Spiced Vegan Spinach Falafel with Quick Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

Spiced Vegan Spinach Falafel with Quick Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

Make this vegan spiced spinach falafel recipe for an easy vegan dinner ready in 30 minutes! Packed with spinach (that kids… and adults! can’t taste) and bursting with flavorful spices, this healthy oil free falafel recipe with canned chickpeas uses no traditional flour either, making them gluten free and paleo as well. Serve them covered in the following quick vegan tzatziki sauce, which can be prepared while the falafel patties cook.

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of our links, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Visit our Disclosures & Privacy Policy for complete and detailed information.

Flavorful and Healthy Spinach and Chickpea Falafel

We all know how good for us leafy greens are, but it can definitely be tricky at times to work them into your family’s diet, especially if anyone (kids and adults alike) don’t particularly care for them. Easy spinach falafel to the rescue! 

With 4 firmly packed cups of spinach, these vegan falafel patties pack a serious nutritional punch. Spinach is loaded with nutrients and health benefits, ranging from providing iron, calcium, and magnesium to offering a host of possible health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, helping manage diabetes, digestive regularity, healthy skin and hair, and more. Due to the lutein content of spinach, it may even help fight macular degeneration. So pretty much a leafy greens rockstar.

However, if you’re not a spinach fan, never fear. You won’t even taste it in this recipe. We make this oil free falafel recipe with canned chickpeas, onion, garlic, and an abundance of spices, set off with a bit of lemon to make everything pop. With all the spices in there, you won’t even notice the spinach hiding out in your falafel. 

Of course, then you can smother it in the non dairy tzatziki sauce, which is my preferred way to eat it, or toss a few spinach falafel patties in a pita pocket with the homemade tzatziki, some red onion slices, tomato slices, and even some lettuce. Either way, you’ll get delicious, flavorful, spiced falafel and no real hint of the healthy spinach it contains.

food processor with spinach, chickpeas, and onion for food processor vegan spiced falafel

Food Processor Falafel – SO easy!

Like most falafel recipes, these vegan spinach falafel patties start with a food processor, which means this whole recipe takes very, very little effort. I’m always a fan of that. Let’s make dinner healthy, quick, and easy, right?

Start off by processing all the spinach first because until it’s processed, the leafy greens tend to be rather voluminous, making it harder to fit everything else in your processor. Then add the canned chickpeas, onion, garlic, spices, coconut flour (see substitute notes below), and lemon juice.

Process the mixture until it’s very well combined. The result will be a somewhat thick, pretty sticky dough that you can easily form into balls. You can add a little more coconut flour if the mixture seems too runny or doesn’t stick together. You can add a bit of water or some more lemon juice if the mixture seems too dense or lacking moisture.

Side note – If you love the simplicity of food processor recipes (and perhaps like a bit of spice), you absolutely have to check out Cory’s various salsa recipes. They’re all quick food processor salsas, and they’re ridiculously popular at parties. Pineapple Habanero Salsa is probably the most popular; Chipotle Salsa is his favorite and has a kick, and Peach Green Chile Salsa is perfect for summer! There are other food processor recipes at the end of the post, so look for those too.

Gluten Free Falafel (falafel with no normal flour)

To keep this falafel recipe gluten free and paleo, we’ve avoided all purpose flour. However, with just the veggies, canned chickpeas, and spices, the mixture was a little too runny to set up well. We needed to add some heft without adding any gluten or grains, like flour (keeping the spinach falafel paleo as well as vegan).

So I used coconut flour in these spinach falafel, which can sometimes prove a touch tricky. Every brand seems just a little different, but you need very little here because coconut flour is far more absorbent than all purpose flour.

If you find that your mixture seems a little too runny to form into patties, add a bit more coconut flour until you reach a sort of moldable but still very moist texture. If the falafel mixture seems too thick or dense, add some water or a bit more lemon juice.

You’ll often see eggs added when using coconut flour, especially in baked goods, because coconut flour requires extra moisture and eggs help bind ingredients and add some rise. You could add an egg and keep these spinach falafel paleo, but of course, that egg would no longer keep these falafel vegan.

vegan spinach falafel stacked in front of diary free tzatziki sauce with cucumbers

Coconut Flour Substitutes

If you don’t need the healthy falafel to be gluten free or paleo, you should be able to swap the coconut flour for regular flour or whole wheat flour. We have not tried this, but you can usually expect a ratio of either 3:1 or 4:1 all purpose flour to coconut flour. We’d anticipate you’d use somewhere between ½ – ¾ C all purpose or whole wheat flour.

Completely Oil Free Falafel Using the BEST Griddle

While traditional falafel is deep fried, and many versions are often pan fried or baked, we take an atypical approach here and use our electric griddle! Deep frying adds the oil we’re trying to avoid and definitely takes it back a step health-wise. Lightly pan-frying isn’t as bad, but it still adds in oil. 

Baked oil free falafel is the most common approach, but honestly, every recipe I’ve made that way left me with just a sort of mushy texture to the falafel. I wanted a little bit of crispness to the edges without adding oil, and I also didn’t want it to take forever, the way I feel like oven-baked falafel sometimes does. 

So, I thought I’d try the electric griddle, and I’m quite pleased with the results. Just scoop your mixture out with a spoon or ice cream scoop, form it into a pattie, and drop it on the griddle! I push the patties down with a spatula to make sure they get browned all the way across. 

Ok, so I have to talk about our amazing electric griddle. It is ceramic, so it does not require any oil. Ever. Even if the recipe is oil free, like these falafel or many vegan pancake recipes, you don’t need to use any oil. It’s fantastic. The cleanup is also super easy; even after messy blueberry pancakes, it cleans up well. I freakin’ love it, and I cannot recommend it strongly enough.

If your griddle has in the past not worked well without some oil, or if you don’t care about keeping the spinach falafel oil-free and want a little more crispiness to the edges of your falafel, feel free to use some oil here or to lightly pan fry these instead.

Cook up these homemade oil free falafel like little green pancakes! You won’t be disappointed. 

one stack of spinach falafel with vegan tzatziki sauce and sliced cucumbers and lemon

Non Dairy Tzatziki – Quick & Easy

Without any oils or any frying, you might find these falafel a touch drier than you’re used to. They shouldn’t be super crumbly (if they are, you probably need a little water or some more lemon juice in the mixture), but they definitely benefit from this delicious vegan tzatziki sauce recipe.

You can mix up the non dairy tzatziki while you wait for the falafel to cook on the griddle. If non dairy or vegan isn’t critical to you, you can swap the cashew or coconut yogurt for a full-fat greek yogurt. Either way, you’ll have an easy, super creamy homemade tzatziki sauce that takes only a few ingredients and a couple minutes to whip up.

Slice the cucumber in half, and use a spoon to scoop out all the seeds. Then, with the skin still on (after all, the skin is where most of the nutrients are!), grate the cucumber. The easiest and quickest way to do this is with a medium grater or fine grater food processor disc, which makes really quick work of the cucumber. You can also do this manually with a medium or fine grater you have on hand.

You can absolutely still use regular old slicing cucumbers for this vegan tzatziki, and it will still be tasty; they just have a little bit more bitterness to them. Persian and English cucumbers tend to have less waxy skin and less bitterness. It’s up to you and what you have on hand though!

Then squeeze most of the moisture out of the shredded cucumber with a few paper towels and mix together the yogurt, shredded cucumber, lemon juice, dill, garlic, and salt. That’s it! Delicious vegan tzatziki sauce (non dairy tzatziki) for your healthy spinach falafel!

bowl of vegan tzatziki on plate surrounded by healthy spinach falafel with spinach leaves and lemon nearby

Serving Suggestions:

Vegan Spinach Falafel with Non Dairy Tzatziki Sauce

Just serve the falafel as is with a generous dollop of vegan tzatziki sauce over each healthy falafel bite! This combination is perfect!

Add a healthy salad

Add a healthy salad to round out your meal. We love to serve this incredibly delicious, fresh Shirazi Salad with our homemade oil free falafel. It’s bursting with fresh flavors and makes a perfect, healthy compliment.

Falafel Pita Pockets

Slather the inside of a pita pocket with a generous helping of homemade vegan tzatziki sauce; then stuff it with a few spinach falafel, several slices of red onion and tomato, and a leaf or two of lettuce, if desired. Perfect healthy falafel sandwich!

How to Make Spiced Vegan Spinach Falafel with Quick Vegan Tzatziki Sauce:

Print
bowl of vegan tzatziki on plate surrounded by healthy spinach falafel with spinach leaves and lemon in background

Spiced Vegan Spinach Falafel with Quick Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

  • Author: Our Sweetly Spiced Life
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: about 30 falafel 1x

Description

Make this vegan spiced spinach falafel recipe for an easy vegan dinner ready in 30 minutes! Packed with spinach (that kids… and adults! can’t taste) and bursting with flavorful spices, this healthy oil free falafel recipe with canned chickpeas uses no traditional flour either, making them gluten free and paleo as well. Serve them covered in the following quick vegan tzatziki sauce, which can be prepared while the falafel patties cook.


Scale

Ingredients

Falafel

  • 4 Cups firmly packed baby spinach
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flour*
  • ½ Cup rough chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1 heaping Tbsp chopped garlic, or 6 whole cloves
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 5.3oz container plain, unsweetened cashew or coconut yogurt*
  • 1 large english cucumber (or 34 persian or 1 medium slicing cucumber)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice

 


Instructions

Falafel

  1. Process spinach in a large food processor until its volume has been greatly reduced.
  2. Add remaining ingredients. Process until a smooth, malleable consistency is reached. The mixture should stick together and be firm enough to form into patties but still feel very moist.
  3. If the mixture is too thick or dry, add some water or more lemon juice. If the mixture is too runny, add some more coconut flour.
  4. Scoop with a spoon or ice cream scoop. Form into patties (like small, slightly thick pancakes)
  5. Cook on griddle at 300F, 7-8 minutes per side, until browned.
  6. Make vegan tzatziki sauce (below) while your healthy spinach falafel patties cook

Tzatziki Sauce

  1. Slice your cucumber(s) and remove seeds with a spoon. English or Persian cucumbers are preferred (they are less bitter and the skin thinner and less waxy); however, a normal slicing cucumber will still be delicious if that’s what’s available!
  2. Leaving the skin on, run the cucumber(s) through the rinsed out food processor, using a medium or fine grater disc (LINK?). Alternately, grate the cucumber(s) by hand.
  3. Using a few paper towels, squeeze the grated cucumber to remove as much excess moisture as possible.
  4. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Notes

*You can swap the non-dairy yogurt for full-fat greek yogurt. This will result in a delicious, creamy homemade tzatziki but will no longer be vegan or strictly paleo. Choose whatever unsweetened plain yogurt (no flavors or added sugars regardless of non/dairy choice) best fits your lifestyle and dietary choices/needs.

More Simple Food Processor Recipes:

Salsas: Pineapple Habanero, Mango Jalapeno, Hatch Green Chile Peach, Chipotle

Healthy No Bake Chocolate Cherry Brownie Bites

Amazing 5-Minute Guacamole

Roasted Poblano Hummus

4 Ingredient Citrus Fig & Almond Bars

More Vegan Dinner Recipes:

Spaghetti Squash Vegetable Curry

Thai Vegan Red Curry

Citrus Berry Salad with Blood Orange Raspberry Vinaigrette

Zoodles with Sundried Tomato and Walnut Pesto

Do you have a favorite easy food processor recipe? What do you think of this healthy vegan spinach and chickpea falafel recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow us on Pinterest!

Joelle

healthy vegan spinach falafel can't taste spinach only spices! oil free falafel on plate with homemade easy tzatziki


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *