Falafel has taken the world by storm, with many variations of the famous Middle Eastern street food now emerging. For some people the question of “is falafel vegan?” is important, this article will outline the answer giving you a better understanding.
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What is Falafel Made Of?
The essence of falafel will help you understand whether falafel is vegan, it's crucial to know what it actually is.
Falafel is a flavorful dish made primarily from ground chickpeas or fava beans, combined with herbs, spices, and various aromatics.
Originating in the Middle East, this street food gained immense popularity worldwide for its distinct taste and versatility.
So let’s deconstruct typical falafel ingredients:
- Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and or fava beans (broad beans): These legumes are the main ingredients, and are naturally vegan and provide the dish with a satisfying texture and protein content.
- Herbs and spices: Commonly included are parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, garlic, and onion – all of which are plant-based ingredients. Some recipes may call for fresh herbs whilst others use dried ground herbs.
- Binders and enhancers: these ingredients can differ between recipes, some use either all purpose flour, or potato and baking soda. These ingredients are generally vegan-friendly, but it's important to double-check for potential non-vegan additives.
Homemade falafel is vegan-friendly.
It is recommended to check commercially prepared falafel for its vegan-status, this includes prepackaged falafel mixture. Look out for logos (vegan certification) and the ingredients list.
Try my traditional falafel recipe, you will love the flavors, crispy exteriors and fluffy interiors.
Preparation Methods of Falafel
Falafel can be prepared in different ways, and it's crucial to consider how it is cooked to determine whether or not it has a vegan status.
The traditional cooking method of falafel balls involves deep-frying (some other methods can include baking or air frying falafel, typically without the use of any animal-derived fats or oils (usually vegetable oil).
For those concerned about the potential cross-contamination with non-vegan items, it's essential to inquire about the cooking methods and oil used when ordering falafel from restaurants.
An example would be what else is fried in the deep fryer vat? Were non-vegan foods items (animal products) cooked in the same oil to cause cross-contamination?
Serving Falafel Variations and Accompaniments
Falafel's versatility allows for it to be served on its own with a tahini sauce, as falafel bowls with accompaniments such as a bed of greens, fresh veggies, hummus (learn about is hummus vegan?) and fries.
Additionally, the pita bread served with the falafel may contain dairy, eggs or other non-vegan food products.
Some accompaniments can also sometimes contain non-vegan ingredients, for example, baba ganoush may contain milk products.
To be on the safe side, communicate with the restaurant staff about which foods are potentially nonvegan, this is the best way to get your answers.
Want to know the traditional way to serve falafel? Check out this what to serve with falafel list of foods normally enjoyed by Middle Easterners. Or this list of falafel ideas for dinner differs from the above list.
Additionally, you might be on a vegan and gluten free diet and may want to know is falafel gluten free?
Vegan Falafels Recipe
No, falafel is not meat. It is made from plant-based ingredients, generally with a base of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and or fava beans (broad beans) that have been flavored with onion, garlic, herbs and spices.
In conclusion, falafel is generally considered vegan-friendly. Made from chickpeas or fava beans, along with herbs, spices, and aromatics, falafel offers a delicious and plant-based protein-rich option for vegans.
When preparing falafel at home, it is typically safe to assume it is vegan.
However, it is important to exercise caution when consuming commercially prepared falafel or ordering from restaurants.
Some falafel recipes and accompanying sauces and dips, may include non-vegan additives, so it is advisable to check the ingredients list or inquire about potential cross-contamination, communicating with restaurant staff can help ensure that your falafel remains vegans.
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