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Healthy Air Fryer Falafel

Healthy Air Fryer Falafel

Traditionally deep fried, falafel is ideal to make in an air fryer. Rather than the usual balls, these are shaped into thick patties so they are easier to flip during cooking. The egg white and chickpea flour help bind the herbs and chickpeas, and the baking powder keeps the falafel from getting too dense. For the best consistency, be sure not to overprocess your mix; it should be chunkier rather than smooth. And keep in mind that since these are air fried, they will not get the same dark crust as traditional falafel.

Level: Easy

Total: 13 hr (includes soaking and chilling times)

Active: 25 min

Yield: 6 servings (18 falafel)



8 ounces dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours, or one 15-ounce can chickpeas

1 cup fresh parsley leaves with stems, plus extra for serving

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves with stems

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

3 cloves garlic

2 scallions, white and green parts roughly chopped

2 tablespoons chickpea flour or all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 lemon, juiced

1 large egg white

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Olive oil cooking spray, for your hands and the falafel

Tahini Sauce:

1/2 cup tahini

Pinch of paprika

1 clove garlic, grated

1 lemon, juiced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


3 whole-wheat pitas

1 heart romaine, coarsely chopped

2 plum tomatoes, sliced

1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced

Harissa or other hot sauce, for drizzling, optional


Special equipment: a 6-quart air fryer

1. For the falafel: Drain the chickpeas well and spread them out on a towel-lined baking sheet to dry completely.

2. Pulse the parsley, cilantro, mint, garlic and scallions in a food processor until roughly chopped and combined. Add the chickpeas, flour, cumin, coriander, cayenne, lemon juice, egg white, 2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of black pepper and pulse until the mixture is a well-combined coarse meal but not smooth or mushy. Refrigerate 15 minutes, then stir in the baking powder.

3. Spray your hands with olive oil cooking spray. Scoop the chickpea mixture into 18 balls (about 2 tablespoons each), flattening the balls slightly with your hands to create thick patties. Spray both sides of the patties with olive oil spray. Arrange the patties in a single layer in the basket of a 6-quart air fryer, in batches if necessary, and cook at 400 degrees F, flipping halfway, until golden and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes (see Cook’s Note).

4. For the tahini sauce: Whisk together the tahini, paprika, garlic, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, a few grinds of black pepper and 1/3 cup water. Adjust with additional water, if needed, for desired consistently.

5. For serving: Cook the pitas in the air fryer at 300 degrees F until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Slice each pita in half and gently open up the pockets.

6. Fill the pita halves with 3 falafel balls each, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, tahini sauce and a drizzle of harissa, if using.

Cook’s Note

Settings may vary on your air fryer depending on the model. Please refer to the manufacturer’s guide.

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