Monday, February 22, 2010

Gluten-free Millet Falafel

Now that I'm gluten-free and living in almost-northern Maine, if I'm hankering for falafel I have to make it myself. My go-to recipe used to be Baked Falafel from the The Whole Foods Market Cookbook (you can see a slightly modified version of it here). A mix of chickpeas, bulgur wheat, breadcrumbs, and seasoning, it was a lighter variation on those traditional dense, fried patties. A few weeks ago I was playing around with millet, and realized it could easily stand in for bulgar wheat in this recipe; cooked with three parts water to one part grain, millet bulks up and gets sticky.

Baked falafel isn't as crispy as fried falafel, and it lacks that dirty street cart je ne sais quoi, but it's a whole lot healthier and easier to prepare. I hate frying at home— oil splatters all over my countertops, it stinks up the kitchen, and it forces me to acknowledge how much hot fat I'm about to eat. If you decide to fry this dough instead of baking it, leave a comment and let us know how it works.

Note: falafel loves—no, needs tahini sauce. Mine is a simple mix of tahini, water, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

Baked Millet Falafel

1 cup water
⅓ cup millet
1½ teaspoons cups cooked chickpeas
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp crushed red chili flakes
1½ teaspoons cumin
1½ teaspoons coriander
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
olive oil (to coat baking sheet)

Preheat oven to 400°F and lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

Boil the water and add millet. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook 25-30 minutes, until water is absorbed.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine cooked millet, chickpeas, onion, garlic, red chili flakes, cumin, coriander, lemon juice, olive oil, breadcrumbs, chickpea flour, and parsley, and pulse until just mixed.

Form heaping tablespoons of dough into balls and use a spatula to gently press them into the oiled cookie sheet. Spray or brush the falafel with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes, until underside of falafel are lightly browned. Carefully flip the falafel and cook another 10 minutes.

Makes 16. *Make your own breadcrumbs by drying a few pieces of bread on a rack overnight (or in the microwave, between 2 paper towels—30 to 60 seconds ought to do it). Break the dried bread into chunks and process into crumbs in a blender or food processor. This is a great way to make use of disappointing gluten-free loaves!


  1. What beautiful falafel! And another great way to use up some of the extra millet I have!

  2. This is brilliant for people who are gluten intolerant!!! It looks super yummy too!

  3. Beyond awesome! I'll make falafel every which way until I turn into a chickpea, so this is one that will definitely have to go into my meal plan. Love having a new use for millet, too!

  4. Looks delicious Mary! This recipe is definitely getting bookmarked.

  5. What a fabulous idea and a great way to use up some of my underappreciated millet. I am also embarrased to say that I have never tried falafel before, so this will be an excellent experiment for me. :)

  6. oh yum....
    I cannot wait to try this!! Thank you!!

  7. That looks delicious! I love millet and how it sticks together, but everyone seems so convinced that it's not nutritious because it's "birdfood." Maybe it's not quinoa, but it's not like empty calories either. Millet revolution!

  8. Oooh, I usually use and bake the vwav recipe, but this looks like fun too! I'll have to try it sometime soon since I haven't made falafel in quite some time.

  9. We made Sweet Potato Falafel last week. Falafel is awesome!

  10. yum! i'd totally be up for this!
    what kind of gf bread crumbs do you use? i've gotten the brown rice ones from whole foods before, but they were almost a powder and not crumbs..

  11. Those look incredible! Haha I do that too...I have no problem ordering something fried, but to actually make it? Forget about it. I feel so guilty about all that oil.

  12. What a great idea! Looks beautiful, too.

  13. prideandveg: I made my own breadcrumbs by drying out pieces of gluten-free bread and running them through the blender.

  14. Mmmm...that sounds delicious! I feel the same way about frying at home. I do it occasionally (I mean, a girl's gotta have her beer-battered tofu cutlets), but I always feel so guilty when I can see all the fat I'm eating. It's much more guilt-free to order fried foods in a restaurant.

  15. I just made it and it tastes amazing!! I am definitely making this again!


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