The Rise of the Mighty Falafel

Posted · 2nd April 2015
Cauldron Foods Falafel
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Falafel is on the UP!

Once a niche snack saved for strict vegetarians, the humble falafel has well and truly found its feet in the mainstream and taken the UK by storm. Making the journey from Middle Eastern streets to kitchen tables across the globe, when and how did Brits find their fancy for falafels? To answer that question, we need to take a trip back in time.

The origins of the falafel are heavily debated, but it’s safe to say that the falafel was born in the Middle East. It’s an ancient street food snack that has become the national dish of Israel and can be traced back as far as the Pharaohs of Egypt. Hot and crunchy on the outside, fluffy and herby within, a falafel is a deep-fried patty, usually made from ground chickpeas, but can have broad beans or fava beans at the heart, depending upon whose recipe you favour. Most often served in a pita, wrap or flatbread, falafels are now not just a fast food for vegetarians but a popular, healthy lunchbox snack and dinner party delicacy.

Food for vegetarians

Falafel rises to fame in the UK

Falafel become popular thanks to street food vendors. The street food revolution opened British eyes to dishes that some of us hadn’t even dreamed of trying before, with cheap, convenient and good quality fare. It was in the vibrant street food markets of the UK that falafel first started rising in popularity and us Brits haven’t looked back since!

When buying a falafel portion from a street food vendor, it will usually be served in a pita or wrap, which holds the falafel balls and as much salad as you can squeeze in. We recommend thinly chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, onion slices, grated carrot and green pepper with a hot chilli sauce – but with so much choice, you can keep trying new combinations, until you find something to suit you!

Versatile falafel

What’s so good about them?

Falafel is one of the most delicious foods in the world. It also offers a well-balanced meal for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. It’s low in calories, very high in fibre, loaded with proteins, rich in healthy fats and sugar free. What’s not to love?

Cooking up a falafel feast at home

You’ll most certainly be able to find good falafels at street food markets across the country, but Cauldron falafels are on hand to offer the perfect solution if you want to try them at home! We’ve even created some delicious recipe ideas for you to try out, including these old favourites – Falafel with Beetroot Hummous and Indian Falafel Chapatti with Onion & Tomato Salad Served with Mint Yogurt.

Wholefood Heaven Fattoush and Falafel Salad Recipe

In celebration of our favourite vegetarian street food vendors, our friends over at Wholefood Heaven has created a special recipe featuring Cauldron falafels. Known as the original chopped salad, this quick and easy vegan Fattoush and Falafel Salad is one of our absolute favourites for a light lunch or dinner. It’s absolutely packed to the rafters with all the colours, flavours and vibrancy of the Middle East. Delicious on its own, it’s also brilliant served with hummus, baba ganoush, pickles and lots of flatbreads!

falafel salad

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side:

Vegan

For the dressing:
4 tsp ground sumac
4 tsp warm water
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp white wine vinegar
125ml extra virgin olive oil

For the salad:
1 cucumber, cut into chunks
1 small bunch flatleaf parsley, picked
½ bunch mint, picked
3 spring onions, green part only, finely sliced
1 romaine lettuce, cut into 1-2cm wide strips
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 large white pita bread, toasted until crispy, broken into pieces
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 packet Cauldron falafels, heated according to instructions and torn in half
Salt and pepper to season

Method

Start by making the dressing. In a small bowl mix together the ground sumac with the warm water and leave to soak for 15 minutes. Once soaked, in another larger bowl gently whisk together the garlic, white wine vinegar, soaked sumac and lemon juice and then slowly trickle in the 125ml of olive oil whisking continuously until it begins to emulsify. Add a couple of pinches of salt and whisk it in before setting the mix to one side.

For the salad, in a small bowl place the pita pieces and drizzle the tablespoon of olive oil over them and season with salt and pepper. Then, in a big bowl, gently toss together the cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, spring onions, mint, parsley, toasted pita pieces and falafels. Mix through half of the dressing and then continue to add more according to taste and you’re ready to serve! To find out more about Wholefood Heaven then check out our exclusive interview with them.

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Hungry for more? Check out our favourite falafel recipes or read our other #LoveFalafel blog posts –

How to Serve Falafel | What Are Falafels Made From? | Healthy Falafel Recipe Ideas

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