I love Mediterranean food, especially falafel. It’s a crispy and delicious ball or patty made simply of chickpeas (or other beans) and seasonings.
Unfortunately, the falafel made in most restaurants is deep-fried. And restaurants typically use hydrogenated oils that tolerate high heat to do make it happen.
Why is this a problem?
- Foods cooked in oil at high temperatures form a chemical called acrylamide, which has been shown in animal studies to cause cancer.
- Oil, especially hydrogenated oil, breaks down when heated and changes the composition of the food that’s fried it in. It can quickly take a healthy dish like falafel and turn it into a health-sabotaging meal that can raise bad cholesterol, increase your risk of heart disease, contribute to weight gain and cause inflammation in your body (especially in your gut).
- Oil is very dense in fat and calories but low in nutritional value, so it adds a lot of calories to your food without providing a nutritional benefit.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against having fat in your diet. In fact, it’s very important to eat foods that are high in healthy fat like avocado, coconut, nuts and seeds each day. And there are healthy oils like avocado oil, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil that can provide health benefits…when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
The tricky part – even with healthy oils – is that they are extracted from their source (example: avocado, coconut or olive), so you’re getting a concentrated hit of fat. It’s better to eat the whole food as designed by nature to get all the vitamins, minerals and fiber that come along with the fat.
So what to do if you love foods like falafel that are typically deep-fried? Simple…BAKE THEM!
This easy and delicious recipe for baked falafel simply removes the oil from the equation. You’ll still enjoy the beautiful and tasty crispiness of falafel without compromising your health. And you’ll get a nice dose of fiber and plant-based protein from the beans.
Let’s dig in!
You can form your falafel into balls or push them into patties, which is what I usually do for more even cooking:
The finished product is soooooo good! The falafel tastes amazing dipped in this dairy-free tzatziki sauce (that’s the creamy sauce that’s typically served with gyros):
Cheers to enjoying crispy falafel that’s clean, oil-free and delicious!
With love and gratitude,
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