Falafel is an irresistibly tasty treat made of chickpeas (also referred to as broad beans), herbs, and other flavorings fried or baked into an irresistibly crunchy ball that makes an ideal vegan diet-friendly snack.
Falafel is an extremely popular street food in countries such as Egypt, Israel, Syria and Turkey and can also be found served as part of restaurant menus.
What is falafel?
Falafel is an iconic Middle Eastern dish dating back many millennia. While regional variations exist, all versions begin with dried chickpeas or fava beans (or both), which are then soaked overnight before grinding together with parsley, garlic, cumin, and coriander before being formed into balls or doughnuts and deep-fried in oil for an irresistibly crunchy crunch!
Falafel is an extremely nutritious meat substitute that makes for an easy lunch or scrumptious dinner, whether in pita sandwiches, drizzled over salads and vegetables or added as flavor and texture in soups and stews. Plus it makes an ideal healthy snack with low fat content and rich amounts of iron, potassium, folic acid, B vitamins as well as being widely available worldwide both fast-food restaurants and street vendors as well as at home!
Falafel recipes typically consist of chickpeas or fava beans combined with herbs, spices and onions for flavoring. It is an extremely popular vegetarian and vegan meal which can either stand on its own as a meal or form part of a mezze platter alongside other items such as hummus, tabbouleh and grape leaves.
Traditional methods involve grinding ingredients by hand or food processor until they have the consistency of mashed potatoes, which necessitates using high-quality spices that haven’t been exposed to too much air and have kept their aroma and taste intact over time. When selecting spices to toast rather than grind, their flavors remain intact longer while untoasted versions tend to be less bitter than their toasted counterparts.
Falafel contains chickpeas – packed with plant-based protein and folic acid – as its main ingredient, along with onions, garlic, herbs and spices like mint, parsley cumin coriander. Furthermore it may be enhanced further with lettuce tomatoes pickles onions toppings or even other foods like lettuce tomatoe pickle etc.
Falafel can be made healthier by baking it instead of frying, though the latter process does increase both caloric intake and fat content of this dish. To minimize calories and fat consumption when making falafel at home or eating it out at restaurants that specialize in serving plant-based diets.
What is vegan falafel?
Falafel is a delicious Middle Eastern staple typically prepared from chickpeas, garlic, fresh herbs like parsley and cilantro (cilantro can overpower other flavors so I usually opt for just parsley), spices such as cumin and coriander and pan frying or deep frying to form rounds that are either pan fried or deep fried for crispy perfection! While there may be different variations on this recipe there will always be vegan versions when prepared correctly without shortcuts or non-vegan ingredients being used in production!
Falafel should have an ideal texture: crunchy on the outside and creamy inside, featuring subtle spice from herbs, spices and vegetables that combine for its taste. Falafel often comes served in pita sandwich/wrap with other vegetable-based mezze such as classic hummus, baba ghanoush or fattoush and salad options such as quinoa or Mediterranean pearl couscous salads for optimal enjoyment.
Although canned chickpeas may produce delicious falafel, the key to producing light and fluffy homemade versions lies with using dried chickpeas that have been soaked and ground into a paste with other ingredients such as cumin, paprika, parsley and onions for best results. This creates the light texture with delicious flavour, which allows patties of falafel to be formed quickly to be either fried or baked before being devoured!
Home chefs looking to make falafel at home should ideally utilize a food processor to grind chickpeas into a coarse paste before adding all remaining ingredients and processing until the mixture comes together. A small amount of all-purpose flour may help ensure the mixture doesn’t crumble away too soon; alternatively, this mixture can also be formed into individual falafel by hand; however this takes slightly more time and may not produce the same results as processed options.
When eating falafel out at a restaurant or from street vendors, it’s essential to ask whether it is vegan. Sometimes restaurants and vendors will add egg as a replacement for garbanzo beans making the dish non-vegan. Also ensure the falafel was not fried in oil used previously to fry meat such as chicken or beef as this can give it an unpleasant flavour.
Why is falafel vegan?
Falafel, unlike burgers, fries or meatloaf is made entirely from plant ingredients and therefore vegan by definition. Made of chickpeas combined with herbs, spices and alliums; its combination provides an amazing source of protein and fiber! Perfect as part of a mezze platter; eaten as an afternoon snack in pita bread wraps or wraps or salads and hummus dishes as well. You could even use falafel to revamp meat-based recipes like sloppy joes and spaghetti and meatballs into entirely plant-based versions!
Although many vegans opt to prepare their falafel from scratch, pre-made mixes are readily available at stores and supermarkets. When purchasing falafel mixes it’s essential that consumers read labels to identify ingredients free of dairy, meat or eggs and be produced in vegan-friendly facilities.
Falafel is made by soaking chickpeas, then grinding them up with alliums and herbs, spices and aromatics such as allspice. Once mixed together, this mixture can either be fried or baked; with the former producing crunchier textures while baking offers healthier options.
Falafel is considered vegan because it does not use egg as a binder, making it suitable for both vegetarians and vegans alike. Chickpeas act as their own natural binder due to their high fiber content and water absorption; however if eating falafel at a restaurant or food stand it is important to ask about ingredients used; some establishments might take shortcuts with their falafel preparation by including eggs which are non-vegan ingredients.
Falafel may not qualify as vegan fare if it is served with non-vegan accompaniments such as tzatziki sauce or feta cheese; these toppings can easily be removed if necessary. Also, be mindful that some restaurants, particularly fast food chains, will cook both their meat dishes as well as their falafel in the same oil, which is not suitable for vegans.
What is cava falafel?
Cava falafel is a classic Mediterranean dish consisting of chickpeas, garlic, onion, parsley and spices combined in order to produce patties or balls containing this tasty treat. Often eaten as part of a starter or snack with hummus or pitta bread for lunch; often finished off with extra spicy seasoning such as paprika or cayenne pepper for extra heat!
Step one in creating delicious cava falafel is mixing all of its ingredients. For optimal results, fresh herbs and spices should be used, as these will give the dish its signature flavor. Also for maximum taste potential, dried chickpeas should be preferred over canned ones; soak overnight prior to cooking to ensure softness and deliciousness!
Next, peel and crush the fava beans using a mortar and pestle before mixing with other ingredients in a food processor. Finally, form patties or balls of falafel dough using your hands before frying or baking in oil or ghee. It is advisable to serve cava falafel with vegan-friendly dips like hummus or tahini for optimal results; or as part of an entree alongside some salad and warm pitta bread on the side.
Cava falafel salads are an easy and delicious way to pack in protein and fibre in one meal, without exceeding caloric or fat intake limits. Perfect for weight loss plans or special events. Enjoy it alongside rose cava wine which provides light bubbly goodness.
Cava was established by childhood friends Ted Xenohristos, Ike Grigoropoulos and Dimitri Moshovitis in 2006 as a fast-casual restaurant chain serving vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Offering bowls and wraps such as its lentil avocado bowl – suitable for vegans! Additionally, its menu is completely gluten-free.
The lentil avocado bowl is an exquisite Mediterranean-inspired meal featuring roasted veggies, falafel, hummus, cabbage slaw, pickled onions and cucumbers, crazy feta salad, Persian cucumbers, avocado and skhug dressing – sure to please any palate! A perfect choice for vegans looking to dine out while experiencing Mediterranean cuisine!