Is Falafel Vegan?

Is Falafel Vegan?

A Middle Eastern Favorite, falafel is a food that is popular all over the world, and is comprised of various deep-fried vegetables along with a whole range of different savory herbs and spices that provide it with its unique flavor. 

There are loads of regional variations of the traditional falafel recipe, but you’ll be glad to hear that pretty much every form of falafel is vegan, and there are no animal products to be found at all. 

So, to find out more about falafel, including some of its most common ingredients, as well as what you can do to ensure that your falafel dish is always vegan. 

Is Falafel Vegan?

Yes! All falafel is considered vegan, no matter how strict your definition of vegan is. This is because falafels are made using super tasty plant-based ingredients, such as chickpeas.

Which means that if you ever see falafel on the menu, you don’t have to worry about whether or not it has animal products inside. 

How Is Falafel Vegan?

Those who know what falafel is, will know that it is vegan, however, for people who don’t know that falafel is vegan, they often believe that there must be some form of animal product used in order to bind it together and hold its shape. 

No matter what is added to falafel, all falafel starts out with the same basic ingredients. These include dried chickpeas, fava beans, or even both of these ingredients sometimes.

So you can be sure that falafel is entirely vegan, with no animal products used in the production or cooking process.

In order to create this super unique food item, the fava beans are soaked overnight, and are later grounded alongside a variety of seasoning and spices, which include coriander, cumin, parsley, paprika, garlic, and onions.

It’s the grounded fava beans that help to hold the falafel together without having to use a binding ingredient, such as egg, which helps to ensure that this Middle Eastern food is completely vegan. 

Once this mixture is completely combined, the falafel is then molded into balls whilst still wet, and it is then deep fried, which is what helps to form that amazing outer layer with the delicious soft inside. 

Is Falafel Vegan?

Falafel can be served alongside so many different foods, but it’s most common to see it served alongside salads with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, tahini, and pickled vegetables. 

Traditionally, falafel was actually fried in different forms of animal fat, such as lard. However, today falafel is usually fried in a vegan friendly oil.

If you’re ever worried about there being cross contamination with your falafel being fried in oil whilst eating out, then ask the establishment about where they fry their falafel to ensure that it’s in clean, animal-free oil.

However, much of the falafel you can buy from the grocery store will require you to cook it using your oven, which might not provide the same texture as frying, but also ensures that you don’t have to worry about what oil it has been previously fried in. 

Can Falafel Not Be Vegan? 

So, there should be absolutely no concern about whether or not falafel is vegan. However, there could be a chance that something that your falafel is being served with is non-vegan, such as the toppings, or possibly the bread it is served in. 

Falafel is commonly served with or inside pita, which is an unleavened bread that can sometimes contain honey, however this is usually vegan too. 

If you order falafel from a Middle Eastern restaurant, it is sometimes served with tzatziki on top, which is a sauce composed of yoghurt, and is often flavored with other herbs and spices, such as dill.

Since this topping is dairy-based, you’ll want to make sure you ask for it to be removed before you eat it. 

Some falafel is also served with feta, which is a type of cheese that is produced from sheep’s milk, which means it’s unsuitable for vegans to eat. 

Conclusion

So, to summarize, falafel is almost always vegan, and there is no risk of it being produced using animal products, so you can relax and eat it whenever you want.

However, check what the falafel is being served with, as sometimes it might be served with dairy-based sauces! 

Brandon White
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