Red Lentil Falafels
Lentil Falafels - If you're bored of chickpeas and want to make a fast, delicious, homemade falafel, then look to the lentil for a good change!
Red Lentil FalafelsJump to Recipe
For my money, a good falafel sandwich is one of my favorite sandwiches, including all those of the meat variety. I like them because they are hearty, really filling, and have lots of interesting flavors.
I’ve made baked falafels before using normal chickpeas but I figured that you can make little falafel balls out of a bunch of different legumes (or even grains). When I wanted to try this theory out, lentils was the first thing that popped into my mind. I love their flavor, they are really easy to cook, and they mash well so I figured they would make good falafels.
I actually found lentils easier to work with than chickpeas so if you want to try your hand at homemade falafels, this recipe for Lentil Falafels might be a good beginner version.
- 3 cups cooked red lentils about 1 1/2 uncooked cups
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup fresh parsley minced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro minced
- 1 large egg
- 1 lemon juice only
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup olive oil
Quick Yogurt Sauce:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- ½ lemon juice only
- 2 tablespoons parsley minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 pita breads halved
- Cucumber sliced thin
- Fresh lettuce
- Red onion sliced thin
- Feta cheese crumbled
- Cook red lentils according to package. Be sure to rinse them and sort through for any pebbles. Cook until soft, then drain and cool slightly.
- Mash together lentils with spices, parsley, and cilantro. Mix in egg, lemon juice, baking powder, flour, and a big pinch of salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 350 °F. Use a tablespoon to scoop heaping tablespoons of lentil mixture into breadcrumbs. Toss to coat and transfer coated falafel ball to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue with forming falafels until you have used all the mixture (you should get 26-30 falafels).
- Drizzle falafels well with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees until lentils are cracked and cooked through.
- Meanwhile stir together greek yogurt sauce ingredients and prepare other garnishes.
- When falafels are done baking, make a sandwich by microwaving a pita for 10 seconds so it’s easier to open. Stuff with a few falafel balls and any other garnishes you want. Eat up!
Did you make this?
Snap a photo and tag @macheesmo so I can see your work.
- Need other sandwich ideas? Try these Flank Steak Sliders or these Turkey Sausage Calzones!
The Lentil Mixture
I used red lentils for these Lentil Falafels, but you can use any lentil really. Ideally, you could make a big batch of lentils and then save a few cups of the leftovers for these falafels later in the week.
There’s nothing tricky about cooking lentils. Just follow the instructions on the package. If I’m eating lentils on their own, I’m very careful not to overcook the lentils because they can get mushy quickly. This is less of a concern if we are making falafels because everything needs to be mashed together anyway.
If you do cook lentils fresh just for this dish, be sure to let them cool before proceeding with the recipe.
Once your lentils are cooked and cooled, just mash them together with the garlic, spices, and herbs. Feel free to go big on the flavors here. Also add a big pinch of salt and pepper to the mix at this point.
Once the spices are mashed in, add the egg, lemon juice, baking powder, and flour. The baking powder helps keep the falafels nice and light and gives them a bit of a puff. Without it, they might be too thick and chewy.
Once your falafel mixture is ready, you need to answer the big falafel question:
To Bake or Fry?
Quite honestly, I do both. Baking is obviously healthier, but you do miss out on some crunchy deliciousness that results from frying. I also think baking is easier. You can just form them all, slide them in the oven, and forget about them while you prep your other ingredients.
I went with baking for this version, but if you want a falafel frying tutorial, I did that a few years ago also.
Either way though, form the Lentil Falafels by scooping out heaping tablespoon balls and rolling them in bread crumbs.
If you’re baking, add the shaped falafels to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once they are all formed, drizzle the falafels really well with olive oil. I also like to gently press falafels down to make them thinner and easier to fit in a pita later.
Bake these Lentil Falafels for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees and they will get slightly cracked and lightly browned around the edges. That’s when they are done!
While the falafels bake, you can prepare the other toppings.
I whisked together a quick Greek yogurt sauce and also chopped up some tasty crunchy veggies for my sandwiches.
Once the falafels are baked, make a sandwich by stuffing everything into a pita half! I recommend microwave the pita for 10 seconds which makes them easier to open up and stuff.
Doesn’t that sandwich look tasty and delicious?
I loved these Lentil Falafels and they are beautiful for weekday lunches. You can reheat the little falafel balls in the microwave in just a few seconds and then make your sandwich on the spot.
12 Responses to “Red Lentil Falafels” Leave a comment
This looks delicious. I have a lemon I’ve been wondering what to do with, this recipe is a great excuse. Thanks!
I have been making falafels for years, but always with chickpeas. Nice to see I can use a lentils. thanks for the new twist on an old favorite !
Made these last night and they were awesome! Even the meat addicted boyfriend enjoyed them and went back for seconds. My mix was still pretty mushy and hard to get into ball shapes (probably because I overcooked the lentils) but they still firmed up nicely after baking for about 25 mins! Thanks for the great falafel recipe, a lot of ones I have come across use chickpea flour which I can never find and this was simple and flavorful =)
Awesome Sammi! Thanks for the feedback!
I made these falafels with an unusual and unplanned twist. I only had Italian bread crumbs, so I knew it wouldn’t taste right with all the Middle Eastern spices, so I omitted them and did my own thing. I added extra garlic and fresh basil. I threw everything in my food processor and the consistency turned out great. I also used a basil-infused olive oil to top them off.
Because I can’t eat dairy, this recipe worked out great. In other words, I didn’t make the greek yogurt dressing, either. I ate these yummy “Italian”, meatless falafels with fresh cucumbers and cherry tomatoes on pita bread with spring mix and a lemon tahini dressing. They were delicious. I threw some in the freezer as well, and was thinking they could even be a side to a classic spaghetti or chicken parm.
I haven’t made falafels in a while, but I know I fried them and had a chickpea recipe last time I made them. These baked ones were much lighter and I loved them with lentils!!! I liked them a lot, even with the unusual twist.
That sounds great! Thanks for the comment and recipe tweak ideas.
OMG these were delicious! !! Even my meat loving husband loved them! I made mine with Italian breadcrumbs and they came out just fine. I would def refrigerate the mixture before rolling it in the breadcrumbs, mine was too runny. The Greek yogurt sauce def needs cucumber, garlic, and dill, it was a little lame without it. :)
I overcooked the lentils for a salad I was making yesterday, so searched the web for an idea of what to do with a pot of slightly mushy lentils. Your recipe for the falafel came up… and they were a big success! Thank you for the idea and thank you for a new addition to my kids lunchboxes.
I wanted to let you know that I gave you – and this recipe – a little mention on my blog: http://goo.gl/oghRjg
Thanks Lisa! Also, saw your Edinburgh post. My wife and I spent some time there a few years ago. Loved Scotland. :)
Oh good! Glad you enjoyed my other post too. Edinburgh was wonderful!
I loved this recipe! I overcooked some lentils and instead of tossing them, I searched the internet and came across this recipe. I didn’t like the consistency of the batter so I added 1/4 cup extra flour and I think it helped make them velvety and soft. I also added in a few extra spices- fresh basil, ground tumeric and dried marjoram- just to make it my own. Falafels were delicious, soft and plentiful with this recipe! Thank you for sharing, I will definitely be using this recipe again!