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Are Falafel and Tahini nutritious too?

OK, so hummus is good for you. But what about falafel and tahini? And all that olive oil? Lets shed some light.

In a recent posts I already explained how nutritious Hummus is (I’m talking about REAL hummus of course, freshly made from dried chickpeas. Here’s the recipe).

Recently, a few people asked me about the nutritional benefits of other middle-eastern dishes, such as falafel, tahini and olive oil. So here are the basic facts.

Olive oil nutritional value

I’ll start from the later, which is probebly better known to many of you.
Olive oil is considered one of the healthiest sources of fat, due to it’s high contance of Oleic Acids and Anti-Oxcidends (Polyphenols and Viamine E).
This alone is a key combination that is crucial for the prevention of heart desease and cancer. In medditeranian and middle-eastern traditional medicine, olive oil had dozenss of uses, some of which I might mention in a later post. Anayhow, olive oil is an important ingredient in the “Medditarenian Diet”, which has proven benefits for overwighted people, and also helps to prevent heart sickness.

Tahini nutritional value

Tahini is nothing less than a nutritional pearl. Not only is it a superb source for healthy fat, rich in Omega 3, but it is also rich in Calcium, Iron, Protein, Vitamin A, Thiamine and – very much like hummus – some crucial Amino Acids. Combined with hummus, it is a potential supplement for SSRI anti-depressant medicine, such as Prozac (as I already explained in my post Hummus instead of Prozac)

Falafel nutritional value

Falafel is complicated. When made right, deep fried in oil of good quality, it is almost nutritionally similar to hummus – with the exception of not having tahini as one of it’s ingredients. The long cooking process is not effecting the Vitamin C in the chickpeas, which is present both in hummus and in falafel.

The falafel does not contain tahini, so it lacks some of the nutritional benefits hummus has, but it contains lots of Iron and Calcium, and if done properly – with lots of garlic, parsley and coriander – many other minerals as well.

If you eat falafel outside, it’s especially important to check that the place is clean and the oil does not smell bad. With lots of vegetable salad and a pita bread around it, falafel could make a very nice and nutritious meal.

17 Comments on Are Falafel and Tahini nutritious too?

  1. Hi there,

    My name is Jose, I’m from Uruguay.
    I love hummus and I’d like to prepare some for myself.
    The problem is that hummus is not really a tyipical food in this country, so it’s very difficult to find tahini. I don’t know any place where I could find it.
    Is there some way of making hummus without tahini?
    If so, I’d be grateful if you could give me the recipe.

    Cheers, and thanks again, in advance.


  2. jose.

    yo lo que hago siempre cuando no tengo tahina es usar yogur blanco sin azucar. en realidad lo uso tambien cuando tengo tahina. jejeje
    es un truco que me dio un amigo sirio.
    queda muy cremoso y sabroso.
    si no te convence (lo dudo), tambien puedes probar a comprar las semillas de sesamo y hacer una especie de pasta machacandolas.
    el resultado sera un tahina sin refinar. tahina de pueblo, que le llamo yo.
    a disfrutar, majete!

  3. Hi Jose,
    In the future I’ll write a post – or maybe even make a video – explaining how to make raw tahini. The process is a bit tricky and I have a bit of a struggle with it myself.

    Anyhow – you simply can’t make hummus without tahini.
    I’m sure you can find tahini in Uruguay, but if not – try our aStore (up on the right). You can find some decent tahini products there which I believe could be sent to you even to Urugway, Good luck.

  4. Hi! Lovely blog!

    Just wanted to point out a typo in this post. You wrote that falafel is made mostly of tahini 🙂 I suppose you want to write chickpeas.

  5. Vibeke – right, thanks!
    Marchaba and welcome to the hummus blog. I think you are our first commenter from Kuwait (we had 12 other visitors from Kuwait in the last month though).

  6. Well, I personally didn’t really care whether falafel and tahini were nutritious or not, since I’m going to eat it regardless! But it’s good to know that it is healthy. Here in Jordan, a falafel sandwich is very cheap!

  7. Musical – yeah, that’s the whole point. Falafel is very cheap here too, and it’s both tasty and nutritional (when it’s fresh and clean). That’s why a whole generation here was grown eating falafel.

  8. I freakin love hummous. Im italian but i think that my heritage is more middle eastern, I look like a gypsy girl but hummous beats out mashed potatoes and gravy. lasagna, shrimp scampi. I love italian food, but this one dish is indescribable.. I make it with cece beans, tahinin, olive oil, fresh lemon, fresh garlic….i love this dish…..

  9. Just wanted to know has anyone in any part of world has seen variations like onion falafel, egg falafel, chicken falafel, shrimps falafel or it has been everywhere the authentic conventional plain falafel, which is really amazing.

  10. Jose,

    I live in Quito and if I can find tahini here, I bet you can find it over there. The one I buy is made in Colombia but very good.

  11. I eat falafel and hummus everyday almost living in nazareth for the next year its been about 2.5 months now..and i have gained weight though…i do feel like i look skinnier but the scale doesnt lie..unless ive burned fat and gained muscle but i dont really workout just pushups..

  12. Abhishek Gutgutia // May 4, 2009 at 11:41 am // Reply

    Great to come across your blog. I am a big fan of Hummus and recently decided to make some at home since we don’t get it easily in India. I hope your recipe turns out real good. Thanks a lot !

  13. I buy raw sesame seeds and put them in my coffee grinder…I have.instant tahini from this… this tahini is even fresher and better outstanding taste than the factory type in a jar. A mortar and pestle works too for those of you with strong hands and medieval lifestyles.

    Don’t worry about tahini, find sesame seeds and make your own with a cofee grinder or something to smash seeds.

  14. I agree with Cristoforo that making tahini is not a major problem. I buy sesame seeds and roast them in a pan until golden, then use the coffee grinder. Makes great homous with home-prepared chick peas.

    Any excess tahini I just press down in a jar and cover with a layer of olive oil. It soon gets used up!

  15. Sherry Hyatte // April 15, 2011 at 12:37 am // Reply

    I have been meaning to soak some chickpeas and try fresh hummus and falafel – merci, merci, it is even better than I thought it would be. Not hard either, just soaked the beans for 24hrs and cooked for an hour. SO SO much yummier than canned, I will be soaking those beans all the time now so I can have my falafel fresh….thank you so much, would never have discovered this w/out your blog. Muchas gracias….

  16. Try fresh pineapple with your falafel…the combination of the chickpea, tahini, and pineapple is a great balance of spice, sweet and tang…actually addicting :o)

  17. A mis amigos latinos, para hacer su propio tahíni, consigan semillas de sesamo, tuéstenlas hasta que queden doradas y triturenlas en un procesador de alimentos o en una batidora convencional junto con aceite puro de olivas y tendrán su pasta de tahini. Y a comer hummus se a dicho!!! Es riquísimo!!!

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