Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Are Falafels healthy?

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03-06-2007, 12:22 AM
Hey everyone...

I 've been pretty good with this new lifestyle -- more veggies, exercising (finally).
However, my pitfall has been falafel sandwiches. I've gone quasi-vegetarian (only fish, no cheese) and love these things. I usually have them 3-4 times a week. I know that they are deep fried but they taste so good. I usually go to this really wonderful place and get whole wheat pita with falafels, salad, hummus, tahini sauce and hot sauce.. however I've heard varying comments on the possible calories and fat grams.

Any info would be much appreciated...

03-06-2007, 12:52 AM
Not particularly low-cal. From "Camp Shane" nutritional resources:

2. Falafel
Vegetarian doesn't necessarily mean that what you're eating is healthy. Falafels are chickpea-and-herb balls fried and covered in creamy dressing, which means that a falafel pita can contain up to 550 calories and 32 grams of fat.

03-06-2007, 10:33 AM
I love falafel too, but the deep fried kind you get at restaurants are not what I would consider healthy due to the high fat content (anything deep friend just can’t be all that good for you!). What I like to do is get the falafel box mix and bake the falafel patties in the oven and eat in a ww pita with homemade hummus, romaine and a hearty helping of Israeli salad (cucumbers, tomato, red onion, minced garlic, peppers if you like, dressed with lemon juice and S & P). This meal is a little high on the sodium, but at least it’s low fat and much lower in calories, plus it’s darn tasty!

03-06-2007, 12:30 PM
I agree with Shananigans - baked falafels are a great option! By the time I get all the veggies on, with a *little* bit of tzatziki and sometimes hummus, I can't even tell the difference! Yum!

03-06-2007, 12:39 PM
Sugarlove - if you like tzatziki but worry about the caloric load, trader joes makes a really good one that is fairly low cal - 2 tbsp for 35 calories I think, or a similarly low value.

03-06-2007, 01:07 PM
I make my own tzatziki sometimes and it is pretty good.

I've also bought falafels and baked them in the oven. Even without frying, falafels seem to have a high fat content. I let DH have them but I only had a few myself.

03-06-2007, 02:17 PM
If you make your own falafel from scratch, you can control the fat content better than by using a mix. Plus no nasty preservatives.

I moosh up a can of chickpeas and add onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander, salt & pepper, then bake in the oven. The only fat comes from the chickpeas themselves, which is pretty marginal.

Add homemade tzatziki with fat-free yogurt, and mmm-mmm good!

03-06-2007, 02:53 PM
Mmmmm I love falafel. And everything that goes with it... hummus, tahini, tzaziki. Not low cal but yummy. :)

03-06-2007, 03:48 PM
How do you gals make your own tzatziki?

I think I'm going to try the homade falafels - I love them too!

03-07-2007, 01:14 PM
Here's a basic recipe from that's pretty similar to how I make tzatziki:

You can either use Greek yogurt (sometimes you can find it a specialty stores like Trader Joe’s) or drain regular plain yogurt in a cheesecloth or coffee filter in your fridge for a few hours. I don’t usually shred my cucumbers, I just peel, seed, salt and “sweat”, then rinse and pat dry before throwing everything into the food processor. Basically the more water you can get out of your ingredients before you mix the better.

03-07-2007, 03:10 PM
I think you already know the answer - how could anything that is deep fried be considered healthy?