Instead of just giving you a video with a recipe that I’ve already tested out a few times, I decided to take y’all along with me as I test out a recipe. These Vegan Air-Fried Chickpea and Zucchini Falafel are a great way to use pantry staples like canned chickpeas and rolled oats to create an easy and delicious plant-based meal.

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Here’s What You’ll Need to make Air-Fried Chickpea and Zucchini Falafel:

Pantry Staples:

  • Chickpeas – I’m working on a series of single-serving vegan recipes that revolve around a single can of beans. This particular air-fried falafel recipe calls for a can of chickpeas, but really, you could pretty much use any canned bean you like. If you wanted to cook your beans from scratch, which is, in my opinion, a much tastier option, then go for it. You’ll need about 1 ½ cup of cooked and drained beans. 
  • Oats  –  Most folks have oats around the house, so it’s a perfect ingredient to use in this pantry staple recipe. If you already have oat flour, you could use that instead. But if you only have oats, just blend up a ¼  cup, and you’ll be good to go. Chickpea flour will also work in this recipe, so if that’s all you’ve got, go for it.. 
  • Seasonings –  You can pretty much season these fritters any way you like. I rely on the basic onion and garlic powders to do most of the heavy lifting, but really, you can play with the spices and change the entire flavor profile. Try curry powders and chili powders to spice things up a bit. 
  • Salt to taste – The salinity of canned beans varies greatly. I used a can of “no salt added” chickpeas, so I had to add a bit more salt to boost the flavor. If your canned beans are already salted, you might only need a tiny bit of salt. 

Fresh Ingredients:

  • Zucchini –  One of the most important ingredients in this recipe is the zucchini. Not only does it add bulk to the fritters, it also adds moisture and flavor. This recipe calls for a ½ of a zucchini, but you could easily use an entire one, and just increase the amount of oats. 
  • Onion –  Any color or variety will work in this recipe. In addition to adding a ton of flavor, the onion also adds a bit of moisture to these fritters. Not a fan of onion, leave it out.
  • Cilantro – If you’ve been around my channel for a while, you know I love cilantro. Any type of green element will work. Spinach, kale, celery leaves, green onion, parsley…    
  • Savoy cabbage –  I love what the savoy cabbage does for these fritters. You could easily use napa cabbage or butter lettuce, or even iceberg lettuce instead. Not concerned about your caloric or carb intake? Throw these on a bun or wrap them up in a tortilla or pita. 

Special Equipment (contains affiliate links)

  • Food Processor – A food processor makes easy work of creating oat flour, and for chopping the beans and veggies up into the perfect texture. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a grater to “process” the zucchini, and a potato masher to break down the beans. 

Variations:

  • Black Bean – I loved the chickpea version of these fritters so much that I decided to try making them with black beans. I followed the recipe exactly, but then I added a bit of chili powder, a pinch of cumin, and some red pepper flake for heat. Store-bought taco seasoning would also work great, just use that in place of all of the seasonings.

Vegan Air-Fried Chickpea and Zucchini Falafel

Vegan Air-Fried Chickpea and Zucchini Falafel
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
 

A can of chickpeas forms the base for these quick and easy air-fried falafel that require just a few pantry staples to make.

Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Lebanese
Servings: 8 falafel
Author: Michael Monson
Ingredients
For the Zucchini and Chickpea Falafel:
  • ¼ to ½ cup rolled oats or oat flour
  • ½ (about 100g) zucchini, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces, 1 ½ cups) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • savoy cabbage
For the Easy Tahini Sauce:
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tahini
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
To make the Air-Fried Zucchini And Chickpea Falafel:
  1. Begin by processing your rolled oats into oat flour. Set aside.
  2. Roughly chop your zucchini and onion, and place them into a clean food processor. Add the drained and rinse beans, and pulse the processor until you have a grainy mixture that’s more of a confetti than a puree.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chickpea mixture, seasonings, and cilantro. Taste for seasoning, and adjust to your liking. Add ¼ cup of oat flour, and stir to incorporate. If you can easily form the mixture into balls that hold their shape, then you’re good to go. Add more flour or a bit of water if they are too wet or too dry.
  4. Using your hands, or a ¼ cup scoop, form the mixture into 8 balls. Arrange the balls on a parchment lined baking sheet, and flatten them into ½ to ¾ inch discs.
  5. Air-fry or bake the fritters at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 to 25 minute, flipping halfway, or when the top is golden brown, and you’re actually able to flip the fritters. Continue to cook until the other side is golden.
To make the Easy Tahini Sauce:
  1. In a bowl, stir together the tahini and lemon juice. You’ll wind up with a thicker paste than what you started with. Add water, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. Season to taste.
To serve the Air-Fried Zucchini And Chickpea Falafel:
  1. Remove the savoy cabbage leaves, and carefully cut the thick rib off of the back.Place a Zucchini And Chickpea Falafel onto each leaf, and drizzle with Easy Tahini Sauce. Sliced tomatoes and red onion would also be a great accompaniment to these fritters.