Falafel is typically made from chickpeas and an assortment of other ingredients. The core ingredients that go into falafel are gluten-free, but every restaurant will have its own recipe.
Basically, falafel “can” be made as a gluten-free food. With a gluten-free recipe for falafel, your ingredients would look like this: chickpeas, chickpea flower, garlic, onion, baking soda, parsley, cumin, coriander, other spices, salt, pepper and oil.
Behold, though: the same recipe can easily have “all-purpose wheat flour” as one of the key ingredients. Regular flour is what would make falafel less likely to fall apart, so it is common.
This means that falafel can be made as a gluten-free food, or a completely non-gluten-free food. The main answer is that it will depend.
During the times I’ve been in Israel, eating at restaurants and local shops, there have sometimes been dedicated fryers for falafel, but other times, there’s no such thing.
This goes for Mediterranean restaurants anywhere in the world: sometimes they are able to have a dedicated fryer if they are making falafel in large volumes, and it would only be gluten-free then, if the recipe did not have any flour or gluten products in it.
Sometimes you can find a restaurant with a menu labeled with gluten-free items, or, you can find a restaurant that focuses on a wide array of allergen labelling for customers with allergies. It will depend if you’re in a major city, or in a country far away, or some other things.
Falafel can be gluten-free if made without flour. It would be doubly gluten-free (and would only be safe for celiacs) if it was fried in a dedicated fryer that did not have any gluten-containing products causing cross-contamination.
If you’d like to make falafel for someone on a gluten-free diet, this can be done! You can buy chickpeas, and all the other ingredients, or a gluten-free falafel mix. Then, make sure to fry the falafel in oil that has not been used previously for any foods with gluten. Or, you can easily bake falafel in the oven, and it is healthier!