Is falafel vegan?
In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is falafel vegan?” and will discuss why falafel is vegan?
Is falafel vegan?
Yes, falafel is vegan. Falafel is purely made of plant-based ingredients namely, lentils, herbs, spices, and onions that’s why it is suitable for vegans.
Why Falafel Is Typically a Vegan Dish?
Falafel is mainly made of beans or chickpeas soaked for a while in water before being grinded and kneaded with onion, garlic, spices, and then fried in oil in the form of tablets, some add parsley, paprika and sesame seeds to it. In soaking, baking soda is often used to make it more airy (1).
Somewhere in the Middle East, falafel was first created thousands of years ago. It is said that Egyptians are the first people who knew bean plant and have it as a human food, and they confirm that Falafel is an Egyptian invention. On the other hand, others believe that Falafel was first known to the Syrians in the middle ages, and it has spreaded in the country of Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt through trade trips between those countries, subsequently to move to all other countries through travelers who liked its Syrian taste. Others believe that falafel is known, the first time, in Palestine, and have evolved over time to acquire its current form, and this view is supported by a number of Palestinians scholars (1).
All falafel is made with dry chickpeas, fava beans, or a mix of the two, regardless of regional taste variances. It’s done by soaking the beans overnight, grinding them with cumin, coriander, and paprika. Because the coarsely mashed beans act as a binder, the vegetable patties don’t need the use of eggs, making them an excellent source of vegan protein.
Those balls or doughnuts are then deep-fried, giving the hot fritter a satisfying crunch. After that, the patties are accompanied by pickled vegetables, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, and a creamy sauce made from crushed sunflower seeds called tahini.
Traditional falafel was deep-fried in lard (a pig by-product) or other animal fat, even though the falafel components are virtually invariably vegan. Falafel, on the other hand, is usually deep-fried in vegetable oil like soy or canola. Restaurants use vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, olive oil and palm oil to deep-fry falafel (2). Ask your business whether the falafel fry oil is shared with non-vegan items if you’re worried about cross-contamination. For those who want their falafel a little less crunchy, they may alternatively bake it in the oven for a denser texture.
To make commercially available pre-made falafel mixtures fluffier, some include wheat flour and baking soda as binders. Other ingredients include sesame seeds and dehydrated oils, among others.
Why Is It Possible That Falafel Isn’t Vegan?
Chickpeas or wide beans are ground up and formed into balls, then fried or baked until crisp and golden brown. In addition to being an excellent snack, they may be used as a filling for pita bread, sandwiches, wraps, and even burgers.
Their original home is the Middle East, but they’re now eaten all over the globe and a delightful, delectable staple of many vegetarians and vegans. Is there anything vegans on a plant-based diet should be concerned about since they are manufactured from plants and cooked in plant-based cooking oils?
If you’re a vegan who takes their ideals and diet very seriously, you may be able to get away with it. If you’re preparing your falafel from scratch, none of these rules apply.
Vegans want to make sure that their food hasn’t been prepared using the same oil or equipment as non-vegan food, for starters. The “Rebel Whopper,” a non-vegan offering from Burger King, failed miserably in this regard. Even if you’re eating falafel from a food truck or takeout, make sure the oil used to fry it is just for vegan dishes if you’re not sure where you’re getting it from.
Even though you’d expect a buddy to know that you are vegan, it’s not out of the question that non-vegan food may be cooked in the same fryer if the room is limited. Given that falafel is regularly advertised and explicitly offered as vegan, you would expect this wouldn’t be a problem.
However, even being vegan, it does not mean it is healthy. In one study, oil samples were taken from 20 restaurants, where falafel was usually fried. At the time of sampling, the oil had been used for five consecutive days. The vegetable oil samples, mostly from olive, sunflower and palm, showed signs of oxidation and strong color change (2).
The second consideration is whether or not there are any additives in the falafel or falafel mix you purchase. You won’t have to worry about this if you’re producing your own from scratch, but a restaurant or other commercial caterer would almost probably utilize basic ingredients rather than anything purchased.
Again, considering that falafel is typically regarded as a plant-based food, it is doubtful that any pre-made falafel or falafel “powder” would include animal-derived ingredients. However, given the abundance of preservatives, flavorings, and other extracts, it is feasible.
It is Vegan, but Is It Safe?
You need to be aware of the nutritional worth of what you consume to maintain a healthy vegan lifestyle, regardless of whether you are vegan for ethical, environmental, or health reasons. Does a vegan’s falafel intake need to be restricted to just a few times a year, or should it be avoided entirely?
Most vegan foods may be eaten in moderation, yet there are a few exceptions, such as vegan chocolate, that fall into the latter category. Falafel, on the other hand, may be enjoyed regularly, or is it more of an occasional treat? And, most importantly, what are the nutritional benefits of eating falafel?
As mentioned earlier, falafel is usually fried in long-term used oil, which may be oxidized. During the frying process, the high temperatures in the presence of atmospheric oxygen and water from dehydrated food lead to oxidation, peroxidation, polymerization, hydrolysis, cyclization, and isomerization of lipids, in addition to a variety of decomposition compounds which have a direct effect on oil quality, leading to darkening of its color, and increase in viscosity. The repeated use of the frying oil reduces the rate of heat transfer and increases cooking time, which leads to increased oil penetration into the food. Therefore, the fried foods may contain significantly elevated levels of thermoxidized and polymerized products that have undesirable long-term health effects and may develop chronic diseases. A study showed that feeding rats with falafel fried in such oil for 30 days caused a significant increase in bilirubin level and increased liver weight/ body weight ratio denoting hepatotoxicity. This indicates that consumption of large amounts of falafel on a daily basis might lead to hepatotoxicity (2).
Falafel is a terrific method for vegans to gain protein and iron, as well as a good source of fiber and phosphorus. Cooking them in vegetable oil reduces the amount of saturated fat in them significantly; in addition, they have an abundance of other micronutrients, including the following (1):
· B vitamins
According to studies, falafel contains around 325 calories for 100 grams. It’s made out of 35 percent water, 30 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent protein and some 20 percent fat. It contains 496 mg Na, 808 mg K, 35 mg Ca, 163 mg P, 39 mg Mg, 3.36 mg Fe, 0.50 mg Cu and 1.68 mg Zn in 100 g (1).
Other FAQs about Vegans that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is falafel vegan?” and discussed why falafel is vegan?
- Ismail, Mohammed, and Erdogan Kucukoner. Falafel: A meal with full nutrition. Food Nutr Sci, 2017, 8, 1022-1027.
- Janakat, Sana M., and Mohammad A. Al-Khateeb. Effect of a popular Middle Eastern food (Falafel) on rat liver. Toxicol Environment Chem, 2011, 93, 360-369.