Crispy Falafels Recipe and Dietary Fats

Don’t miss this crispy falafels recipe that can be made with gluten or without.  In addition, find out more about what we should look for in an oil including a Dietary Fats Comparison Chart.

Recipy: Crispy Falafels

Recipe type: gluten-free, vegan

Prep time:  1 hour

Cook time:  15 mins

Total time:  1 hour 15 mins

Serves: About 14 small falafels

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of chickpeas no salt added, rinsed and strained (from a can)
  • ½ cup white onion chopped
  • ½ cup oat flour (gluten-free or all purpose)
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil + more for frying
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Optional parings: pita bread, greens, hummus, etc.

Instructions

  1. First add all ingredients to food processor
  2. Pulse/blend until completely combined, it should form dough of sorts
  3. Place the falafel dough in fridge for 30-60 minutes.- in the food processor container or whatever you prefer
  4. After the falafel dough cools, begin forming them into small patties using your hand (about 1.5-2 tablespoons or so)
  5. Heat a medium skillet on medium-high heat with canola oill so entire pan is coated with a thin layer
  6. Gently place the falafels onto the pan (might need to do two batches depending on size of pan)
  7. Cook on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes on each side or until crispy
  8. Once cooked, place onto a plate lined with paper towel to absorb some of the oil
  9. Enjoy with your favorite pita bread or on salad
  10. *Will stay good for 5 days in fridge or a month or so in freezer, if you reheat these I recommend oven for best results*
  11. **to make oat flour simply blend together oatmeal in a blender or nutribullet for a few seconds and it will make flour

Not all fats are created equal!

It’s important to choose fats wisely because some fats are healthier for you than others.  Let’s take you on a brief ‘crash course’.

Your body needs fat to provide energy and help you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K and Beta-carotene.

What should we look for in an oil? (Refer to chart)

  1. Low in saturated fat (red):  Saturated fat raises the bad LDL cholesterol in your blood and has been linked to increased risk of coronary heart disease. Any fat with over 20% Saturated fat is unhealthy.
  2. Omega 3: Omega 6 ratio (orange : blue):  Canola Oil is unique in that it has the perfect Omega 3: Omega 6 ratio of 1:2.
  3. High in Omega 3 fat (orange):  Omega 3 fat must be consumed in your diet as the body is unable to produce it and it helps protect against heart attacks and strokes, and improves brain functionality.
  4. High in monosaturated fat (yellow):  Monosaturated fat may reduce risk of coronary heart disease by lowering the bad LDL cholesterol in the blood and helping control blood glucose levels.
  5. High smoke point:  We must NEVER fry with unrefined oils such as Extra Virgin Olive oil as they have low ‘smoke points’ – which is the temperature at which dangerous carcinogenic compounds form. Canola oil is very safe as it has a smoke point of 230 degrees Celsius.

Dietary Fats

A further word on the importance of Omega 3

Certain fats such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats are essential for good nutrition and must be consumed as part of a healthy diet as our bodies cannot product them.  The Omega 3: Omega 6 ratio of 1:2 is ideal. Dr Carl Albrecht’s (Prior Head of Research CANSA Association) research revealed that we have an average ratio of 1:18! We therefore need to do 2 things to bring our Omega 3: Omega 6 ratio back in line. Dr Albrecht’s advice:-

  • Immediately replace any oils in the home with high Omega 6 fatty acids – such as Sunflower oil, with oil that contains Omega 3 fatty acids – such as Canola oil.
  • Supplement with Omega 3. Disregard the Omega 3, 6, 9 varieties. Remember, it’s just the Omega 3 we need to get in to optimize our brain functioning.

So, which commercially available vegetable oil in South Africa is best?

According to CANSA and the Heart & Stroke Foundation SA, Canola oil (and Canola margarine) is the way to go, as it provides more of the healthier fatty acids than any other commercially available vegetable oil.  The high monosaturated fat content of Canola Oil (see table) makes it less susceptible to oxidation and gives prolonged cooking life.

Please refer to the following report for the latest Globally accepted information relating to fats. (Pg. 14 provides the daily intakes) –