower, because it was what I had on hand. A very simple and speedy weeknight dinner. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Hi Kelly,
      Great substitution and improvisation- so glad you enjoyed them and thank you for sharing xx mh

  • Ann

    Hi, I made the falafel recipe (with a few tweaks) and quite enjoyed it. I will be making it again, even! However, I wanted to point out that although the ingredient list includes 2 T. olive oil & 2 T. tahini, nowhere in the instructions does it state when/if to use those ingredients. Because my falafel “dough” was moist enough to form into patties without the olive oil and tahini, I did not include them and that worked fine. Nevertheless, it would be beneficial to readers to correct either the ingredient list or the instructions. I also noticed that, although the ingredient list contains “sesame seeds” and a note “for rolling the falafel into,” it is again not specified when to do this in the instructions. Readers can probably figure it out for themselves, but still–might be worth noting.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed those Ann! The recipe calls for remaining ingredients where you simple add everything else. I updated a line about sesame seeds for rolling 🙂

      • Ann

        Thanks! 🙂

  • I have been wanting to try these ever since I stumbled across your blog and saw this recipe! I haven’t even put them in the oven yet and I LOVE them. So fresh tasting! Thank you, thank you! I’m excited to try more of your recipes in the near future!

    • Thank you so much Kara, I’m glad you’re enjoying them. They’re one of my favorite recipes from the blog 😉

  • Alia

    I love creamy vegan sauces! This tzatziki recipe looks great. May I ask where your chick peas and spices come from? I only went GF seven months ago, and I’ve recently discovered that a lot of my cross-contamination problems have been coming from spices and beans. This recipe is soooo what I’m craving for a sunny summer dinner al fresco, but I’m afraid to turn back to these (what should be naturally GF and harmless) ingredients!

  • Jacqui

    Hi there ~

    We made this over the weekend and it was delicious! However, ours came out really thick. Would you suggest adding water, olive oil or lemon juice to thin it out?


  • Heather

    Just made this tonight and it turned out amazing!! I have never written a review for food before but I just had to thank you so much for sharing it.

  • Pingback: Cooking with Herbs + Sharing the Love()


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