If you’ve tried falafel then you’d know that it’s absolutely delicious. For those who haven’t tried it yet, you should definitely give it a go if you’re looking for a scrumptious and delicious meal to add to your healthy meal plan.
So what is a falafel sandwich, how healthy is it, and how do you make one at home?
What is a Falafel Sandwich?
Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish that is believed to date back 1,000 years. It can be made with chickpeas or fava beans and is often served in pita bread. There are many variations of falafel, but the most common ingredients are herbs, spices and onions.
When it comes to its history and where it came from, you’ll encounter several theories about where falafel originated. Some maintain that it dates back to the Egyptian Copts, who brought it with them from the Middle East. Others say that falafel originated from India in the 6th century. There is also evidence that suggests that falafel was invented by Bedouins in the Negev desert.
Regardless of its history, falafel is a popular dish that can be found throughout the Middle East, North Africa and now, your home – once you learn how to make it.
It is usually served as street food and is often paired with tahini sauce or hummus. Falafel can also be eaten as a sandwich, which is how it’s mostly served in the United States. The good news is that it’s an excellent addition to your meal plan if you’re into the vegetarian diet.
Are Falafels Healthy?
Yes. Falafels are healthy and nutritious. Since it’s made from beans, it’s an excellent source of fiber. The added vegetables and spices make it high in lots of vitamins and micronutrients.
However, note that how healthy it is will depend on the preparation. Falafel is a plant-based food, but the most famous cooking method is frying it in oil. Depending on the oil you use, there’s the possibility of increasing its fat content. So if you’re watching your weight, then make sure to check how the falafel is being cooked. As an alternative to oil, you can bake or air fry it.
How many calories are in a falafel?
For falafels, there are 333 calories per 100 grams of serving. You can check the full nutrition facts on the USDA’s website.
What Does a Falafel Pair Well With?
Falafel makes a great appetizer or main course and can be served with a variety of dipping sauces.
Hummus is an excellent dipping sauce for falafels. You can also use it as a spread for your falafel sandwich. Instead of chickpeas, you can also use green peas to make your hummus.
Guacamole or Avocado Spread
Avocado goes well with falafel as the light texture and taste of the avocado compliments the heavy and pasty taste of the falafel. These two combined will provide you with a satisfying and filling meal that’s healthy and yummy as well.
The light and refreshing taste of pickled papaya goes hand-in-hand with the rich, herbaceous, and savory flavor of a falafel sandwich. If you’re craving for something refreshing, a bit salty and light, then you’re going to enjoy falafel with pickled papaya.
If you like the taste of sour cream then you’re going to enjoy tzatziki sauce. It’s made with greek yogurt, lemon, herbs, garlic, and cucumber. Think of it as a healthier alternative to sour cream. You can enjoy this as a falafel dipping sauce or spread.
Even though falafel is plant-based, it goes well together with kimchi. A Korean fermented side dish that goes perfectly with grilled or fried meat dishes and soups. Falafel has the tendency to taste like meat which makes kimchi a perfect partner for it.
Lemon rice with falafel is quite a famous falafel dish and an excellent choice if you’re not in the mood for a sandwich. Just make your greek lemon rice with 1 cup jasmine rice, 2 cups vegetable broth, some spices, ¼ cup lemon juice, and salt to taste. Serve it with your falafel with tzatziki on the side and you have yourself an amazing vegan meal.
For those who are in the mood for something buttery and earthy instead of citric and garlicky, then tahini sauce is for you. Tahini is made of ground sesame seeds and is usually used as a salad dressing.
How to Make Falafel at Home
If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy way to prepare falafel then look no further than the falafel sandwich. There are many variations of a falafel sandwich but the most common ingredients are herbs, spices, and onions. You then form the mixture into a pattie and fry it. The end result is crispy on the outside and soft, flavorful inside.
Making falafel from scratch can seem daunting, but it’s actually a very simple process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can make it at home.
What you’ll need:
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tahini sauce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Start by soaking the chickpeas in water overnight. This will help them soften up and be easier to blend.
- In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, all the spices, tahini sauce, lemon juice, cumin, and then add in salt and pepper.
- blend until the mixture becomes a thick paste. If it’s too thick, add a small amount of water until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the flour. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Form the mixture into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter, or into a pattie.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add the falafel and cook until it’s crispy and golden brown. This can take about 3-4 minutes for each side. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with tahini sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or one of
Health Tip: Falafel can also be baked instead of fried. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.) Place falafel balls on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Falafel Sandwich Recipes
There are endless variations of falafel sandwiches, but all of them have one common ingredient: falafel. If you enjoy a simple sandwich with some lettuce and tomatoes or you like to add in a variety of condiments, there’s a recipe for everyone.
Here are just a few you could try and will absolutely love.
Classic Falafel Sandwich
This sandwich recipe is simple, yet delicious. All you need is some falafel, lettuce, tomato, and your favorite condiments.
If you’re looking for a heartier sandwich, try this falafel burger recipe. It includes all of the same ingredients as the classic falafel sandwich, but it’s served as a burger.
Barbecue Falafel Sandwich
This recipe adds a bit of spice to the traditional falafel sandwich. It includes BBQ sauce, onion, and jalapeno peppers. Perfect if you’re craving a healthier meat alternative.
If you’re looking for a Mediterranean-inspired sandwich, try this falafel gyro recipe. It includes tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, and onions.
This recipe is perfect for on-the-go. All you need is a flour tortilla, some falafel, and your favorite toppings.
If you’re craving a healthy and filling sandwich, get a falafel sandwich. The crispy bite of the pattie, the tangy taste of the sauce, the crunch of the veggies or pickles, and the burst of tomatoes – paired with a sparkling drink or tea will make you crave for more. If you’re new to vegetarianism and craving meat, then this is also an excellent meat replacement, only healthier.