Falafels are so full of flavorful, easy to customize and packed with nutrition. Paired with this dairy-free cucumber dipping sauce, they are not only delicious but a well-rounded, healthy meal or snack.
Classic cucumber dipping sauces use yogurt as a base. Our recipe uses coconut cream instead to accommodate those living a dairy-free life. There’s no need to go searching high and low for a can of “coconut cream.” Simply scoop the thick cream from the top of a can or coconut milk. Normally, a natural separation happens between the watery and fatty parts of the coconut milk at room temperature but if you want to ensure a good separation, pop your coconut milk into the refrigerator until cool.
We love Native Forest Organic Unsweetened Simple Coconut Milk. One quick glance at the ingredient list and you’ll see why. There is just one ingredient: coconut milk. Most of the coconut milks you’ll find on the shelves have additives and emulsifiers, like guar gum, but Native Forest has specially packed their “simple” version with no additives. No matter which brand you choose, be sure to pick the unsweetened version to avoid added sugars.
Baked Falafels with Cucumber Dipping Sauce
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 10-12 falafels 1x
3/4 cup Eden Organic Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
2 Tbsp mint
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/3 cup Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk, top cream only
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and small diced
1 lemon, juiced and zested, divided
1 Tbsp dill, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F
- In a food processor, pulse chickpeas, 1/2 lemon juice, 1/2 lemon zest, onion, cilantro, mint, garlic, cumin, paprika and salt and pepper to taste until well incorporated but still a bit chunky
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or silpat
- Scoop 1/4 cup of batter at a time onto prepared baking sheet then bake 30-35 minutes, turning halfway
- In a bowl, whisk together coconut cream, 1 Tbsp water, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste
- Transfer mixture to a bowl, then stir in cucumber, dill and lemon zest
- Enjoy falafels with cucumber dipping sauce
- Serving Size: 1/2 of recipe
- Calories: 197.5
- Sugar: 3.6
- Sodium: 38.9
- Fat: 8.1
- Saturated Fat: 1.1
- Unsaturated Fat: 0.19
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 25
- Fiber: 5.2
- Protein: 6.6
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: dairy free, egg free, gluten free, grain free, oil free, soy free, vegan
Outdated research indicated that the fat from coconut contribute to risk factors for heart disease. However, researchers in one study discovered something they dubbed the “Polynesian paradox,” which found that high fat coconut intake seemed to do contrary to what researched hypothesized: rather than increasing heart disease risk factors, the coconut fat seemed to provide protection against these risk factors in Polynesians (R).
A study that sought to further understand this paradox stumbled upon yet another unexpected result: a diet rich in coconut milk not only significantly decreased “bad” LDL cholesterol, but also significantly increased “good” HDL cholesterol.
The reason behind this may be the vilifying of all saturated fats, rather than looking at each composition as its own entity. All saturated fats are not the same in their potential for metabolic formation fo fat. Longer chains are well proven to have a high potential, but medium chain fatty acids, such as those found in coconut milk, are thought to be neutral (R).
The distinction between long chain and medium chain fatty acids is not as clear cut as one might think. While some schools of thought define them strictly based on the chain length of a fatty acid, others classify them based on the effects of each fatty acid. The most abundant “long chain” fatty acid in coconut milk is lauric acid, which toes the line between long and medium chain, depending on your school of thought (R).
The heart healthy benefits of the coconut milk are further supported by the nutritional composition of chickpeas. Regular chickpea consumption has been linked to a diet higher in dietary fiber, polyunsaturated fats, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium and iron. Chickpeas have been indicated as having a protective effect against heart disease, effectively reducing risk-associated markers for cardiovascular disease (R).
If you’re diet allows for dairy, go for some organic whole-milk Greek yogurt in lieu of the coconut cream if you’d like. You can also swap out the legume in this recipe to easily make these black bean or pinto bean falafels. And as always, play with spices and herbs to find new flavors that fit your preferences.
If you’re sensitive to lectin in legumes, try pressure cooking them first. This will change the texture of the beans a bit but should still result in a delicious falafel.
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