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dry felafel mix's???

Any recomendations to what brands if any..... as well as can I bake felafel and get good results????Thanks

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  1. I use Fantastic Foods and bake them, after brushing lightly with oil. It's good--nothing like the real thing that's fried but a good healthy alternative.

    1. I used to use Near East when I could find it. They had a very good meatloaf recipe on the back of the box using the felafel mix. A different flavor, for sure, but I love chickpeas in any form. I use Fantastic Foods now also. If you add enough tahini to the sandwich you won't notice the baked part quite so much.

      7 Replies
      1. re: rockycat

        Rockycat, if you are reading this and have time, would you please post the meatloaf/falafel recipe here or on another thread in home cooking? I am fascinated, but cannot get Near East in my market. Thank you!

        1. re: thegolferbitch

          SInce we've got a snow day today and I'll probably only be working a half day today I'll try to get it posted this afternoon (yes, I'm obviously reading and writing this at work).

          1. re: rockycat

            Awesome...when you have a chance, no rush. Thank you!

              1. re: thegolferbitch

                Here goes:
                Falafel Meatloaf

                1 6-oz. pkg falafel mix
                2 eggs, slightly beaten
                1/2 c. water
                1/2 c. tomato sauce (I usually use spaghetti sauce for extra seasoning)
                1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef

                Preheat oven to 350. Combine falafel mix, eggs, water and tomato sauce. Let stand 5 min. Add ground beef, mix well.

                Press into 9 x 5 loaf pan. Bake 1 hour 10 min. Let stand 5 min. before serving.

                This recipe can sometimes turn out a little dry so you might want to watch the fat content of you meat. You can also dress it up the way you would any other meatloaf. Also, if you have concerns about excess sodium or fat this may not be the dish for you. Tastes good though, :-)

                1. re: rockycat

                  NICE! Thanks rockycat...this might be a new classic in my house. I am always looking for new things to do with ground beef/meatloaf. I'll try it this weekend.

                  1. re: rockycat

                    I substitute the tomato sauce with artichoke and spinach hummus dip. For some reason it makes the meatloaf come out moist and not dry. Also I mix the ingredients differently. I combine the falafel with the water and let it stand 5 minutes. then I add the ground beef and the eggs. I mix it together then add the hummus and other seasonings last.

          2. I also use Fantastic Foods. I use Near East too but for some reason my stores don't stock it as much. I'll buy whichever is around - I have no preference.

            I haven't tried baking them yet, I keep meaning to - I just prefer the fried method and since I don't cook them often, I figure what the heck. With all the tahini I'm putting on them, a bit of oil isn't making or breaking the bank calorie-wise.

            1. this is fresh from fantastic foods' website: YEAST EXTRACT. thats right in their ingredient list for their falafel mix just so u know. YEAST EXTRACT is MSG in another form. be wary is all im saying.
              on the whole to fry or not fry thing, tho - the fried version is just so much better tasting i would recommend it whole-heartedly. also, eating fat (which is what you will be doing when frying it) does NOTNOTNOT make you fat. americans are totally misinformed with this. the whole world eats fats, plenty of fats. not just the french either. the issue with americans being obese etc is our taking in too many carbohydrates in general (and more specifically, refined carbs but anyhow...). FRY AWAY!

              4 Replies
              1. re: ben61820

                I do agree with your point about fat. It's the types of fats you eat in most cases; i.e. trans fats that get you in trouble. Also, the amount of fat in relation to the amount you are eating. Choosing good fats should not get a person in "trouble", if not done to excess. I fry my felafels in olive oil and I'm sure, very little of the oil is actually getting into them - plus it makes them taste good too. Choosing good carbs too - carbs aren't an enemy but can be if you make your meals out of white breads day in and day out.

                Interesting about the yeast extract - thanks for the info. I didn't realize it was MSG's other form, and I do try and avoid this type of ingredient. I wonder if Near East has it too? I'll have to check next time I buy it.

                1. re: sivyaleah

                  well, on Near East's site they explicitly state that "none of our products contain MSG." However, you can say something contains no MSG and still have yeast extract in there, just like Fantastic Foods does. Lots of vegan and veg products do exactly this. remember that all the following things contain the glutamates that make MSG so bad for us: yeast extract, autolyzed yeast extract, autolyzed vegetable protein. im not an idiot, i realize that once in a while these things are not going to kill us, but its good to realize what youre consuming is all. knowing is half the battle:)

                  1. re: ben61820

                    I always thought yeast extract was good for you! Ack! I was brought up on Marmite on toast, and was always told it's rich in iron and vitamins...and eat it up, because it's good for you. Was this wrong? Or is that a different form of yeast?

                    1. re: ballulah

                      totally different stuff. but, that being said, i do not know what the nutritional benefits (supposed or not) of marmalite/vegemite actually are. i'd be wary, especially given the story of how they were formulated...

              2. I used a store bought brand once dont remember the name and i baked it. Almost broke a tooth on it it came out so hard. They ended up making great hockey pucks. How can you avoid this dilemma?

                1. I had the ultimate boxed falafel mix experience about two years ago, when my high school senior son announced that he had to take homemade falafels to class the next day (this was about 11pm). Luckily, we had not one, not two, but three boxes of mix on the shelf, each a different brand. How this happened, not a clue, as I almost never make homemade falafels, given that I can get really good ones two blocks from my house.

                  Two hours and much hilarity later, the kitchen was covered with oil and falafel mix from one end to the other, as were my son and I. Here's what I remember about the results. The three brands -- Near East and Fantastic, and a third, don't recall what-- were surprisingly different from each other in texture and taste and appearance, as well as in how they handled in the frying process. We weren't thrilled with any of them, which is why we kept opening another box to try again. But then, we live in falafel heaven, and consider falafels our fast food of choice, easily available and very cheap from many local restaurants (we live in Chicago).

                  Bottom line, we decided it was a good thing that my son's classmates had mostly never eaten falafels, and would not be in a position to judge quality. And we decided to keep buying at restaurants. And if I were in a position where I needed to make them at home, I would test out every mix I could get my hands on to see which one I liked best, because there is a big variation. I don't know that any is best-- it's what you like. (Sadly, I can't recall which one we liked best or what the exact differences were-- but really, we decided that for us, none of them was acceptable.)

                  Now here's a question: is the plural of falafel formed by adding an s, or is it just "falafel" singular or plural?

                  1. I have found Sadaf brand (found at Jon's markets in LA) to be adequate. I highly recommend frying them since they taste terrible baked IMO. Falafel are sorta dry to begin with, so baking turns them into dessicated hockey pucks, in my experience.

                    1. We're big falafel fans, and the best mix we've found so far is Authentic foods, tastes like the falafel we get at the deli. We haven't had much success in baking falafel, the best turned out edible, but not very tasty.

                      1. After reading the ingredient lists and seeing the box mix price, I'll stick with 'scratch' falafel.

                        IIRC the Near East brand contains POWDERED tahini - WTF??
                        Adding insult to injury, Safeway/Vons stocks at least six feet of shelf space with this overpriced faux Middle East crap. Of course they had to eliminate all bags of dried chickpeas. Grrr.

                        Back to the prep - just keep some tahini paste in the fridge and canned chickpeas and, preferably, some chickpea flour in your pantry. Add some minced green onion, parsley and you have the basics. You don't have to get quite as elaborate as this recipe but it gives you an idea:
                        Adding some 'on hand' parsley, onion and/or cilantro to a box mix should help with the dryness factor.

                        Don't let the mix get too wet.
                        After mixing, let it sit for a while to hydrate the flour.
                        Shape the patties into small 'hockey pucks' :-) and fry in a little olive oil until G-B-D.
                        Serve with tahini sauce (alternatively, tzatziki), cucumber, tomato in pita or greek bread.