Looking for an easy dinner idea with falafel? This one pot recipe is perfectly simple but incredibly tasty! Premade falafel, beans, tomatoes, kale and a cheesy topping make for a comforting vegetarian traybake casserole that you will look forward to making again and again.
Introducing my Easiest No-Stress Falafel Dinner Plan
This is the kind of meal where, when you have it on the meal plan for the evening, the whole day just feels a little lighter. Because it’s so simple. Everything cooks in one pan, and there are lots of shortcuts you can use to keep it as effortless as possible, with minimal chopping.
Despite the simplicity, there is so much good flavor going on: juicy roasted tomatoes, creamy white beans, chewy kale, crispy falafel and stretchy gooey cheese! I make a simple tahini yogurt sauce to top it with, but you can use premade tzatziki if you wish. It is full of goodness and absolutely feels like a complete meal.
This recipe was inspired by a meatball bake recipe that was doing the rounds on Facebook. I loved the workflow and wanted to make a vegetarian version. It struck me that falafel would slot in beautifully for a kind of Italian / Middle Eastern fusion. Falafel is drier than meatballs and won’t leach any moisture or fat when it cooks, so I tweaked things a little to compensate – more tomatoes and cheese, lemon juice, sauce for topping… but although I’ve added a few extra elements to this recipe, it’s still a breeze to put together.
Ingredients, substitutions, and how to make it as easy as possible
- Falafel. Premade refrigerated falafel, or leftover homemade falafel, is the ticket here. I use the Cauldron brand. If yours is frozen, you’ll just need to cook it for a little bit to defrost it before adding it to the recipe.
- Cherry or baby plum tomatoes. In this recipe, I do find it better if you have the most flavorful tomatoes possible, but you can get away with the cheap winter tomatoes if it’s all you have access to.
- Garlic. Using pre chopped frozen garlic is my preference here, to keep the prep to a minimum.
- White beans. I use butter beans, but you can go any way you like with this. Chickpeas would be fine but a soft creamy bean feels best to me.
- Kale. Curly or lacinato (cavolo nero) will work equally well. I buy it bagged and pre chopped, but if I were using a fresh bunch, I would slice it off with scissors right over the pan. Such is my aversion to chopping things right now.
- Lemon. We’ll squeeze some over the kale and use the rest for wedges to serve.
- Cheese. Pre-grated bagged cheese is where it’s at. This type of cheese gives us an extra crispy topping and it also kind of shields our kale from the elements. Because bagged grated cheese has an anti-stick coating, it’s drier and weightier. It doesn’t slide off the kale and leave the leaves exposed to direct heat, which would singe them. In terms of cheese type, it doesn’t matter too much. A mozzarella / cheddar blend is my fave but it’s fine with any cheese.
- Toppings: fresh parsley and sliced chili are nice fresh toppings if you’ve got them available but they are totally optional.
Sauce Options: Homemade vs Premade
You don’t need any sauce, to be honest, as long as you have a good amount of tomatoes it will be pretty moist. But I have included a tahini yogurt sauce in the recipe because I find it quite dreamy, and it’s an easy one to make because you are only whisking things together: no blending or chopping.
An easier alternative would be a store bought tzatziki, hummus, baba ganoush or any other mezze style dip you enjoy.
A visual run through…
There is a full printable recipe card further down on the post, but just to give you an idea what to expect, here’s a little preview. As you can see, there’s not a lot to it!
Top Tip: Overlap your prep to make this ready faster
There’s no need to prep everything before you start cooking. Get the tomatoes roasting and prep the ingredients for the next step while they cook. Make the sauce and sort out the toppings once the final assembled bake is in the oven.
What kind of pan should I use?
Two options here:
- A rectangular roasting or casserole dish: 9×13 inch (23x33cm). Mine is an enamel roaster which I find heats up a little more quickly than a ceramic dish, but a ceramic or glass casserole dish would be fine.
- A round shallow casserole dish: 12 inch / 30cm. This is a common size for a large cast iron or enamelled cast iron skillet so feel free to use one of those, though it will cook a little slower.
These will give you more or less the same surface area of cooking space. A little bigger or smaller should be fine – this recipe is fairly forgiving.
Falafel Dinner Bake (One Pan!)
- 12 oz (350 g) cherry or baby plum tomatoes, approximate – a little more or less is fine
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic
- 14 oz (400 g) canned butter beans, drained
- 1 cup (70 g) kale, chopped
- 3 green onions (spring onions), sliced and divided into green and white
- ½ lemon
- 10-12 small premade falafel balls or patties
- 1.5 cups (170 g) grated cheese, pre-grated, bagged cheese is best here*
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro
Optional Tahini Yogurt Sauce**
- 4 tbsp Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tsp honey
- ¼ lemon, juiced
- 2 pinches ground cumin
Other Optional Toppings
- sliced chili
- lemon wedges
- Preheat your oven to 200C / 400F.
- Halve your cherry tomatoes and scatter across the baking tray with the garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste, and place in the oven for 10 minutes.12 oz cherry or baby plum tomatoes, 1 tbsp chopped garlic
- Remove from the oven and add the drained beans, kale and the white parts of the spring onion. Squeeze the 1/2 lemon over the top and mix through.14 oz canned butter beans, 1 cup kale, 3 green onions (spring onions), 1/2 lemon
- Add the falafel balls to the top and scatter the cheese around the falafel, covering the remainder of the exposed kale/tomato/bean mix. You may not use all of the cheese – it depends on your pan size and your falafel size – so just use what you need. You can brush the falafel with olive oil on the top if you like, to help it crisp up better, but this is optional.10-12 small premade falafel balls or patties, 1.5 cups grated cheese
- Place back in the oven and bake for another 15 minutes, until the falafel and cheese are both browned and crisp.
- While it bakes, if you're going to make the tahini yogurt sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl until smooth.4 tbsp Greek yogurt, 2 tbsp tahini, 1 tsp honey, 1/4 lemon, juiced, 2 pinches ground cumin
- Serve with the chopped parsley and your choice of additional toppings.2 tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro, sliced chili, lemon wedges