This is a healthy vegan falafel recipe, without deep frying and with lots of fresh parsley! It’s so easy to make and I’m sure this healthy vegan falafel will become one of your favorite recipes too!
If you’d ask me how an ideal meal looks for me, I would tell you that it is made of veggie patties, fluffy mashed potatoes and a huge salad. For me, nothing is more delicious than this and as simple as it may sound, there’s no other meal that makes me happier! 😀 I think it reminds me of my childhood when my grandma used to make me mashed potatoes with butter, served with a large steak or meat patties aside. Of course, I wasn’t vegetarian back then.
This falafel/chickpea patties recipe is, in my opinion, the best falafel recipe I’ve ever tried! It’s not the traditional falafel recipe! I adapted it to my preferences and made it healthier, without deep-frying! If you want to know more about falafel, its origins and benefits, scroll down to the bottom of this article.
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Hope you’ll like this falafel recipe as much as I do! Check out my healthy version, below. Also, take a look at this recipe of mini falafel bites which resembles the traditional falafel recipe a bit more. 🙂
Later edit: I finally made a video for this recipe! 🙂
- 2 400g cans boiled chickpea (You can use dry too, but if you want to have these chickpea patties ready in 25 minutes, then you should use canned chickpeas. If you’ll use dry chickpeas, you have to soak them overnight)
- 2 Tbsps psyllium husks or ground flax seeds
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 onion, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, mashed
- 4 Tbsps chickpea flour, or any other type of flour
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsps tahini paste
- oil (3-4 Tbsps) for frying
- Add boiled chickpeas in the food processor and blend well until they have a paste-like consistency.
- Put them in a large bowl and blend in all the other ingredients, except oil.
- Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan.
- Make the patties – 1 Tbsps per patty.
- Fry them 2 minutes on each side.
- Put the falafels on a plate covered with a paper towel, in order to absorb all excess oil.
Falafel: The Most Craveable Mediterranean Street Food
The American street food history was once a place that featured hot dog carts along the sides of the roads. That grew into pizzas and burgers and then in the last decade, food trucks boomed. Now you can get just about any food from all over the world in any major American city, including one of the most beloved from the Mediterranean: falafel.
Falafel is a traditional dish from the Mediterranean that has been around for centuries, but it’s gained popularity in the states over recent years thanks to the globalization of countries as well as cuisine. They combine healthy ingredients and fry them, which really speaks to the American heart. They totally had us at fried.
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Falafel is made out of chickpeas that are soaked and then ground. They’re then combined with onions, scallions, parsley, cumin, coriander and garlic. Then comes the fun part. They get shaped into balls and then dropped into a deep fryer full of oil so hot that the outside gets instantly crisp while the inside keeps a light and fluffy texture. It’s a vegetarian delight that even meat eaters love.
When you order falafel at restaurants, you can either enjoy these tasty balls on their own, or get them wrapped up in a pita with all kinds of garnishments. In traditional Mediterranean places, you’re likely to find it served with hummus, baba ganoush, and pickled vegetables but some places will pander to the American palate and keep it simple with cucumbers and tomatoes.
The falafel balls are often served wrapped in a hollow pita shell and garnished with fixings like tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles and sometimes even French fries. Falafel restaurants offer other garnishes as well, such as eggplant salad, shredded beets or pickled vegetables. The whole sandwich is coated with hummus, drizzled with tahini and if you’re so inclined, topped with a spicy sauce as well.
If you’re not in a big city, it might be hard to get your hands on falafel. However, you can try to make them at home. There are many recipes for making falafel at home online. Seasonings can vary by the recipe as can methods. You can try deep frying them in a deep skillet if you don’t have a fryer. You can also use an air fryer if you have that and fry it without any oil. Or you can bake it to cut out the frying completely.
You’ll definitely have to experiment a bit to find your favorite falafel. However, one thing every recipe can agree on is this: don’t use the canned chickpeas to make falafel. You need to soak the dry chickpeas yourself in order to get the authentic flavor and texture just right. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you fry them, you must get the temperature right or your falafel balls will fall apart.
Falafel, where do you come from?
Just one more discussion about the origin of a certain dish that has to begin with the phrase: its origins are unknown and they have been the subject of much debate. What many people think is that falafel’s history goes way back to when there were pharaohs in the world!
This delicious dish is thought to have been popular mainly in Egypt. That is until the country couldn’t hold it back any longer and then it spread to the Middle East. To be more specific, it appears that it originated in Alexandria. That’s why the breakthrough into other cultures might have been effortless. After all, Alexandria was a very busy port city.
Its name is most likely derived from the Arabic word “filfil”, which means pepper; synonym for spicy, perhaps? And another explanation for the origin of its name might be the Coptic Egyptian unattested phrase “pha la phel”, which translates roughly to “of many beans”. They both make sense!
Falafel grew in popularity once it stepped into de Middle East and it became a common street food. Today, many centuries later, it has remained a type of street food all over the world. If you don’t quite believe that falafels are as popular as I might be making them out to be, how about this fun fact: even McDonald’s offered “McFalafel” in their restaurants throughout Egypt!
This dish made its breakthrough into the western world just like many other things do: through people! It has been taken all around the world by both Jewish and Middle Eastern people who decided to settle in different lands. That’s what’s so great about the world! We take our culture with us wherever we go and we share it until it becomes a thing in common with the rest of the world.
General facts about falafel
- Falafel can be made from chickpeas or fava beans, and even a combination of both. In Middle Eastern countries, chickpea falafel is the most popular.
- Falafel is the second most common use of chickpeas to make a dish. Can you guess what the first is? … That’s right! Hummus!
- There’s a bit of a squabble between Palestinians and Israelis over who appropriated whose dish.
- Falafel is not a Jewish dish, but it was indeed adopted by Jewish immigrants in Palestine.
- The Amman hotel of the capital of Jordan made the world’s biggest Falafel in 2012 and it weighed about 75 kg. How long would it take you to eat that?!
- You know who else has appropriated falafel? You guessed it, vegetarians and vegans. They love it as a substitute for meat in their meals.
- Falafel is used by people to break the daily fast after sunset during Ramadan.
- Egypt, Palestine and Israel all three consider the falafel as their national dish. What a pickle!
Nutritional data: why Falafel is good for you!
Let’s start with the basic. Per 100 gr of Falafel, this is what you get: 333 calories (please don’t freak out), 18 gr of fat, 2,4 gr of saturated fatty acids, 4,2 gr of polyunsaturated fatty acids, 10 gr of monounsaturated fatty acids, 294 mg of sodium, 585 mg of potassium, 32 gr of carbohydrates, 13 gr of protein, and all of these vitamins and minerals: vitamin A, C, D, B6, B12, iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Overall, if you eat them in moderation and you add them to your diet, instead of having them be your whole diet (no matter how tempting that may be), it shouldn’t pose a threat to your fitness or your health. In fact, there are many benefits, as you can see. There are quite a lot of vitamins and minerals present, plus it’s full of healthy fats. Yes, that’s quite a bit of calories for a 100gr falafel, but considering everything you get in return it’s not that big of a deal.
Falafel also has a healthy amount of carbohydrates, which your body actually needs and it poses no risks for your cholesterol levels. It’s rich in fiber because it is made out of chickpeas which help you feel full for longer, so you won’t be overeating.
Want more veggie patties recipes. Try these: