These hearty Mediterranean falafel bowls are a delicious and satisfying vegetarian meal! Rice bowls are topped with homemade baked falafels, a tomato cucumber salad, feta, and an incredible creamy tahini yogurt dressing. Balanced, healthy and great for meal prep!
If you love Mediterranean food then you’ll love these Greek chicken bowls!
Thanks to my friends at American Dairy Association Mideast for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions are my own.
Why I love them
Baked not fried falafels – I love that these baked falafels still turn out crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy inside even without the deep frying. Let’s be honest, as good as a deep fried falafel tastes, it’s a mess to deal with.
No soaking chickpeas required – We’re keeping these falafels quick and easy to make thanks to canned chickpeas. Using dried chickpeas requires that you soak them for 24 hours.
Healthy vegetarian dinner – Sometimes a vegetarian dinner can leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry shortly after. Thanks to the carbs, vegetables, and protein from the chickpeas and Greek yogurt, this meal will keep you full and satisfied.
Dairy and plants are the ultimate power couple that together deliver on calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and fiber. Research shows plant and dairy foods can also help reduce the risk for chronic diseases.
Dairy foods are often recommended as part of plant-based diets because they contain
high-quality proteins and often under-consumed nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
Meal prep – If you meal prep these bowls are a great option. You can have them for lunches or dinner and they’ll keep for 3-4 days.
What are falafels?
A falafel is a popular Middle Eastern street food. It’s a deep fried ball or patty shaped fritter that’s made of chickpeas or broad beans. They’re generally served in a pita or flatbread and topped with a salad, picked vegetables, and a tahini-based sauce.
- Canned chickpeas – Using canned chickpeas is a quick and easy short cut compared to using dried chickpeas.
- Red onion – Red onions have a milder onion flavor in comparison to yellow onions. You could also use shallots.
- Cilantro and parsley – flat leaf parsley or curly parsley can be used.
- Lemon – You’ll be using both the zest and juice so be sure to zest it first.
- Tahini – Adds both flavor and moisture to the falafels.
- Garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, coriander – The spice blend for the falafels. Some of these spices are also used in the tahini yogurt sauce.
- Baking powder – Give the falafels a little rise and a fluffier texture. Not using it may result in dense falafels.
- Flour – Acts as the binder for the falafels.
- Rice – White or brown rice can be used. You can also use any other whole grain you like such as farro, quinoa, or barley.
- Tomatoes and cucumbers – Sweet and crunchy! Often found together in Mediterranean and Greek salads.
- Kalamata olives – Briny, chewy and pair well with the crisp cucumbers and sweet tomatoes.
- Feta – Buy block feta if possible for the best taste and a creamier texture.
- Plain Greek yogurt – I like to use 2% or full fat for the richest flavor and creamiest texture.
- Olive oil – Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil since you won’t be using it for cooking, but rather flavoring the yogurt sauce and tomato cucumber salad.
How to make baked falafels
Process the ingredients – Place all the falafel ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, except the flour. Pulse until a crumbly “dough” forms. Add in the flour a tablespoon at a time pulsing after each addition. You want the consistency to be dry enough that you can shape it into a disc with your hands.
Bake – Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with cooking oil. Place the falafels onto the baking sheet and spray the tops with more cooking oil or brush them with olive oil.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping them over halfway through the cooking time. They should be golden and the exterior should be crisp and dry.
How to make tahini yogurt dressing
This tahini yogurt dressing was originally one I used on this Greek salmon salad. It’s thick and creamy and works great as a dressing, sauce, drizzle, or dip. You can make it as thick or thin as you want by simply adding water or milk to it.
To make the dressing simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl or jar and whisk them together. The dressing will be quite thick, so if you want it thinned, add a tablespoon of water or milk at a time until your desired consistency is reached.
Besides tasting great, this tahini yogurt dressing is a great way to get in extra dairy and protein. The base of the dressing is made with Greek yogurt, which is high in protein and helps to keep you fuller longer. It also packs in essential nutrients.
Yogurt is also linked to health benefits including reduced inflammation, improved digestive health and healthy immune systems.
Assembling the falafel bowls
In a bowl combine the cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, olives, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss them together and taste for seasoning.
Add some rice to a bowl. Top it with 3 of the falafels or however many you want. Add some of the tomato cucumber salad to the bowl and some crumbled feta cheese. Spoon on the tahini yogurt sauce and garnish with fresh parsley or dill.
Falafels can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.
To reheat them I recommend putting them in a toaster oven so that they retain some of their crispness. You can also reheat them in the microwave if you’re short on time.
Yes. To make these falafels gluten-free, simply swap the all-purpose flour with an all-purpose gluten-free flour, oat flour, or chickpea flour.
More Mediterranean recipes
- Chicken Gyro Bowls
- Mediterranean Chopped Salad
- Mediterranean Salmon Orzo Salad
- Grilled Tahini Chicken
- Mediterranean Lentil Salad
Did you make these baked falafel bowls? I’d love if you’d leave a recipe rating and review below.
- 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt)
- 3 tablespoons flour
Tomato Cucumber Salad
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Tahini Yogurt Dressing
- 1/2 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups cooked rice
- Crumbled feta
- Chopped parsley and dill for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with cooking oil.
- Place all of the falafel ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, except the flour. Pulse until a crumbly dough forms. Add in the flour a tablespoon at a time pulsing the mixture after each addition. It should be dry enough that you can shape it into a disc with your hands.
- Scoop out 2 tablespoons of the mixture and form it into a disc. You should be able to get 12 falafels made from it. Place the falafels onto the baking sheet and spray the tops with more cooking oil or brush them with olive oil.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping them over halfway through the cooking time. You want them to be golden and the exterior should be crisp.
- While the falafels bake combine all of the ingredients for the tomato cucumber salad in a bowl. Taste for seasoning.
- Add all of the ingredients for the tahini yogurt dressing to a bowl or measuring glass and whisk them together. The dressing will be thick. To thin it out whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of water or milk until your desired consistency is reached.
- To assemble the bowls, add 1/2 cup of rice to a bowl. Top it with 3 of the baked falafels, some of the tomato cucumber salad, crumbled feta, and drizzle the tahini yogurt dressing on top. Garnish with chopped parsley and dill if desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 439Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 488mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 10gSugar: 10gProtein: 19g
Nutritional information is an estimate. Please consult a registered dietician for the most accurate nutritional information.