4 Reasons Why Falafel Is Significant On Your Diet

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Falafel, a popular Middle Eastern dish, has sparked debates about its origin for years. While the exact origin remains uncertain, it is widely believed to have originated in Egypt, where it was made from fava beans and called "ta'amiya." Over time, falafel has spread to other countries in the region, including Lebanon and Israel, each adopting their unique versions of the dish.


Falafel: A Tale of Three Countries

Falafel, a famous Middle Eastern dish, has diverse flavors and ingredients based on the country of its preparation. Let's delve into the distinct characteristics of Lebanese, Egyptian, and Israeli falafel.

Lebanese Falafel

Lebanese falafel is primarily made from chickpeas, mixed with a variety of spices such as cumin, coriander, and garlic. Parsley and cilantro are often added for extra flavor and color. It is typically served on pita bread with a generous amount of tahini sauce, fresh vegetables, and pickles.

Egyptian Falafel

In Egypt, the primary ingredient of falafel is fava beans, not chickpeas. The use of fava beans gives the falafel a lighter, moister texture. Coriander, parsley, leek, and garlic are commonly added to enhance the flavor. Egyptian falafel is often served in a pita, similar to the Lebanese style, with tahini, fresh veggies, and sometimes pickled eggplant.

Israeli Falafel

Israeli falafel shares a lot in common with Lebanese falafel, using chickpeas as its main ingredient. However, Israeli falafel balls are usually smaller and have a slightly crunchier texture. It's served in a pita and includes a variety of fillings like hummus, pickled vegetables, salad, and tahini sauce.

While these falafels have their regional differences, all share the characteristic of being flavorful, satisfying, and highly nutritious. It's a testament to the rich and diverse culinary traditions across the Middle East.

Despite the differences in ingredients and preparation, all three types of falafel share a rich, flavorful taste that has made it a beloved dish throughout the Middle East.


Falafel: A Nutritious Addition to Various Diets

Falafel can be included in various diets, as it is a versatile and nutritious food. Here are some diets that can incorporate falafel:
  1. Protein Source

    Falafel is made from chickpeas, which are rich in protein. A serving of falafel can provide you with up to 5 grams of protein, making it a great alternative to meat or other animal-based protein sources. This makes falafel a perfect addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Vegetarian and Vegan: Falafel is made from plant-based ingredients

  2. Mediterranean Diet: Falafel is a common dish in Middle Eastern cuisine, which is a part of the Mediterranean diet. This diet emphasizes whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats like olive oil. Falafel can be a healthy addition to this diet when consumed in moderation.

  3. Gluten-Free Diet: Traditional falafel recipes are usually gluten-free, as they use chickpea or fava bean flour instead of wheat flour. However, it is essential to check the specific ingredients and preparation methods to ensure that the falafel is gluten-free, especially when consuming it at restaurants.

  4. High-Fiber Diet: Falafel is a good source of dietary fiber due to its legume base. A high-fiber diet can help improve digestion, regulate blood sugar levels, and support weight management.

While falafel can be included in various diets, it is important to consider the preparation method. Deep-fried falafel may not be suitable for weight loss or low-fat diets, but baking or air-frying falafel can be a healthier alternative. Additionally, portion control and balanced accompaniments are crucial when incorporating falafel into any diet plan.

Fried Falafel vs Baked Falafel

Fried and baked falafel both have their unique merits and drawbacks. Let's take a look at each preparation style.

Fried Falafel


  • Traditionally, falafel is deep-fried, yielding a crispy exterior and a moist, flavorful interior.
  • The deep-frying process gives it a distinct taste that many find irresistible.


  • Deep-fried falafel is higher in calories and fat due to the additional oil absorbed during frying.
  • If not cooked correctly, it can become overly greasy.

Baked Falafel


  • Baked falafel is typically lower in fat and calories, making it a healthier option.
  • Baking is a simpler, less messy process compared to deep-frying.


  • The texture may be less crispy and slightly drier than the fried version.
  • Some argue that baking alters the traditional taste of falafel.

Low-Calorie Baked Falafel Recipe


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4-6 tablespoons flour
  • Soy or olive oil for brushing


  1. Soak chickpeas overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, rinsed.
  2. Place drained, uncooked chickpeas, and onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
  3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
  4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets.
  5. Place on a baking sheet, brush the tops with oil, and bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

This recipe makes about 18 falafels. Each falafel is approximately 50-60 calories.

Note: The actual calorie content can vary depending on the size of the falafels and the exact ingredients used. Always calculate the nutritional information based on the specific products you use in order to achieve the most accurate information.

Source & Credits:

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