Monday, May 2, 2011

A Whole Lotta Falafel: Day 1

Posted By on Mon, May 2, 2011 at 10:00 AM

  • Kristen Klempert

Recently an e-mail popped up in the Gut Check inbox extolling the benefits of including falafel in your daily diet. Falafel, a ball or patty made from ground chick peas (or sometimes, fava beans) is often served on pita bread as a sandwich but can be used to add protein, flavor and a satisfying crunch to virtually anything. It's vegetarian (and almost always vegan), gluten-free, part of the hyped-up Mediterranean healthy diet and high in protein and fiber.

If it's really that great, why not eat it at every meal?

Fine. We'll do that.

For the next week, Gut Check will be eating a falafelfull dish at breakfast, lunch and dinner in order that we may experience this Middle Eastern staple to its fullest.

  • Kristen Klempert

Not everyone eats meat. And in St. Louis meat-free options have always been a little bit scarce. But as excited as we are to embark upon the falafel diet, we've got to admit we're a little apprehensive about all falafel, all the time. So we're going to ease into this week by sprinkling already prepared falafel (from Falafel Republic, which should become more widely available in St. Louis soon) over more familiar foods.

So the week's first breakfast consists of eggs topped with sautéed onions and falafel. Lunch: a spinach salad with crumbled falafel. And dinner -- after yet another day of relentless rain: tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich on pita, featuring cheddar and sliced falafel. Nothing too fancy.

But we're learning stuff already. For instance, while this pre-made substance is tasty and well-balanced spicewise, nuking it in the microwave sucks it dry. Can you say cottonmouth? Barbecue sauce helped at breakfast (excuse the lack of creativity, but this was a pre-coffee decision) and balsamic dressing and juicy roasted red peppers gave the salad varied and complementary textures.

We have some ideas for the chickpea-filled days ahead, but please feel free to leave your recipes, suggestions and moral support in the comments section.

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