The origins of falafel are as contentious as territorial debates in the Middle Eastern world. The great falafel debate — whether it originated in Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, and yes, even India — has garnered a legitimate food fight on who invented these delicious little chickpea fritters. Heck, they are so delicious, anyone that can be credited with the invention deserves serious admiration! I reckon, no one can really prove its origins as local cuisines were adapted in various countries with new immigrants from various cultures. Where ever its origins, these fried chickpea balls are beyond tasty and need to be made for you and your family to enjoy!
I was once told by an Arab woman that you can tell the freshness and quality of a falafel by the colour of the insides of the falafel. If the insides are brown and dull, the falafel was probably made by a mix or it is not as fresh as it should be. A fresh falafel should have insides that are green and vibrant!
Our friend the chickpea (which also goes by the name ‘garbanzo bean’) has gained new levels of popularity in recent years, a testament to its survival as a desired legume for centuries. Its application far exceeds its reputation of being useful in just making hummus and is found in entrees often in the form of purees, in salads, in healthy snacks and — I just found this out — even in desserts. Apparently there is a Filipino dessert called Halo-halo which features this pea — I so have to try that!
Whenever I go shopping at Whole Foods, I always have to make a stop at their salad bar to pick up their variation of this salad. It’s a great healthy pick-me-up and is equally gorgeous to look at. This same salad is frequently found at Mediterranean restaurants and salad bars and always calls out my name amid a sea of other salads.
Chickpeas are very high in protein but low in fat and they’re packed with zinc and folate and all sorts of other minerals that are great for your body. This salad is uber refreshing and although there are a fair amount of fresh ingredients, there is not a ton of seasoning so the ingredients really shine in their natural state. I can eat bowlfuls of this at a time. In fact, you can make a meal out of this: Serve it up with a side of grilled chicken and your dinner is sorted.