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These light and crispy Paleo Falafel taste deliciously authentic but are made with cauliflower instead of chickpeas.  It’s an easy dish, baked in the oven. Serve them with salad and Tahini Dressing for a fantastic meal. Paleo, low carb, vegetarian and Whole 30 compliant.

Paleo Falafel plate and sauce

Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern dish with a slightly crunchy texture and a rich, savory, spicy flavor. Traditionally it’s made with a mixture of chickpeas (or fava beans), flour, fresh herbs, and spices that are formed into a ball or patty and fried.  

As a teenager and young adult living in Greenwich Village my friends and I ate lots of falafel at Mamoun’s on MacDougal Street. It was a delicious, filling lunch or late night snack.  They were served in pita bread layered with hummus,  lettuce, tomatoes, and topped with tahini sauce.

I started eating falafel when the original Mamoun’s Falafel opened in 1971. Those were my collage days at NYU. 

Paleo Falafel plate with salad

Now many years later, I wanted to recreate that wonderful dish and have it be paleo, without beans.

Since many of us don’t include chickpeas in our diet, I created these falafel with cauliflower. They still have authentic flavors of cumin, coriander and cilantro that are essential. But are full of vegetables, easy to digest and super healthy. 

Instead of frying I bake them in the oven and they still come out beautifully crisp.  The distinct aroma reminds me of being at Mamoun’s. 

They’re gluten free, grain free, veggie packed and paleo. Children and adults love them.

These yummy little bites are easy to make in a food processor. The machine does all the chopping.

Start by processing the cauliflower until is finely chopped.  Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Without cleaning out your food processor, add the onion, garlic, cilantro and parsley. Process until finely chopped.

Add the cauliflower back in, along with the spices, egg, almond flour and arrowroot

Process for a few seconds until just combined. 

To bake the falafel, simply roll the falafel dough into balls about the size of a golf ball. It’s about 2 tablespoons. I use a cookie scoop and mound the batter, pressing it into a ball.

Place on rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It’s good to brush them with a little avocado oil to keep them moist. 

Then bake at 400° for 40 minutes, turning the the falafel halfway through baking.

I like to serve them on salad greens with tomato and Tahini Dressing.  It’s very authentic and goes perfectly with the falafel. 

I add a few olives and slices of watermelon radishes from my garden to the salad along with cilantro. But they are optional.  

Use the dressing for the salad and drizzle more onto the falafel.  Serve additional dressing on the side.

These paleo, bean free, falafel bites are so good. The herbs and spices give them an authentic taste and the texture is fantastic as well.

They are a great vegetarian lunch, dinner or enjoy as a snack, straight from the fridge.

Paleo Falafel with salad olives and sauce

If you like this recipe try these other delicious bites for your salad:

Crispy Vegetable Fritters (paleo or vegan)

Cauliflower Bites (keto, vegetarian)

Baba Ganoush

If you give this recipe a try, please let us know what you think! Give it some stars or leave a comment. ♥

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Paleo Falafel (Bean Free, Keto)

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  • Author: Ingrid DeHart
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


These light and crispy Paleo Falafel taste deliciously authentic but are made with cauliflower instead of chickpeas. An easy dish baked in the oven.



Cauliflower Falafel

  • 2 1/2 cups processed cauliflower, about 1/2 medium head
  • 1/4 cup onion, coarsely chopped*
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped*
  • 3/4 cup packed fresh parsley, coarsely chopped*
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped*
  • 12 teaspoons ground coriander*
  • 24 teaspoons ground cumin*
  • 3/4 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 large pastured egg
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour
  • Avocado oil for brushing

Tahini Dressing

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic Salt
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • ½ cup water, more if necessary

For Serving

  • Salad greens
  • Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Olives (optional)
  • Radishes (optional)
  • Cilantro leaves (optional)




Cauliflower Falafel

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Break the cauliflower into florets and place into your food processor, process into fine rice texture. Scrape out into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Without cleaning out your food processor, add the onion, garlic, and parsley. Process until finely chopped.
  4. Add the cauliflower back in, along with the remaining falafel ingredients. Process for a few seconds until just combined.
  5. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, with about 2 tablespoons of mixture, form the mixture into 16-18 round balls, and place on baking sheet.
  6. Use a pastry brush and brush each falafel with oil or spray if you have an oil sprayer.
  7. Cook for 20 minutes on 400°F, then turn over and cook for another 20 minutes until nicely brown.
  8. While the falafel are cooking make the Tahini Dressing.
  9. To serve: Toss greens and tomatoes with a little dressing. Put onto a plate, top with  falafel, and optional ingredients. Drizzle falafel with tahini dressing.
  10. Served extra dressing on the side.

Tahini Dressing

  1. Add tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt to a medium mixing bowl. Whisk with a fork to combine.
  2. Slowly add water until creamy and pourable. The mixture may seize up and thicken at first, but continue adding water, a little at a time, whisking until creamy and smooth.
  3. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lemon juice for acidity or salt to taste. Set aside.
  4. Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator up to 5-7 days.


I like lots of spice and use the full amount, but if you like less spice start with the lesser amount and taste it before forming into balls. Add more if desired, remember it will be milder after cooking.

You don’t have to coarsely chop the onions, garlic and herbs but it makes it easier to measure.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish, Salad, Appetizer
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Paleo, Gluten-Free, Bean Free, Vegetarian, Keto, Whole30











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