What’s in a Falafel?
It’s a very popular dish in Mediterranean cuisine, and if you’re a big fan of it, you should already be familiar with falafel. Delicious, deep-fried vegan balls, originally made of chickpeas or fava beans, are designed to be moreish and filling.
Packed with protein and full of flavor, they’re low in fat and with virtually no cholesterol (depending on the oil used), they’re an optimal dish for those who want to remain on the side of nourishing. They came around way before pizzas, burgers, and hotdogs that dominate the menus of many popular restaurants out there, and falafel has been enjoyed around the world for centuries.
What Is Falafel?
If you want to go back through history to where falafels originated, you want to plant your taste buds firmly in the days of the Egyptian Pharaohs. They used to be a meat replacement during Lent and as it was so popular, falafels made their way through the Middle East. It’s in the Middle East that the original chickpea recipe was replaced with fava beans, although both options are popular in eateries today.
Today, falafel ingredients combined are traditionally served up with hummus and tahini sauce to create a gorgeous and delectable falafel plate. On the side of the plate is usually a dish of toum, which is Middle Eastern garlic sauce. You can fill a pita with falafel and sauce, topping it with vegetables for a filling and nourishing dish.
How Falafel Is Made
Chickpeas (or fava beans) are soaked, ground up and seasoned with spices, scallions, and onions. The spices used are usually parsley, coriander, and cumin, with garlic added to taste. This is then rolled into balls and deep fried. The oil used varies from restaurant to restaurant, but the oil needs to be hot enough so that when the falafel balls are dropped in, the outside becomes crispy without the inside getting too oily. It’s a delicate—but delicious—balance to be achieved.
How Falafel is served
All of the falafel ingredients are on menus with pita is very popular in different cafes, street food vendors and eateries, and the garnish on the side usually comes with tomatoes cucumber, pickles, and even fries.
You can go a little more complicated with shredded beets and pickled vegetables. You can find an easy falafel recipe with the Spruce Eats. Usually, the entire falafel sandwich is topped with sauces that we mentioned earlier – hummus and tahini. For an authentic falafel recipe, check out the Mess is Ours recipe.
Benefits of eating Falafel
Who doesn’t love comfort food that is good for you? They’re a perfect meatless option for vegetarians and the chickpeas used are SO low in sodium and saturated fat that they make for an excellent snack as well as a full meal. They’re not as healthy as a green salad, of course, not when a pita can be very high in sodium and calories, but the falafel that you choose doesn’t have to be eaten with a pita.
Get Your Falafel Fix at Paymon’s Mediterranean Cafe
Falafel has always been a firm favorite on a Mediterranean grill menu, and when you’re looking for hot, crispy and delicious falafel, Paymon’s Mediterranean Cafe is a restaurant of choice in Las Vegas! Visit any of our 3 locations and to check out our full menu.