Falafels are a delicious snack enjoyed in different parts of the world in different variants. They are traditionally made from chickpeas though some versions use fava or broad beans. They are crunchy outside and herby inside, often served with wraps or flatbread. They are nutritious and delicious and make a great snack option.
So, is falafel plant based? Yes, falafel is a plant-based food because it is made primarily from chickpeas or fava beans and contains no dairy or meat. Falafel contains some other herbs and spices as well as other plant-based ingredients for flavor and texture. It is generally served with salad, tahini sauce, pickled vegetables or pita bread, all of which are plant-based.
Read on to learn more about what goes into falafel and find out whether you should include this food in your plant-based diet.
Why Falafel is Plant Based?
The main ingredient in falafel, chickpeas or fava beans, come from legumes family, making falafel a completely plant-based food. It is generally served with salad, tahini sauce, pickled vegetables or pita bread, all of which are plant-based.
In fact, falafel is largely used as a meat replacement for its high protein content. It has become popular among vegetarians as a substitute for meat-based foods. However, it is important to make sure it does not use any animal-based ingredients.
What Are The Main Ingredients in Falafel?
Falafel is a ball-shaped fried recipe made using fava beans or chickpeas as the primary ingredient. Sometimes a combination of these two is used to make the fritters. Other ingredients often added to the batter include garlic, parsley, coriander, cumin and others. Vegetable oil and flour are also added for desired texture and flavor.
Falafels are deep fried in vegetable oil though it is possible to oven bake the recipe. Though the dish contains no animal-derived ingredients, sometimes, they can be inappropriate for plant-based diets if served with meat-based foods. They are generally topped with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and other garnishes and eaten with pita bread.
Made out of chickpeas, falafel is high in protein, fiber and carbohydrates. Chickpeas contain low fat and no cholesterol though frying the balls add some fat to the recipe. You can consider baking falafels to reduce fat content from deep frying.
Here is the nutritional information for a 100gram serving of falafel (6 small patties).
- Calories: 333
- Carbs: 32g
- Protein: 13.3g
- Fiber: 5g
- Fat: 17.8g
High in dietary fiber, falafel helps lower the levels of cholesterol, risk of colon cancer and heart disease. Falafels also provide a number of other key nutrients including iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B, folate, vitamin C, zinc and manganese.
It is a healthy food that not only provides a good source of protein and fiber but helps reduce appetite, lower the risks of chronic diseases, support healthy sugar levels and benefit overall health and well-being.
So, falafel is certainly a food you can include in your plant-based diet as a delicious meal option. However, as it is deep-fried, it can add up calories and fat content. So, you can consider keeping it healthy with an oven baked version to indulge in fresh and tasty falafel without ruining your diet goals.