I started making these vegan and gluten-free red lentil falafel years ago and they’ve become part of our regular rotation – I love how simple and flexible they are to make. I soak and freeze jars of red lentils as part of my weekly batch cooking, but was mostly making this red lentil soup with them until these little patties came into the mix.
We were low on groceries on a weekend and the freezer was empty apart from some soaked red lentils, so I tried making burgers from them, thinking I’d end up with one giant lentil pancake. Turns out soaked red lentils make a great solid-textured patty, but only if they’re soaked. Please don’t try this with dry or cooked lentils, you won’t like the results.
While these are pictured as part of a naanwich with vegan naan, greens, hummus, and pickled onions, we often serve them with a dipping sauce like avocado aioli and roasted vegetables or salad. They’re a great simple staple recipe.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Chickpea flour: I’ve also made these with spelt and rye flour, but prefer using chickpea flour, which gives a better flavour and texture.
- Parsley: use the whole herb, including the stems, for this recipe. See parsley substitutions if you don’t have any.
- Red lentils: this can be split or whole red lentils, as whole tend to break into two when soaked in any case.
Since red lentils only need about an hour for a quick soak in hot water if you’re pressed for time (see below), these work well for when there aren’t any cooked legumes on hand and you don’t have time to boil chickpeas for hours.
If you want to fry these rather than bake, you’ll have to add an egg. I recommend making my lentil and greens patties instead, which were adapted from this recipe.
You can also add a grated carrot to the lentil falafel (add a beet instead to make them pink), leave out the parsley or sub it for another herb like cilantro, add turmeric and other spices, or use apple cider vinegar in place of the lemon juice. These are very flexible.
How to Store
Storage: these are best fresh, but can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days. They do dry out a bit when stored.
Freezing: the mixture freezes very well before baking. Simply transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to three months, then thaw in the refrigerator and use as normal. Baked patties can also be frozen.
- Do a quick soak: if you’re in a rush, soak the lentils in very hot water (not boiling, but as hot as the tap can get it) for a minimum of one hour before blending.
- Blend very well: the mixture should be very finely chopped, with only a few visible lentils remaining.
- Use a spoon: if you don’t want to take the time to form balls, just use a tablespoon to drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking sheet.
More Easy Vegan Mains
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Red Lentil Falafel
Red Lentil Falafel
- 1 small red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- Handful parsley
- 1 cup soaked red lentils*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour**
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
- Juice of a lemon ~3 tablespoons
Red Lentil Falafel
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the onion, garlic, and parsley into the bowl of a food processor and blend until finely chopped.1 small red onion, 2 cloves garlic, Handful parsley
- Add the lentils, oil, flour, spices, and lemon juice, then pulse until combined and you can form loose balls with the mixture.1 cup soaked red lentils*, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons chickpea flour**, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, Juice of a lemon
- Form golf ball sized patties and place them onto the prepared baking sheet. They will spread slightly so leave some space between each. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden and serve hot. Leftovers freeze well and can be refrigerated up to three days.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.