Rainbow Falafel

5 from 21 votes
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This rainbow falafel 5 ways is a delightful mix of colors and flavors, quick to prepare, and perfect for any occasion.

Differently colored homemade falafel

I have already shared a post about making traditional falafel with a list of ways to serve them as well as tips for cooking them. I used a mixture of broad beans alongside chickpeas. However, this updated, modern version has a simple chickpea-only base but still tastes absolutely delicious! I decided to omit the broad beans because of the other vegetables we’ll be adding to create the gorgeous rainbow colors, so there’s no need for a complicated base mix.

With just a single ingredient addition, this falafel mix can go from normal to rainbow-tastic – a true show-stopper and perfect for entertaining! One baked purple potato turns the mix a beautiful shade of purple; beetroot creates a lovely pink, butternut squash (and possibly turmeric) for a golden orange; and a mixture of cilantro and parsley for a gorgeous green.

Differently colored homemade falafel

Watch the rainbow falafel video

Ingredients

Ingredients for rainbow falafel

Ingredients for the falafel base:

  • Pre-soaked chickpeas
  • Small red onions
  • Garlic
  • Falafel spice: cumin, black pepper, ground coriander, red chili powder, cinnamon (optional)
  • Salt

For different colors/flavors:

  • Yellow: Use the base mixture without additional ingredients.
  • Green: Add a small bunch of cilantro; optionally, include some parsley.
  • Purple: Use baked purple potato.
  • Orange: Use baked butternut squash; optionally, add a pinch of turmeric.
  • Red: Use beetroot.

For frying:

  • Baking powder
  • Sunflower oil (enough to fill up your saucepan)

How to make rainbow falafel

Prepare the Falafel Base: Start by soaking chickpeas in cold water overnight. The following day, thoroughly drain and rinse them. Divide the chickpeas into five bowls to make the different falafel colors.

Prepare the color ingredients: Season and bake butternut squash and pierce purple potatoes before baking.

For each falafel color—yellow, green, purple, orange, red/pink—blend the base mixture of chickpeas (1.5 cups), onion (1 small), garlic (1 clove), falafel spice, and salt with the specific color ingredient. Use baked butternut squash for orange, baked purple potato for purple, coriander (and optionally parsley) for green, and beetroot for red/pink. Blend until smooth

Steps for preparing different batches of ingredients for rainbow falafel

Fry the Falafels: When you are ready to fry the vegan falafels, add ½ tsp of baking powder to each bowl of falafel mixture and mix well. The baking powder should only be added at the last moment before frying. This adds an “airiness” to the mix that is needed for the perfect texture.

Heat up a few inches of sunflower oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it bubbles softly. Using a falafel scoop or a spoon/fork, form the falafel balls/patties and carefully dip them in the hot oil.

Fry the falafels for 3-4 minutes, then carefully turn them over. The falafels are ready when they become golden-brown in color. Lay the fried falafels on a piece of paper towel or in a colander to drain any excess cooking oil, although there shouldn’t be much!

Steps for frying falafel in oil

Serve rainbow falafel on a plate with crunchy vegetables, pickles, and tahini sauce for dipping. Or, stuff them into a sandwich pocket, with a drizzle of tahini sauce and serve with a side of Tabbouleh salad for a fresh take.

Rainbow falafel served with garlic yogurt sauce and veggies

Recipe tips

  • Soaking Chickpeas: Although you can use canned chickpeas, I prefer to use fresh ones that have been soaked overnight for the best taste and texture.
  • Adjusting Texture: If the falafel mix is too crumbly, add a tiny bit of water to form a paste.
  • Single Color/Flavor: If you want to make a single color/flavor, simply adjust the recipe accordingly.
  • Preparation and Storage: These vegan falafels can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge/freezer. If freezing the paste, then add the baking powder to the mix once thawed and about to fry.

If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Rainbow Falafel

5 from 21 votes
By: Samira
This rainbow falafel 5 ways is a delightful mix of colors and flavors, quick to prepare, and perfect for any occasion.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 24 falafels

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

For the falafel base

  • 7.5 cups pre-soaked chickpeas divided into 5 bowls (1.5 cups each)
  • 5 small red onions
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp falafel spice ½ tsp cumin, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp ground coriander, ½ tsp red chili powder, 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional) – divided into 5 for each bowl
  • 2.5 tsp salt ½ tsp per bowl

For the different colors

  • for green: a small bunch of coriander; optional – some parsley
  • for purple: 1 baked purple potato
  • for orange: 1/2 baked butternut squash; optional – a pinch of turmeric
  • for red: 1 large beetroot

For frying

  • 2.5 tsp baking powder ½ tsp for each color
  • sunflower oil enough to fill up your saucepan

Instructions 

Prep the ingredients

  • Wash the chickpeas and then soak them in cold water overnight.
  • Drain and rinse well, when ready to proceed with the falafel recipe.
  • Separate them into 5 bowls – one bowl for each color.
  • Prepare the baked vegetables
    – Butternut squash: Slice and de-seed, chop into sections, brush lightly with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven at 325ºF/170°C fan assisted for about 25-30 minutes. 
    – Purple potatoes: Pierce them a few times with a fork and bake alongside the squash.
  • To make the yellow falafel, mix the base ingredients: 1.5 cups of chickpeas, 1 small onion, 1 garlic clove, ½ tsp falafel spice, and a pinch of salt. Blend them in a food processor/blender until you obtain a smooth uniform mixture. 
  • To make the green falafel, mix the base ingredients with a small bunch of cilantro and, optionally, some parsley. Blend in a food processor until you obtain a smooth, uniform mixture.
  • To make the purple falafel, mix the base ingredients with the baked purple potato. Blend until a smooth, uniform mixture is obtained.
  • To make the orange falafel, mix the base ingredients with half of the baked butternut squash and blend till smooth.
  • To make the red/pink falafel, mix the base ingredients with a large beetroot and blend till smooth.

Fry the falafel

  • When you are ready to fry the vegan falafels, add ½ tsp baking powder to each bowl and mix well. The baking powder should only be added at the last moment before frying.
  • Heat up a few inches of sunflower oil in a saucepan until it bubbles softly. Using a falafel scoop or a spoon/fork, form the falafel patties by hand and carefully dip them in the hot oil.
  • After 3-4 minutes, carefully turn them over. The falafels are ready when they become golden-brown in color. 
  • Lay on a piece of paper towel or in a colander to drain any excess cooking oil, although there shouldn't be much! 
  • Serve these 5-way falafels with rainbow veggies, pita bread, and tahini dip as part of a mezze platter. It's great for dinner parties!

Video

Notes

Soaking Chickpeas: Although you can use canned chickpeas, I prefer to use fresh ones that have been soaked overnight for the best taste and texture.
Adjusting Texture: If the falafel mix is too crumbly, add a tiny bit of water to form a paste.
Check the blog post for more tips! 
Course: Main
Cuisine: Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Freezer friendly: 3 Months (uncooked)
Shelf life: 4 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 1Falafel, Calories: 113kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 272mg, Potassium: 202mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 14IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 187mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 21 votes (21 ratings without comment)

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18 Comments

  1. Kathrine says:

    Hi
    The recipe sounds great, but of many cups or gram chickpeas do you use before soaking? I assume presoaked means that will be 7.5 cups when they have been soaked for 12 hours? but how do i know how many to actually soak?

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Kathrine,
      Chickpeas expand 2-3 times their size, so you’d need 3 to 4 cups of dried chickpeas (and you’ll probably have some leftover). I always soak way more than needed as I use the chickpeas for other recipes too 🙂

  2. Cees Corbijn says:

    Tipje
    Gekookte kikkererwten; Basis voor humus / hoemoes
    Ongekookt maar geweekte kikkererwten; basis voor falafel

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi,
      I think you are saying
      – boiled chickpeas for hummus
      – uncooked but soaked chickpeas for falafel.
      And that’s right 🙂

  3. April says:

    Hi! Any purple alternatives? It might be hard to get purple potato from where I am. Thank you.

    1. Samira @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi, you can use roasted purple cabbage, please check my post about the rainbow hummus, that uses purple cabbage!

  4. Matt says:

    Have you attempted to make these with cooked chickpeas? I had already cooked mine before reading the full recipe (I soak and then sprout my dried beans before cooking) and had trouble getting them to stay together and cook in the oil. Eventually, I pulled them from the pot and baked them. The flavor was great but consistency not quite there. Note that I didn’t add anything for color so this was just chickpeas and seasoning. Thanks!

    1. AlphaFoodie says:

      Thank you for your comment. I tend to use just soaked because I think it has the superior texture, for sure. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it with the cooked chickpeas too though 🙂

  5. Nihan says:

    Hi! Thank you for amazing receipe 🙂 Is the beetroot raw? And do you have a galafel mixed spices receipe? thank you in advance.

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Nihan,
      The beetroot is raw, yes.
      For a falafel spice mix – you can make it using: 1 part coriander powder, 1/2 part cumin powder, 1/4 part black pepper, 1/4 part red chili powder, 1/4 part cinnamon (optional).
      I hope this helps.

  6. Megan says:

    These look delicious! So you just soak the dry chickpeas overnight before you blend them? You don’t need to boil them before making the falafel mixture?

    1. Alpha Foodie says:

      Hi Megan,
      Thanks very much. You only need to soak the chickpeas overnight. No boiling is required to make traditional falafel. Also presoaked chickpeas are a lot better than canned ones and it makes a big difference between a great Falafel recipe and not so great one. Hope that helps 🙂

  7. Ahlam Al Balushi says:

    Thank you very much for your account i love everything you do it.
    have a question do you have any courses or anything I would like to learn more from you

    1. Alpha Foodie says:

      Thank you so much! I don’t have any workshops planned at the moment, although I have done some in the past. Let me know what it is you’d be interested in learning and I’ll make note 🙂

  8. Sande says:

    These look delicious and almost too pretty to eat. Should the oil be 350 degrees to fry them?

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Sande,
      Yes, the oil needs to be at about 350ºF – it needs to be bubbling softly.

      1. Rhiana says:

        Hi There

        Do you think you’d be able to bake these rather than fry?

        Looking forward to giving them a go 🙂

      2. AlphaFoodie Support says:

        Yes, you definitely can do that. Here is my method for healthy baked falafels, so you could cook these in a similar way. I hope you enjoy <3