Falafel comes from the Arabic word “falāfil,” and is the plural form of “filfil,” meaning pepper. It is a common food enjoyed throughout the Middle East. Falafels are widely available throughout the world and are a good replacement for meat. But is falafel healthy?
Falafel is made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or a combination of the two. It is rolled together into a ball. Falafel balls are deep-fried, which gives them a nice and crunchy taste. Falafels are also sandwiched in a pita bread with some hummus, salad, pickles, hot sauce, and topped with a drizzle of tahini sauce.
Let’s take a closer look at falafel nutritional facts to see if it’s a healthy food option.
Is Falafel Healthy?
A falafel basically consists of chickpeas, which is a healthy source of protein and fiber. They have a low glycemic index, which means that they don’t raise the blood sugar levels. A single falafel patty has 57 calories. It has two grams of proteins, and provides three percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium. It has a good amount of potassium, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and also contains 50 milligrams of sodium. The deep-fried balls have three grams of total fat.
Even if the calorie content doesn’t look too high, you need to keep in mind that around four to five falafels when used in wraps will boost up the calories. The calorie content of falafel wraps or sandwiches increases tremendously when loaded with hummus, tahini, sauces, and pita-bread. A single falafel wrap consists of more than 330 calories.
Is Falafel Vegan?
Falafel doesn’t contain meat, dairy, or any other animal products, and have become a popular food choice among vegetarians and vegans. Falafels are made of soaked and mashed chickpeas combined with onions, bread crumbs, and spices. They are then shaped into small balls and deep-fried. Their meat-like texture provides a dense heartiness like that of a meatball, and are truly a comfort food.
Of course, deep-fried foods are definitely not healthy for you, but they can be a good treat once a while. Most of you may still be wondering, is falafel healthy? Well, there is a way to make healthy falafels at home.
If you want to make healthy falafels, you can replace the white pita with a whole-grain pita. Add healthy vegetables such as chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, beets, spinach, and eggplant. You can also have a side of sweet potato. The veggies will add nice texture and extra crunch.
You can skip the tahini sauce, and instead, add water to the hummus to make it creamy and adjust the consistency. You can also bake the falafels instead of deep-frying them. They will still be crispy, so you can enjoy these home-made falafels in a guilt-free way.
“Falafel Wrap,” Eat This Much; https://www.eatthismuch.com/food/view/falafel-wrap,135843/, last accessed March 7, 2017.
“Falafel, home-prepared, Nutrition Facts & Calories,” SELF NutritionData; http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4404/2, last accessed March 7, 2017