This recipe is the Jack Jack Parr (The Incredibles, I hope you know) of falafels: swap in any beans, grains, nuts/seeds or spices- it can be anything!  I’ve tried it with quinoa and sunflower seeds, then another time when all hope seemed lost and I had neither, brown rice and toasted coconut saved it.  And then toppings are unlimited!  I made some quick pickles, pineapple chutney with red onion and red pepper, and cashew mustard cream when I had some time.  Guacamole and salsa are always good too.  What can’t this falafel do?!?

The real hero is Minimalist Baker, for the recipe guidance and method of baking beans for 15 beforehand for a nice crisp.  Bringing your water/stock to a boil with the grain yields a creamy texture perfect for binding, too.  Takeaway: beans and grains have superpowers

Baked black bean falafels

(Serves 3-4)

1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, drained & rinsed

1 cup cooked & cooled quinoa (or other grain)

1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds (roasted at 375 for 6 min, check every 2)

2 Tablespoons tahini

2 Tablespoons coconut aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)

4 cloves of garlic, sliced

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp chipotle chili pepper

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp sea salt (optional)



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  If starting with an uncooked grain, add 1 cup of it to a large bowl. Fill the bowl with water and swish your hand around, then drain with a fine mesh strainer.  Do this three times to remove the dust
  2. Add the rinsed grain to a small pot and turn the heat to medium low. Toss with a wooden spoon or spatula until dry and it has a nutty aroma
  3. Add 2 cups of water to the pot if using quinoa, or 1 3/4 cup for brown rice.  Add 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover and bring to a boil
  4. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes for quinoa, 40-45 minutes for brown rice, or until all water is absorbed, leaving the lid slightly ajar to let steam release gently
  5. While waiting, bake the beans on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 15 minutes, until beans are dry and start to crack.  Remove beans and increase oven temp to 375 F
  6. Spread sunflower seeds on an unlined baking sheet and roast for about 6 minutes, checking often to prevent burning
  7. Add beans and seeds to a food processor and pulse to combine
  8. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to form a dough, keeping some seeds whole and beans intact
  9. Scoop about 2 Tablespoons of the mixture and carefully shape into disks, making 8-9 patties
  10. Bake on a lined baking sheet for 15 minutes, then flip with a spatula and cook for another 15 minutes, or until brown & crispy on both sides
  11. Advice from Minimalist Baker: store leftovers covered in fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze before baking or once baked and cooled in an airtight container for up to a month, reheating in the oven at 375 F

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