Falafel has been growing with popularity in the United States. Most Americans have seen falafel served at food carts and restaurants and might not know what’s really in it. This can lead to caution from tasting it – and you won’t know what you are missing out on!
While falafel can be prepared in a couple of ways, it’s really just a ball or patty of beans, vegetables, and spices.
Falafel most often tastes like the spices and veggies that compose it – like onion, garlic, pepper, and beans. Given all those items are grown and earthy – your falafel will likely taste like a mix of beans and spices. It’s also possible that falafel can taste a little like the oil used to fry it.
What’s in falafel and where does it get it’s flavor?
Falafel is actually quite often totally vegan. The mix and patty we know as falafel is a combination of fava beans or chick peas and a variety of spices. Spices can include mint, parsley, coriander, and cumin.
Tastewise, falafel has been compared to eating a savory donut, in that the beans can have taste a bit like dough.
Besides the base of a bean mixture, the spices give falafel a very earthy taste, though complex in it’s use a variety of spices to liven up what is otherwise fairly bland but healthy beans.
Onion is another fairly commin ingredient in falafel, giving the patties some sweetness.
While we can give ideas about what falafel tastes like, falafel being a mixture of foods also means that falafel can taste different from place to place. If you want to know what’s in the falafel, ask – or observe it being made.
You should general expert a savory flavor with the taste of vegetables and spices though.
Note that falafel isn’t often spicy, but certainly can be with the addition of cayenne, chili powder, or a spicy dip.
What is the texture like?
Falafel is traditionally deep fried and have a crunchy outside with a soft inside. The result is that falafel can offer a mix of textures based on how deep you are into a bite. Expect the middle to taste moist and fluffy while the outside gives you the crunch.
Deep fried falafel is also easier to hold as the exterior make it fit in your hand without being easily crushed or squished.
Falafel eaters also describe the texture as grainy on the outside. The inside texture depends in part on the beans used to make it. Chickpeas give a softer texture while fava leads to a more dense interior. Some falafel vendors used both beans to give a mixture texture.
What does falafel smell like?
The smell of a falafel at a street market will probably be mixed with the scents of dozens of foods. Focusing on falafel, a cooked falafel smells like a mix of spices and beans, as well as oil. Falafel is usually deep fried in oil to keep it from burning, and to keep the mixture together.
What does falafel look like?
Falafel comes in a few forms, but it most often looks like a flat patty or a ball. Americans often mistaken a falafel ball for a well spiced meatball.
The appearance is different though. Falafel can have a browned or yellow exterior but often has a grainy appearance from the variety of spices used. The result is a mix of colors, including yellow and green. Falafel does taste as good as it looks.
How is falafel served?
Falafel has many ways of being served.
Falafel can be eaten by itself, but it’s most commonly served with a side of vegetables or with a dip.
Falafel is also recognized as being a substitute for meat for vegans, so it can be used as a crunchy patty on a bun.
Note that some falafels are not vegan, so if you are not preparing it yourself, asking the restaurant or vendor whats in the falafel. They can use meat or animal products.
You might also be wondering if falafel tastes like meatless burgers that are becoming more popular around the world. The answer is mostly no, they tend to be made of black beans and intend to taste more like meat, while falafel focuses on beans and spices.
Is falafel healthy?
Falafel is a great source of fiber and protein. The mixture of beans and spices makes it a good meat substitute for vegans and people who otherwise want to mix up meat in their diet.
The fiber within falafel can help lead healthier chloresterol levels and help reduce the risks for heart disease, especialy compared to foods with more fats.
The hormones within falafel’s fiber also lead to a reduce appetite and make you feel full faster, which can help in weight less efforts.
The least healthy part of the falafel tends to be the inclusion of oil for cooking. Without using less fatty oils, falafel can have added fat content which gives the outer layer the pleasant crunch.
Where can I find falafel?
Some would say the best falafel options are available in street markets in the Middle East, but we imagine few of our readers are on their way right now.
Falafel can be made at home readily. Many Middle Eastern restaurants also serve falafel as either an appetizer or main course too.
Grocery stores also carry premade and frozen falafel that can be cooked or eaten by themselves.
Falafel is a unique tasting, rather healthy food that comes with a variety of ingredients. People who have dietary restrictions for meat or enjoy vegetarian or vegan dishes will enjoy falafel’s protein and fiber, all in a tasty and texture rich ball or patty.
Like many dishes that use a big range of spices and ingredients, falafel can be made into your own recipe. Try using different spices from your own cabinets, or making it sweet or spicy. No matter how you make it, it’s a fun food to eat and works by itself or as a beef substitute.