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Looking for authentic, low-fat falafal recipe

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Is there such a thing?!!! :-) I am on a diet and all I crave lately is this awesome falafal I had at a little whole in the wall restaurant - I know the hummus and tahini are fattening but at least if I could cut back on the fat of the falafal itself I wouldn't feel so bad - so, any ideas for recipes that actually taste good? I've tried a few and they all come out tasting like mushed, dry, grainy cardboard! Thanks-

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  1. Yyyyyeah, given that it's fried, I think you're pretty much looking at an either/or scenario :-)

    1. Well, the hummus and tahini are just sauces so back off on the quantity or replace with a lowfat yogurt based tzatziki.

      As far as the main filling, I make mine into thin patties rather than balls, coat them with sesame seeds (so they don't stick) and quickly pan fry them in olive oil.

      There are a lot of falafel related postings in this board; this one has a couple of good suggestions: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/478374 Fresh herbs are the key.

      Since you don't like the taste of cardboard Do NOT use an effing boxed mix.

      1. When you think about it, falafel patties are essentially composed of ground up legumes and spices, so the ingredients that go into the patties aren't really the issue. If you fry properly (oil that is hot enough and enough oil so that the oil temperature does not drop for too long), there will not be a lot of grease absorption.Not that this fact makes fried falafel health food.....but some other ways to balance it:

        - have it with a lot of fresh vegetables, not additional fried vegetable tidbits
        -put it on whole wheat pita
        -go light on the tahini sauce (for calorie purposes) or "dilute" it with plain low/nonfat yogurt. Or swap out tahini sauce with tzatziki (made with low/nonfat yogurt)

        All these steps can make it more in line with your health consciousness.There are lots of things that can can be baked instead of fried with somewhat acceptable results, but I've never had such luck with falafels, unfortunately.

        1. Fried? Why? Yes it tastes better, agreed, but I am on the same mission as you lovessushi. I mix up my falafel, then make it into flat patties instead of balls. I put it on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and BAKE them till you get the texture/ firmness/crunchiness you want. A little sprayed oil like "Pam" olive oil spray could help if thats what you want.

          I mix up non- fat yogurt with fresh lemon juice and sugar or Splenda or honey to taste. Basically lemon yogurt.

          Served on whole wheat pita, I get my fix of falafel, and add hot Vietnamese style chili/garlic paste if I want an extra kick.

          The real thing? Nahhhh. But sure does the trick.

          1. Forgot to add to other post, but a ton of fresh crunchy veggies under the yogurt topping.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Handyman

              What kind of chickpeas or favas do you use, Handyman? Canned? Dried and soaked?

              Also, what temperature do you bake at?

            2. There isn't much in felafel that's fattening, so I'd worry about your recipe if it doesn't taste good. Make sure you have enough herbs and seasoning!

              I use Claudia Roden's recipe, and shape them into kind of flat-ish patties, then cook them like pancakes on top of the stove in a little oil. They go crunchy on the outside, without all the oil.

              1. I would avoid deep frying the patties. I usually pan fry for a bit to get a crunch on the outside then I put them on a baking sheet, spray them with a spray or two of cooking spray and bake in the oven. They get an extra crunch in the oven.

                I use Mark Bittman's recipe from the NY Times... it's great but I add a bit more spice.

                More info here:

                1. dinner tonight:
                  pita bread
                  Mediterranean risotto
                  sauce for over/under falafel
                  thin sliced > radish/onion/lettuce/tomatoes/string cheese peeled thin

                  what a great dinner, all by hand alll home made-very special

                  only thing about my falafel that was fattening was of course the grapeseed oil it got quickly fried in