Can you eat falafel without cooking?

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Can you eat falafel without cooking?” We will also discuss the antinutrients, how to freeze falafel and if falafel is friendly in a keto diet.

Can you eat falafel without cooking?

No, you cannot eat falafel without it being fully cooked. Falafel is made from soaked raw chickpeas, indigestible to the human body causing stomach pain, gas, and other adverse symptoms.

Raw chickpeas have antinutrients and toxins that can harm your digestive system, from discomfort to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, all these agents can be fought by cooking it, making your falafel safe and tasty.

What are the antinutrients?

Antinutrients are agents present in fruits, vegetables, and leaves that hinder the absorption of nutrients from a particular food. Antinutrients are a kind of defense of plants against bacteria and insects ensuring their survival.

There are several compounds present in plants that ward off their predators as the most common:

  • Tannins: present in teas, wines, and some fruits, they reduce iron absorption.
  • Glucosinolates: present in raw vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale, act by preventing the absorption of iodine, especially in people with iodine deficiency and/or hypothyroidism.
  • Lecithins: present in soy, chickpeas, peanuts, and beans, affect the absorption of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc in addition to being able to trigger irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Oxalates: found in quinoa, chickpeas, leafy vegetables, and beets, can bind calcium and prevent its absorption.
  • Phytates: present in seeds, grains, chickpeas, and some nuts, it can reduce the absorption of iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium.
  • Saponins: present in asparagus, chickpeas, and agave, they can add soapy flavor to food and reduce iron absorption.

Excess of antinutrients can have a great impact on the body if consumed in large quantities, causing abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, vomiting, and weakening the health of those who consume them through vitamin deficiency.

One way to control antinutrient intake is by soaking and cooking grains and seeds to increase their absorption and reduce the number of phytates and oxalates present, as well as avoiding the consumption of multiple antinutrients in a single meal.

Are there other foods made of raw beans?

Yes, there is a Brazilian Street Food called “Acarajé” that is made using raw peeled beans or black-eyed peas. These beans are ground and molded into a ball, deep fried in Dendê oil (A non-refined version of palm oil), and served with flavorful, spicy pastes made from numerous ingredients such as cashews, and palm oil, and shrimp.

Acarejé is a very common recipe in the state of Bahia and one of the theories is that the delicacy emerged from an adaptation of Muslim Africans who could not find chickpeas and began to test recipes with black-eyed peas. Here you can find a recipe to make acarajé with vatapá.

Can I freeze falafel?

Yes, you can freeze fried falafel or not, raw falafel is a practical alternative to eating falafel quickly and can be done in immersion frying, in the air fryer, or even in the oven.

 For the fried falafel:

  • Wait to cool
  • Store in a ziplock bag
  • Freeze up
  • They last up to 3 months
  • To reheat them, you can use the microwave, bake them in the oven or the skillet.

For the falafel dough:

  • Shape the dough into balls
  • Place on a baking sheet or plate that will fit in your freezer.
  • Freeze up
  • Remove from the baking sheet and place in a ziplock bag
  • Store for up to 3 months
  • To prepare them, leave them overnight in the fridge and you can fry or bake them.

Can I eat falafel on Keto?

Yes, falafel is Keto Friendly. To understand this answer, let’s evaluate the nutritional information on 100g of falafel:

NutrientValue
Net Carbohydrate31.8 g
Protein13.3g
Fiber4.9g
Fat17.8g
Calories333 kcal

As we can see, falafel has good fat and protein content, and calories from carbohydrates do not represent the majority, thus being a food allowed in a keto diet.

In addition, to be a good source of protein, falafel has several benefits:

  • Most of its carbohydrates come from chickpeas, being a food rich in complex carbohydrates and fibers, favoring the fall of bad cholesterol, increasing satiety, and helping in the proper functioning of the intestine.
  • For fried food, falafel has a low level of fats, and yet they are often unsaturated, reducing the impact on the arteries. Falafel can still be made in the oven or air fryer and not have that added fat.
  • They have several vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and folate.
  • They are a vegan and gluten-free meal alternative.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Can you eat falafel without cooking?” We have also discussed the antinutrients, how to freeze falafel and if falafel is friendly in a keto diet.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Citations

https://www.tasteatlas.com/acaraje
https://migrationology.com/brazilian-street-food-acaraje-salvador/
https://blog.amigofoods.com/index.php/brazilian-foods/vatapa-brazilian-stew/
https://www.greatbritishchefs.com/recipes/acaraje-with-vatapa-recipe
https://eatdelights.com/falafel-keto/
https://www.verywellfit.com/falafal-nutrition-facts-and-health-benefits-5199956
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101#weight-loss
https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-facts/172455/100g

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.