Easy Falafel Recipe (Vegetarian, Grain-Free & Paleo)

There are few things I love more than the complex Mediterranean flavors in food. I’m quite convinced that growing up in my grandmother’s kitchen with the aromas of garlic, parsley, and cumin used in many of her recipes, instilled very fond memories in my palate.

Falafel Ingredients

These grain-free paleo falafels are my version of the traditional recipe but without chickpeas. Originally developed for my third cookbook, The Best Grain-Free Family Meals on the Planet, it’s a recipe that continues to be a winner both at my house and MOMables members.

image: Bowl full of vegetables with three falafels

Don’t get me wrong, I love the original falafel recipe in my first cookbook, The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet; but after needing to go grain-free for about eighteen months, I began to crave grain-free versions of some of my most favorite recipes –as I know it’s the case for many that go grain-free. For this grain-free falafel you’ll need:

  • Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Lemon Zest
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Tumeric
  • Almond Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Coconut Oil
  • Vegetable Oil

Paleo Falafel

What’s great about this recipe, however, is that it’s lower in carbs than the original, since zucchini is what I use instead of chickpeas. And in case you need a recipe to use up the abundance of zucchini you have in your fridge, this is it!

After going grain free several times, I’ve learned to make lots of swaps like this to keep all of mine and my family’s meals in rotation, even when we’re on a Whole30. I’ve spent years coming up with clean recipes for my family to enjoy made with fresh, whole ingredients. A while back, I put all of our favorite clean meals together into a comprehensive 30-day program called Family KickStart.

In the Family KickStart Program, you’ll find everything you need to eliminate processed foods and eat healthy, with your entire family. I share 30 days of picky-eater approved recipes, meal plans to make your life easier and even simple swaps you can make to help you serve your kid’s favorite meals, without any junk!

I’m so excited to share Family KickStart with you, I decided to give you an exclusive free peek to get you going. Check it out here! 

Can You Freeze Falafel?

The falafels freeze great prior to baking. All you need to do is make them into shapes and place them in a lined baking sheet inside the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them into a zip bag for storage until you decide to cook them.

image: Bowl full of vegetables with three falafels

While the recipe and video show you how to bake them, I often pan fry them instead. It’s hard to give up the crispy edges that only a good pan-fry can achieve. Whether you eat them inside a pita bread with a little hummus drizzled on top or Tzatziki sauce, these grain-free falafels are full of flavor and nutrition.

What’s your favorite Mediterranean inspired food?

Veggie Grain-Free Paleo Falafels

These grain-free paleo falafels are my version of the traditional recipe but without chickpeas.

  • Author: Laura Fuentes
  • Yield: 46 1x


  • 1 cup (160 g) onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (8 g) fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup (30 g) fresh parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups (200 g) cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 zucchini, roughly chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 cup (48 g) almond flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Coconut oil, melted
  • Vegetable oil to pan fry


  1. Preheat your oven to 375F (190C).
  2. In a food processor, blend the onion, cilantro, parsley, and garlic until finely minced. Set them aside in a large bowl.
  3. Repeat the process with the cauliflower and the zucchini; add to the bowl with the onion mixture.
  4. Add the lemon zest, cumin, chili powder, turmeric, almond flour and beaten egg to the bowl. Combine everything well; season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes.
  5. Spread some melted coconut oil over a baking sheet. Form medium-sized balls of the falafel mixture with your hands and place them on the baking sheet.
  6. Brush some more oil over the falafel and place in the oven.
  7. If you’re cooking them in the oven, bake for 40 minutes. Halfway through, turn the falafel and brush them with some more oil.
  8. If you’re cooking them on the stove, pre-heat a generous amount of coconut oil in a large sautépan placed over medium heat for about 4 minutes.
  9. Then add the falafel, browning them on the first side for 4 minutes, then flipping them once and browning the second side until the mixture is cooked throughout.


  • Serving Size: 3 falafels
  • Calories: 422
  • Sugar: 4.7g
  • Sodium: 639.6mg
  • Fat: 35.1g
  • Saturated Fat: 25.6g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 15.8g
  • Fiber: 3.5g
  • Protein: 6.6g
  • Cholesterol: 46.5mg

17 thoughts on “Easy Falafel Recipe (Vegetarian, Grain-Free & Paleo)”

  1. Lubelia says:

    I made these tonight. they were awesome!!!

  2. Jess says:

    Baked falafels? I must try them!

  3. Erin says:

    I made these tonight. SO good!!

  4. Louise M says:

    I’ve made these from your cookbook and I can say that they are AMAZING!

  5. Matt says:

    These were great! I pan fried them instead of baking them and they were so good.

  6. Deadra says:

    These were delicious. They broke apart the first time but I don’t think I squeezed out all the juice from the zucchini. The second batch was awesome. perfect falafel flavor too.

  7. Megan says:

    I am confused. Your post talks about not using chickpeas, but the recipe calls for two cans of chickpeas. Is this the wrong recipe?

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Yes. Thanks, Just updated it with the correct one.

  8. Alex says:

    The recipe written above is a classic falafel recipe using chickpeas. I would love to see the zucchini based recipe.

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Thanks for pointing that out 😉 That’s what happens when you have both on hand. Recipe is updated!

  9. Esther says:

    I made these yesterday with leftover cauliflower rice. They were sooooo good! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Rachel says:

    OMG… these look amazing.

  11. Angelina says:

    I made these from your cookbook. There are delicious!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      YAY! Glad you loved them.

  12. Molly Drewes says:

    I noticed there is no instruction in squeezing excess liquid from the cauliflower or zucchini. I am not sure how you can get a falafel that is not watery or falling apart without this step. Would love to hear?

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      I don’t ring it out to much because otherwise the falafel “mix” falls apart -as mentioned in a previous comment.

  13. Amy Rich says:

    Just made these … WOW! Taste amazing, and a real treat for my husband who can’t have chickpeas due to a blood condition.
    I’ve noticed (too late ‍♀️) that you recommend freezing them prior to baking, do you think it would work freezing them after baking?
    Thanks for the amazing recipe!

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