Crispy Falafel with Zucchini Baba Ganoush

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Crispy Falafel with Zucchini Baba Ganoush, Sacha Served What

Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. These Falafel with Zucchini Baba Ganoush are an absolute dream.

I had a lot of fun testing these out for you guys. My husband and I enjoyed eating all the variations, too! These falafel are absolutely perfect, and I love to serve them with a creamy zucchini baba ganoush, lemony tahini sauce, toasted pine nuts, and a fresh herb salad. You can pan fry them or deep fry them, it’s totally up to you! If pan frying, form them into patties. If deep frying, roll into balls.

Zucchini Baba Ganoush, Sacha Served What

Let’s talk about the zucchini baba ganoush! It’s very similar to classic baba ganoush, but made with zucchini instead of eggplant. While I love eggplant, it’s a nightshade vegetable, which many people have trouble eating or have intolerances to. This is why I used zucchini instead, and guess what? IT WORKS. It’s a creamy dip made by simply roasting zucchini halves. Then you’ll puree them in a food processor with silky tahini, garlic, lemon, olive oil, and cumin. It’s so delicious, you’ll want to eat it with more than just the falafel.

I think the falafel with all the accoutrements are a perfect meal. But, you don’t have to make each component of the recipe if the falafel are enough for you. Serve them with store-bought hummus, if that’s easier!

Crispy Falafel with Zucchini Baba Ganoush, Sacha Served What

Ingredient Notes:

  • Dried Chickpeas – Yes, you must use dried, not canned. And you must soak them so that they puff up a bit.
  • Baking Soda – It helps the chickpeas plump up when soaking.
  • Parsley and Cilantro – I use Italian Parsley, not the curly parsley. If you don’t like cilantro, use double the parsley.
  • Turmeric – Used mainly for color. If you don’t have it, it’s not absolutely necessary. But I do prefer to use it myself!
  • Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour – If you’re not gluten-free, you can use regular all-purpose flour. Cup4Cup if my favorite, find it here.
  • Baking Powder – This will make the falafel fluffier on the inside.
  • Kosher Salt – The measurement provided is for Diamond Crystal, found here.
  • Tahini Paste – Make sure you mix it well and get some thicker paste all the way at the bottom as well as the thinner liquid at the top!
  • Honey – If vegan, you can definitely substitute agave.
  • Parsley, Dill, and Mint – I love to use this combination of herbs for the salad. However, if you don’t want to buy all of them, you can also just use the leftover parsley and cilantro from your falafel. To me, it doesn’t hurt of have extra herbs on hand at all times. Any recipe that you make at other points in the week can benefit from a sprinkle of fresh herbs!
Crispy Falafel with Zucchini Baba Ganoush, Sacha Served What
Crispy Falafel with Zucchini Baba Ganoush, Sacha Served What

Crispy Falafel with Zucchini Babaganoush

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Soaking & Resting Time 13 hours
Total Time 14 hours 5 minutes
Course Appetizer, Small Bites
Cuisine Israeli, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 18 pieces


For the Falafel:

  • 8 oz. dried chickpeas
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves and thin stems packed
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves and thin stems packed
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped carrot from about 1 small carrot, peeled
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion from about half a large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Neutral oil for pan frying or deep drying (I prefer to use avocado oil)
  • Zucchini Babaganoush recipe below
  • Tahini Sauce recipe here
  • Herb Salad optional as garnish, recipe below
  • Toasted pine nuts optional as garnish

For the Zucchini Babaganoush:

  • 2 medium zucchini cut in half lengthwise
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled
  • ¼ cup tahini paste
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Tahini Sauce:

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Water
  • Kosher salt

For the Herb Salad:

  • ¼ cup packed parsley leaves and thin stems
  • ¼ cup packed dill fronds
  • ¼ cup packed mint leaves larger leaves torn into smaller chunks
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


For the Falafel:

  • Place the chickpeas and baking soda in a large bowl and cover them by about 3 inches of cold water. Stir to combine. Let soak overnight, about 12 hours.
  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Transfer to the bowl of a large food processor with the parsley, cilantro, carrot, onion, garlic, turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika, flour, baking powder, Kosher salt, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Pulse the mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed, until a coarse meal forms (something that looks in between quinoa and a paste so that the mixture holds together).
  • Place into a large mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Scoop falafel into balls with a cookie scooper, about 2 tablespoons in size. Gently flatten into round patties, about a third of an inch thick, if shallow frying. Roll into balls, if deep frying. If the mixture is falling apart once formed, add another tablespoon of flour to the mixture.
  • TIP: Before cooking the entire batch of falafel, I prefer to test one out first to make sure the oil is at the right temperature and that it’s cooking correctly.
  • If shallow frying, heat ¼-½ inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add falafel patties (you may need to work in batches) and fry for about 5 minutes, flipping as needed, until cooked through and golden brown all over. If browning too quickly, lower the heat.
  • If deep drying, heat 1 ½ inches of oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add falafel balls (you may need to work in batches) to the oil and fry, turning as needed, for 5-6 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown all over. If browning too quickly, lower the heat.
  • Remove the falafel from the oil with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate. TIP: If you like extra salt, like I do, sprinkle a bit of Kosher salt on the falafel as soon as you remove them from the oil.
  • Serve them hot and freshly fried on top of the zucchini spread, drizzled with tahini sauce. Optionally, serve with the herb salad and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

For the Zucchini Babaganoush:

  • Adjust a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Place the zucchini, cut side up, on the parchment-lines sheet pan. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and rub all over with a third of the olive oil. Roast on the top rack for 30 minutes, then switch to broil at 500°F and broil for 3-5 minutes, until lightly charred. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Place cooked zucchini halves, garlic, tahini, cumin, lemon juice, water, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (double this amount if doubling the recipe), a good amount of freshly ground black pepper, and the remaining olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Taste and season with additional Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed.

For the Tahini Sauce:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, honey, and olive oil. Add in water, 1 tablespoon at a time (I used 2-3 tablespoons for ¼ cup tahini), until it reaches creamy consistency. Season generously with Kosher salt, to taste. TIP: The tahini will seize up, and then loosen and become creamy once you start adding water.

For the Herb Salad:

  • In a medium bowl, mix together the herbs, olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice (I used a little less than half a lemon). Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.


Falafel are best served immediately after frying. However, they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or air fryer until warmed through.
Zucchini Babaganoush can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Tahini Sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Herb salad is best served immediately. 
Keyword Vegetarian
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