My dinner guest cannot eat onions and I am making falafel, but I am afraid it will be dry without the onions. Is there anything I can substitute?

  • Posted by: stella
  • March 21, 2018


Lost_in_NYC March 22, 2018
2 members of my family don't eat onions (and garlic) for religious reasons so I've learned to eat and make dishes without both if its too much hassle. Don't worry though!

With that said, I definitely agree with CV that your best replacement would be to substitute with finely chopped peppers (red and green would be a nice mix) and you could also add in some jalapeño for a kick. Taim makes great harissa and green falafel varieties which I'm sure you can find the recipes to online and just omit the onions if they use. You can serve (pickled?) red onions on the side as an accompaniment if you feel your other guests will want it.

Mushrooms I think would lend too strong of a flavor that may not go over well.
702551 March 21, 2018
I would try a blend of two or more veggies. Carrots and celery would be easy replacements. While zucchini is a good idea, they are not yet in season. I would not hesitate to add a little turnip to the carrots and celery.

Another candidate ingredient would be mushrooms since they are mostly water and are frequently used in stuffings and fillings in many cuisines. Both fresh and rehydrated dried mushrooms could be used.

That leads us to peppers: again both fresh and rehydrated dried peppers could be included.

Lots of options here, it's really your choice on which direction you want the flavor profile to follow.

Best of luck.
AntoniaJames March 21, 2018
Try grating zuccini. It won't give you the flavor, but it certainly will provide moisture. I use grated zucchini in meatballs, by the way - a trick picked up from Diana Kennedy in one of her albondigas recipes. No bread crumbs or bread necessary. More info on that here ;o)
Smaug March 21, 2018
Thank you- I did that zucchini in meatballs thing a couple of times- likely from the same source, and then forgot it- I'm about due for some meatballs. As far as the falafel, not sure what the parameters of the dish are, but it seems like a lot of vegetables could fill the moisture problem- carrots (which, like zucchini, fulfill that function in cakes and breads) suggest themselves, but a lot of things could be used- celery, fennel, potato even- can hold a good hit of moisture.
Recommended by Food52