What is Falafel?
After being vegan for four years now, and vegetarian for six, I have established an understanding of foods that are more often than not, a common option for me to eat at restaurants. One of the foods that are usually a great vegan option is falafel. Of course, it is important to always double-check with your server whether or not the particular falafels they offer are vegan, but if authentically made, should tick off all of the boxes of vegan requirements. If it is a food you have never tried, or maybe have never even heard of, not to worry. Today I am going to tell you everything there is to know about this delicious food. Let’s begin with answering the question, “What type of food is falafel?” Keep reading to find out.
Falafel, What Is It?
I think a good place to start is at the beginning, so here we go. There was definitely a point in my life when I asked the very same questions you are asking right now. What is falafel? What kind of food is it? Such broad questions lead to many different pathways for answers, but let me give the falafel definition a go. Falafel is a dish that originates in the Mediterranean and has been enjoyed for centuries and counting. When seeing ‘falafel’ on a menu, it is fair to wonder, “Is it vegan?”. To answer this question we must first answer, “What are falafel ingredients?”. Most commonly, it is composed of quite simple, yet flavorful ingredients. The main ingredient in a falafel is chickpeas. It is recommended to use dried chickpeas that have been soaked in water overnight as opposed to chickpeas in a can to achieve that correct consistency and texture. To accompany the chickpeas, various herbs such as parsley, cilantro, and dill are added. Like many dishes, falafel should not be made without the presence of garlic, onion, salt, and pepper to taste. And there you have it, the most common ingredients needed to create this fast food. Now back to answering whether falafels are vegan. Yes, they are. But again, as mentioned before, it never hurts to double-check with your server as they could have a special recipe or may be dealing with cross-contamination.
Not only is falafel a good option for vegans to order at restaurants, but it’s a great thing to order veggies and meat-eaters alike. It is just so delicious and packed with nutrients, it would be a shame for anyone to miss out on the chance to experience this Mediterranean delicacy. Some of the common questions surrounding the health benefits of falafel are, “Is falafel healthy?”, “How much protein is in a falafel?” and “What are falafels made from?”. We already covered the ingredients of falafel therefore these questions should be somewhat self-explanatory at this point, however, a little clarification never hurt anybody. Due to the simple and clean ingredients that falafel is composed of, they are one of the healthier options when dealing with fried foods. Although falafel is in fact a fried food, therefore, may be heavier on the oil contents. If making falafel from scratch at home, you definitely have the option to bake your falafel instead of frying them which would make them even healthier. In my opinion, a little fried food every once in and awhile never hurts anybody so either option is great! Let’s talk about protein. Because the main component of falafel is chickpeas, falafel is a great source of added protein to a vegetarian or vegan diet. As we all know, beans are a great provider of protein, therefore a ball of essentially beans and spices is protein-packed. So the next time you find yourself asking, “How healthy are falafels?” you can rest assured that it ranks high on the list for healthy foods on a menu.
Tell Me More!
Okay, now that we are beginning to familiarize ourselves with all things falafel, I still haven’t answered one of the most important questions of them all. What does this dish taste like? In short, it tastes incredible. To deepen this answer a little more, imagine ground up chickpeas and fresh herbs combined into one fried ball of greatness. After just one bite you have the power to taste and distinguish every ingredient inside of this magical ball. Falafel can be paired with many things that only enhance the flavor profile of it. Some of these things can be a pita, hummus, olives, or even babaganoush. There is a whole world of foods out there that belong specifically with falafels and will make you fall head over heels for Mediterranean food if you haven’t already. It also pairs really well in Mediterranean style rice or lentil bowl as well as upon a fresh bed of greens. The versatility of falafels leads to many amazing tasting options for you to discover, explore, and enjoy.
Give Falafel A Try
Now that you have read this entire blog, I think it’s safe to say you have almost achieved master status when it comes to this particular cuisine. The final thing you need to do before achieving full falafel master status is to try it out for yourself. I promise you this Middle East food will become a part of your life after taking one bite into this ball of flavor explosion. Not only are falafels good for you and your physical health, but they are amazing for your mental health as well. I assure you after eating falafel you will be smiling from ear to ear out of contentment.
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