Falafel is an Israeli dish that is often served in a pita or laffa. But it can also be served separately as an appetizer or even as a snack, so basically you can eat it anywhere, at any time. You take fava beans and ground chickpeas and shape them into a ball, patty, or a doughnut and then deep fry them.
I learned that buying them from a food truck is actually better than the gourmet style types, but this is a personal preference. OK, I will admit that the Food Truck Falafel is probably not as healthy as the Gourmet Style which is why I probably like it more. In general, falafel can be a healthy food but are you really going to eat at a food truck and expect seriously healthy food?
The way the numbers work out is that depending on where you get your falafel from and the number of toppings you choose, it can be a whale of calories. Gourmet Dining Falafel places are far more likely to be careful with your calorie counts because they want you to come back. But remember the most important nutritional fact about falafels – they are deep fried.
Even foods that are not Jewish and are dropped into a vat of grease are generally said to be no good for you. Think about French Fries. All they are is sliced up potatoes submerged in grease, yet they are so tasty! Here are these harmless fava beans and chickpeas and all of a sudden this is bad for you because they are deep fried?
OK, enough of my personal preferences. Here are the numbers on the falafel and why you should exercise some modicum of restraint before loading them up with all the toppings.
One 3.5 ounce serving of a deep-fried falafel, plain without toppings or laffa, has roughly 330 calories. There are 31 grams of carbohydrates that go with it, along with 17.5 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein and 294 mgs of sodium (salt). Almost half of its calories come from fat if deep friend normally (meaning it will taste great). You can substitute olive oil or canola oil for cooking, but don’t expect that at a truck food stop! The truth is, nutrition experts cringe at the amount of salt in an average falafel – almost an entire day’s worth in an entire falafel.
So if I am to be fair and objective in comparing the two, it will actually depend more on whether you are someone who prefers to eat healthy. I like to think I eat healthy – and there are times I prefer not to. Falafels from a truck stop with lots of toppings are one of those times. If you are a weight or cholesterol watcher, you are likely to prefer the gourmet style option because you can inquire as to exactly what they cook it in and how it is prepared. I doubt a truck stop is likely to change the cooking oil in their deep fryer every hour, but that may be exactly what makes the truck stop food so tasty!