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Falafel – An Israeli Treasure

Credit Hannahdownes

In my last post on my trip to Israel, I mentioned the lavish, delicious cuisine served by the hotels. However, one dish I particularly enjoyed was falafel, which was not served in the hotels. That’s because falafel is a street food, so we only bought it when we stopped at small restaurants along the way for lunch. I fell in love with it at first bite because it reminded me of a popular Trinidad dish called pholourie. (Remind me to write a post on it). Also, because I’m a vegetarian, this was the only option for me in most of the places we went.

Falafel is made from chick peas seasoned with herbs, rolled into balls and fried. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are an excellent dish for either vegetarian or vegan.

In Israel, falafels are served with pita bread, some salad and hummus, also made from chickpeas. Therefore, it is quite a filling and nutritious meal. I found that when I ate falafels at lunch time, I did not get hungry as quickly as if I’d eaten something else, which is very good for weight control.

Nutritional facts in 1 oz of chickpeas:

  • Calories – 46
  • Carbs – 8 grams
  • Protein – 3 grams
  • Folate – 12% of the RDI
  • Iron – 4% of the RDI
  • Manganese – 14% of the RDI
  • Other minerals are phosphorous and copper supplying 5% each
  • Fiber – 2 grams

Chickpeas have been found to have other benefits:

  1. They control blood glucose levels, which would be helpful to people with Type 2 diabetes.
  2. Because they are a low-glycemic food, they may also help to prevent heart disease. The soluble fiber in chickpeas may help prevent bad cholesterol (LDL) which is associated with heart disease.
  3. Chickpeas are rich in soluble fiber, which helps to increase healthy bacteria in your gut and prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria. This can also help to prevent digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer.
  4. Chickpeas contain plant compounds known as saponins, said to be helpful in preventing some types of cancer.
  5. Chickpeas are inexpensive and can be easily added to soups and salads or made into a delicious hummus spread or ground and fried into falafels. If you are ready to try your hand at falafels, here is a recipe below.

Need a food processor to grind your chickpeas?

And don’t forget the thermometer to ensure your falafel is cooked just right.

Drop me a line and let me know how your falafels turned out.