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Low FODMAP falafel (gluten free, baked or fried)

I have been vegetarian or pescatarian for my whole adult life, so I am no stranger to falafel. Thought (with some debate) to originate in Egypt, modern felafel is made from soaked chickpeas (although it was originally made with fava beans). As most of us with FODMAP constraints know, soaked chickpeas are off limits on the FODMAP diet (and fava beans are even more off limit!). To ensure we all get our falafel fix, I have come up with this low FODMAP falafel recipe that tweaks the dish for the low FODMAP diet.

A quick note, before we dive in: my intention in tweaking recipes from other cultures is never to bastardise a cuisine or to cause any offence. My aim for this website is simply to provide delicious recipes for people who have many dietary constraints at once. Any tweaks I make are solely for FODMAP purposes.

An aerial image of low FODMAP falafel on a dark grey platter atop a red grey backdrop. The falafel are surrounded by a small plate of low FODMAP tzatziki, two bowls of pickled red onions and a two sunlit glasses of water.

Low FODMAP falafel

So, this low FODMAP falafel recipe is absolutely not traditional. Soaked chickpeas don’t even have an entry on the Monash FODMAP app. Soaked, boiled and drained chickpeas are low FODMAP in 29g (approximately 1 1/2 tablespoon) serves. So, either of these options would make for a very small or non existent serve of falafel.

To further complicate the issue, chickpea flour (often used to form a batter consistency) is high FODMAP in all serves. Not ideal!

So, how does one make a low FODMAP falafel? First, we use canned chickpeas. Canned chickpeas are low FODMAP in 42g serves per person, which makes them a lower FODMAP option.

Second, we use edamame beans! Absolutely not traditional to falafel, these neutrally flavoured beans are low FODMAP in 90g serves. However, they don’t contain moderate amounts of fructan until they exceed 210g serves per person, which makes them an excellent choice for a falafel.

To substitute the chickpea flour, we’re using buckwheat flour (I promise you can’t taste it!). Buckwheat has elasticity that no other gluten free flour has. This helps bind the falafel together.

Fresh flat leaf parsley and coriander add a herbaceous element and cumin adds flavour. That’s it! An easy and delicious gluten free, low FODMAP falafel recipe.

A macro overhead image of low FODMAP fried falafel

FODMAP notes

First, let’s discuss the beans. Canned, drained and rinsed chickpeas are low FODMAP in 42g serves per person. 125g of canned chickpeas divided by 10 falafels gives us a total of approximately 12.5g chickpeas per falafel.

This means you can eat 3 falafels per serve and remain under a low FODMAP threshold for GOS. It is worth noting that chickpeas don’t contain moderate amounts of GOS until they exceed 84g per serving. This suggests that you might be able to eat up to 6 falafel and remain under a low GOS threshold.

Next, the edamame. Edamame are low FODMAP in 90g serves. However, they don’t contain moderate serves of fructans until they exceed 210g per serve (which is nearly the entire edamame content of this recipe).

If you want to remain under the Monash lowest FODMAP threshold for edamame, the following applies. 125g edamame divided by 10 falafels gives us a total of approximately 12.5g edamame per falafel. This means you can eat around 7 falafel and remain under the low fructan threshold. This math doesn’t take into account the GOS from the chickpeas, though. I recommend capping a serving size 3 and assessing your tolerance from there.

If you make a completely edamame version, you can still eat 3 1/2 falafel per serve and remain under the lowest FODMAP threshold. However, you can also experiment with eating more (remember, the moderate threshold for edamame is 210g). If each falafel contains 25g of edamame (250g total edamame divided by 10 falafel) you could eat up to 8 felafel and consume 200g of edamame, pending your own tolerance.

An aerial image of a low FODMAP falafel bowl filled with edamame falafel, tomatoes, cucumber, pickled red onion, feta, low FODMAP hummus and low FODMAP tzatziki.

Why half chickpea and half edamame?

I chose this combination for a number of reasons. Firstly, I started with chickpea as a nod to the modern falafel. I didn’t want to create something so far off the map of what falafel is supposed to be. Upon researching, though, I learned that falafel used to be made with fava beans (broad beans) which are similar in taste, texture and colour to edamame. This is why there is an option to make edamame only falafel (more on that below).

Secondly, I chose to split the legume content to spread the FODMAP load between two FODMAPs – the GOS in chickpeas and the fructans in edamame.

Thirdly, I needed a firmer, drier variety of bean to ensure the falafel weren’t soggy inside. Edamame is the only low FODMAP legume that isn’t canned.

Finally, the colour! I wanted to make falafel that were bright green inside. Herbs help, but the lovely colour of edamame is really what gives them a green interior.

A macro image of a bright green uncooked falafel

Can these low FODMAP falafel be baked and fried?

Yes! I have tested them both ways and they worked well. Oven baked are a touch drier than shallow fried, but they still retain internal moisture either way.

The instructions for both methods of cooking your falafel are in the recipe card.

In terms of which I prefer: to me, shallow fried felafel are the most authentic tasting version. The shell of the falafel is deliciously crispy without being dry. They also look the best (to me).

With that said, shallow frying can be intimidating, make sure your house smell of smoke, set off the fire alarm (just me?) etc. There are pros and cons to both, so choose what works for you!

An aerial image of low FODMAP falafel on a dark grey platter atop an olive green backdrop. The falafel are surrounded by a small plate of low FODMAP tzatziki, two bowls of pickled red onions and a two sunlit glasses of water.

Can I use all edamame beans in these falafel?

Yes, you can.

Edamame are low FODMAP in 90g serves per person. If the recipe uses 250g of edamame beans, each felafel contains around 20-25g edamame. This means you could safely eat 3-4 felafel per serve.

With that said, edamame don’t contain moderate amounts of fructans until they exceed 210g per serve. This means that a low FODMAP serving size is likely higher than 3-4 falafel when it comes to using all edamame beans.

Luckily, tahini contains GOS as it’s primary FODMAP. This means you can serve your edamame falafel with a tahini lemon sauce (as in the upcoming falafel bowl recipe).

The only thing left to do is serve your falafel with low fructan accompaniments. In terms of the pictured falafel bowl, this includes feta, a low FODMAP serve of pickled onion (whose primary FODMAP is fructose), cucumber, a small amount of tomato and some olives. You can bulk it out further with a quinoa tabbouleh (recipe coming soon) or just plain cooked quinoa.

A macro image of edamame beans and herbs in a mini food processor against a grey backdrop

Tips for your low FODMAP falafel

  • The ideal texture of your falafel mixture is cohesive with small chunks – not fully blended to the point of having no texture. I use a mini KitchenAid food processor that I generally grind curry pastes in. You could also try putting your ingredients in a tall jar and using an immersion blender to blend.
  • This falafel mixture becomes too salty very quickly. This is why I recommend adding it to taste after blending.
  • The chickpea and edamame filling has a more ‘creamy’ texture whereas the edamame only version has a crunchier inner texture.
  • This recipe makes 10 small falafel that are 1 Australian tablespoon (4 teaspoons elsewhere) each. If you make them bigger you will need to calculate the FODMAP content yourself.
  • In Australia, edamame are generally sold frozen in the Pan Asian section of major supermarkets. For the uninitiated: look for the shelled beans rather than those in pods. The beans need to be shelled from the pods and it takes a good while to get 125g of beans. Do not use the pods in this recipe – beans only. If you buy unshelled edamame, weigh them after shelling them and discard the pods.
A comparison image of a baked falafel and a fried falafel. The baked version is a bright green and the fried version has that classic golden brown crust.
A comparison of the colour of baked falafel (left) vs fried falafel (right)

More low FODMAP bean recipes

A macro overhead image of low FODMAP fried Falafel. The falafel are arranged in a tight knit pattern and the bottom left falafel is split open, revealing the bright green inside.

Low FODMAP falafel (vegan, gluten free)

Gluten free, nut free, egg free, vegan
*Measures are in Australian measures. Use gram and ml for international accuracy.
Be the first to rate this recipe
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course, Snack
Cuisine Food Intolerance Friendly
Servings 10 small falafel


  • 125 g canned chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 125 g edamame beans (or 250g edamame beans for the edamame only version)
  • 50 g coriander (1/2 large bunch)
  • 50 g flat leaf parsley (1/2 large bunch)
  • 40 ml (2 tablespoons)* olive oil
  • 4-5 spring onion greens chopped
  • 1-2 pickled garlic cloves (optional, see notes)
  • 3-4 + tsp cumin to your tastes (7.5-10g+)
  • 40 g+ light buckwheat flour
  • 5 g (1 tsp)* baking powder (gluten free if necessary)
  • 2-4 g fine table salt (important, see notes) to your tastes
  • Pepper to your tastes
  • Optional: 1 tablespoons sesame seeds


To make the falafel:

  • Place your beans, herbs, oil, spring onion greens and (optional) pickled garlic in a food processor and blitz until a paste with very small chunks forms. It won’t hold together just yet – the buckwheat will do that.
  • If you are making the edamame version, you may need to add up to 60ml (1/4 cup) water to help with blending. Try to add it sparingly and only as needed.
  • Once you are happy with the consistency, pour the mixture into a small mixing bowl.
  • Add the cumin, buckwheat flour and baking powder and stir to combine. The mixture should hold together and be the right consistency to make balls of falafel with your hands. If it doesn't, add 5-10g extra buckwheat flour (be sparing as too much flour will make them pasty and dry).
  • Add the salt sparsely, carefully and to taste. I find this falafel mixture becomes too salty very easily (coming from someone who loves salt). I would recommend adding 1/8 or ¼ of a teaspoon, mixing thoroughly and tasting. If it tastes bland and like nothing, add a little more salt. If it tastes full flavoured, stop adding more salt. Add pepper to your tastes.
  • Use oiled hands to form the mixture into 10 X 1 tablespoon sized balls. Note: 1 Australian tablespoon is 4 teaspoons elsewhere.

To shallow fry:

  • Fill a small, sturdy saucepan with enough neutral high smoke point oil (I used vegetable) to cover the bottom half of one felafel. Preheat it over your smallest burner on a high flame for approximately 5 minutes.
  • Once it is very thoroughly heated, add one falafel into the oil. It should form a ring of vigorous bubbles all around the falafel. If it doesn’t bubble like this or if the falafel gets stuck, your oil is not hot enough. The falafel won’t stick at all when cooked in sufficiently preheated oil. Stop and allow the oil to heat for another few minutes before trying again.
  • Cook the falafel for around 30 seconds – 1 minute or until the bottom half is golden brown. Use tongs to flip the falafel and cook on the other side. Transfer to a cooling rack and repeat with the remaining falafels.

To bake:

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  • Drizzle about ½ teaspoon olive oil on your hands every time you shape a falafel. Arrange them on the baking tray then bake for 20 minutes. They won’t be golden brown all over like the fried version. However, I have found that baking the falafel for longer creates dry falafel.

To finish:

  • Serve the falafel with whatever you’d like (some suggestions in the body of post). Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a number of days. They can also be frozen and defrosted.


  • I have written extensively in the body of post concerning the FODMAP content and the option to use all edamame vs half chickpea and half edamame.
  • This falafel mixture can become too salty very easily. I highly recommend adding it to taste and sparingly.
  • Pickled garlic is a new low FODMAP ingredient. There are FODMAP notes in the body of the post; I have a recipe for low FODMAP pickled garlic here. 
  • If you use the chickpea and edamame mixture, 3 falafel is a low FODMAP. 
  • If you use the edamame only mixture, you can eat 3-4 falafel and possibly more pending your fructose tolerance. See the body of the post for more details.
Keyword edamame falafel, gluten free falafel, Low FODMAP falafel
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